48 Chaplains from Victoria and NSW to arrive in Lockyer Valley
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Federal MP for Wright, Scott Buchholz has announced that 48 crisis-care chaplains will arrive in the Lockyer Valley regions that suffered the State’s greatest loss of life.
The chaplains are from Chaplaincy Australia, the peak chaplaincy accreditation body that works in conjunction with Australian Christian Churches. They are all experienced in dealing with situations that involve mass loss of life and worked within Victorian communities after the Black Saturday bushfires. Many also assisted following Cyclone Larry and the tsunami in Sri Lanka.
Rev Lance Mergard, Senior Chaplain of Chaplaincy Australia (QLD) said the chaplains compliment the excellent work already being done by mental health professionals and organisations like Lifeline.
“The chaplains provide more than trauma counselling. They will help people through the healing process,” Rev Mergard explained.
He said 24 chaplains will arrive today and tomorrow and will do a two week shift. Another 24 will then replace them. While here they will also conduct extensive training of Queenslanders so that ongoing support can be provided. “We project that there will be a great need for crisis and suicide chaplaincy in the aftermath of the flood,” he said.
Rev Mergard praised federal MP for Wright Scott Buchholz, who took up the cause to provide flights for the chaplains. Mr Buchholz announced the need through the ABC’s Kelly Higgins-Devine and Virgin Blue came to the party, providing the flights at no charge.
Mr Buchholz said the people in the Lockyer Valley are still in shock and many have not yet comprehended the magnitude of what has happened. “Over the coming weeks and months when the media spotlight is removed, these people will need our support. These chaplains are vital to the ongoing emotional, mental and spiritual health of our people,” he said.