State Memorial Service for Bushfire Victims

Sunday, 23 February 2020


As the world comes together to lament the tragic loss of lives during the NSW Bushfires Emergencies, Chaplains from the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN) will be present at the service to support those in need.

What do Chaplains do?

Chaplains provide compassionate support and calming presence in moments of devastation, loss and uncertainty. DRCN service fills a gap for emotional and social care not generally available through other disaster recovery government and non-government agencies. The network provides a service that protects privacy and respects the dignity of individuals and their communities.

Chaplains provide service to all, not just those with religious and spiritual needs. All Chaplains are ministers, pastors and ministerial placements integrated into the Disaster Welfare Service on the ground in each location during disaster recovery. Additionally, in evacuation centres, Chaplains support other disaster welfare personnel in times of need.

About the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network

The Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network is an agency coordinated by the Uniting Church in NSW in response to disasters and some emergencies.

The network works within the NSW Disaster Recovery Plan under the Department of Justice and Communities, Office of Emergency Management and alongside other partners, Red Cross, Anglicare and Salvation Army.

DRCN began operations in 2009, in response to the need for compassionate support during times of crisis in the community.

Today, the network boasts 333 volunteer Chaplains from a broad range of church and faith groups selected and especially trained in disaster recovery, ready to respond in times of the greatest need to support communities affected.

From September to mid-January, Chaplains spent 5000 hours on the ground in evacuation and recovery centres and in bushfire affected locations.

Rev. Nicholas Cole presiding at the State Memorial Service for Bushfire Victims

Rev. Nich Cole is a qualified RFS firefighter and the Uniting Church Minister who will preside over the State Memorial Service for Bushfire Victims on Sunday, 23 February 2020. Rev Cole is currently the Acting Senior Chaplain for RFS.

From 1989 to 1992, Rev. Cole worked for the NSW Police. Rev. Rev. Cole was ordained as a Uniting Church minister in April 2006 and became a Chaplain for the NSW Rural Fire Service in the same year.

Nich counts working with abused, neglected, and socially disadvantaged children and families at Wesley Mission’s Vision Valley in one of the most important roles of his career.



For more information

Steph O’Connell – Uniting Church in NSW and ACT

0439 600312