Hillsong raises over $1 million for Australian bushfires relief efforts
Best known for their worship songs sung around the globe, Hillsong Church is spearheading a relief effort for the bushfires that have besieged the nation and has announced they have raised over $1 million.
The blazes, which began last fall, has resulted in the death of 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes, the church noted on their website Friday in an update about their relief efforts; it is estimated that approximately 12 million hectacres have burned thus far.
"The outpouring of love, care and concern and generosity from people from all walks of life both here and overseas, has been staggering and humbling," Hillsong Church explained.
"As a church community we have come together over the past few weeks and extended generosity to those suffering and the emergency service workers who are giving up their holidays to work tirelessly to protect homes, land and families in the path of the fires."
The church raised funds at a men's event in November to send to the Salvation Army and volunteer fire brigades and has through various ministries dispatched aid and teams.
Hillsong senior pastor Brian Houston reported on his Instagram page Thursday that the church had raised $1,003,988.52 for the Global Bushfires, firefighters, food banks and others assisting on the ground.
"Please continue to pray for our nation, our leaders, firefighters and communities affected and for rain that will end the drought in our scorched land," the church said.
The bushfires have captured the attention of the world as reports have emerged showing the devastating impact the blazes have had on residents who have had to flee to the beaches for safety, and on animals unique to Australia, such as koala bears and kangaroos. Without using any special camera lenses, photos have been snapped in recent weeks showing red skies and smoke-filled atmospheres in Australian cities.
The fires have most adversely affected the nation's eastern coast, especially in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. Recent reports indicate that a pair of fires merged this week, creating a "megafire," three times the size of any documented blaze in California.
NASA released Thursday an animated video showing how the smoke from the bushfires reached the lower stratosphere and had traveled across the Pacific Ocean, reaching Chile.
Hillsong Church is a charismatic Christian megachurch and Christian denomination originating from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was originally established in 1983 and was called Hills Christian Life Centre, in Baulkham Hills, New South Wales. The church now has locations all over the world, including in Europe and North America.