Saturday, 21 February 2009
National Day of Mourning for the bushfires
A special service is being held in Melbourne this Sunday to mark the national day of mourning for the victims of the Victorian bushfires (picture via The Age), and the Prime Minster has asked churches around the coun try to toll their bells for two minutes at 11am. The Melbourne service will be attended by the Princess Royal, Princess Anne.
At the moment the toll stands at 209, but seems likely to go still further.
There is also a Bushfire Message Book which all parishes are invited to add to (you can download the template here). On it the Prime Minister has said:
"In recent days our nation has begun to come to terms with the worst natural disaster in Australian history. We have witnessed scenes of unspeakable sadness and loss. Thousands of Australians have lost family, friends, neighbours, homes and everything they own.
At the same time, we have witnessed something else that is extraordinary. We have learnt of remarkable acts of heroism, courage and self-sacrifice as men and women risked their lives to save people they had never met. And we have seen an extraordinary outpouring of compassion as the whole nation has reached out to the fire victims. In communities across Australia, people have opened their wallets, come together in prayer and poured out their hearts as the whole nation has stopped to ask simply, what can I do to help?
As an expression of sympathy and support, I invite you to add your name to the pages of the Bushfire Message Book. For those whose lives have been forever changed by this tragedy, this will stand as a lasting record of the nation’s support and sympathy, and our resolve to help them rebuild their lives and their communities."