Pastoral Letter from President Deborah Richards


Many of you have been experiencing the effects and devastation of the wildfires that have impacted BC for yet another summer. My heart grows heavier as I hear the news of even more wildfires in the last few days that have prompted the recent declaration of a provincial State of Emergency in BC. Added to that reality for us is the news of the evacuation of Yellowknife as fires burn across the Northwest Territories.

My heart and prayers go out to the members of the communities of faith, and the wider communities in the Okanagan, Shuswap, and Fraser Canyon areas, who are directly affected by the most recent fires which have necessitated evacuations or persons to be on alert to leave their homes at any moment. If you are not living in an area directly affected by the fires, you likely have friends and family in one or more of these communities. The anxiety and uncertainty are real and profound, and there is a sense a loss, helplessness and uncertainty as these communities wait to be able to return to their homes.

I am heartened however by the many stories of the people of BC pulling together as a community to support those affected, those who are fighting the fires, and other first responders who are helping them. Others are making space for evacuees by providing temporary shelter for persons as well as farm animals and pets. It is at times like these that we are reminded that we are indeed called to be our brother’s keeper and serve one another in love.

As we collectively deal with the fires around us, during this time of uncertainty and anguish, we are grateful for our siblings in Christ who are reaching out to, and supporting, those who are displaced. We ask for Creator’s guidance for our first responders and pray for the safety of all at this time. We move forward in hope and deep faith, rooted in the truth of these words from A New Creed that “ in life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.”

Be safe.

Deborah Richards
President, PMRC


Where Donations May Be Made

Red Cross Canada

Pacific Mountain Regional Council’s CanadaHelps

University of BC Okanagan has a donation link to support students

Donations to assist northern communities

• Northern Spirit Region, The United Church of Canada, has set up an emergency fund to assist communities affected by wildfires. To donate, you can do so by eTransfer to, with a note in the memo line indicating that it is for support for these Northwest Territories communities in crisis.

A Prayer for This Now Time

Offered by Rev. Victoria Andrews
There’s ash in the air.
Smoke blocks our sight.
Beloved places of refuge and belonging are alight with flame.
The land will be scarred for generations to come.
People, eco-siblings and systems experience the displacement and trauma.
Tens of thousands are affected.
This is unprecedented.
This is real.
This is horrible.
This sucks.
In our lament, concern, and anxiety we trust we are not alone.
We trust that even as we wipe the ash from our cars, refresh the wildfire app, and check road closures,
you, Creator, do not forsake us.
In this moment, help us find comfort in one another.
Help us bear witness to the power of your love embodied in the outpouring of care in our communities for those most directly impacted by these fires in BC and across the country.
Help us find courage to face the uncertainties of evacuation orders.
Help us find comfort in the bed, and the campsite, and the parking lot offered and when the time comes, help us discover the resiliency that is only found in your cosmic grace to rebuild, not as it was, for we and the landscape are now forever changed, but different.
Help us to rebuild communities of love and care.
Together, as your people, may we recognize the intersectional mutuality of our existence with all our eco-siblings so that
as we rebuild, the homes created are ones where all Your creatures are valued, included, affirmed, and welcomed.
May it be so. Nenachailya. Amen.
Scroll to Top