Toowoomba is known for the outstanding degree of unity that exists between the Pastors of the city and across the Christian community in general. After the record floods that hit the city in January this unity came to the fore again as the Christian presence in the city played a significant part in helping people to deal with the massive dislocation that occured as a result of the floods. Twenty-eight pastors from around Toowoomba attended a prayer and planning meeting to respond to the catastrophic events of 10th of January.

The meeting, initiated by Rev Dr Edgar Mayer (Living Grace Lutheran church), decided to form the Toowoomba Churches Link Group, with a steering group of eight. Links to Toowoomba Church Together and the Christian Leaders Network were established through Archdeacon Gary Harch (St James Anglican Church) and Pastor Ian Shelton (Toowoomba City Church). Dr Neil Parker, previously director of the Darling Downs Public Heath Unit and now associate pastor at Toowoomba Community Baptist Church, was appointed chairman.

Whilst for many across Australia the January floods are now part of history, those directly affected by it continue to live with the consequences. The group thererfore continues to be active matching the needs which become known to some churches with offers of help received by other churches. For example, the Link group has coordinated the receiving, and subsequent distribution of, boxes of non-perishable food items received from other communities across Australia.
The Link Group has also been responsible for the delivery of goods and materials to towns further west, with a number of Toowoomba churches providing the transport. The Churches also supplied cleaning materials which were used to assist the Fire Brigade in the hosing down and cleaning of flood damaged houses in communities around Toowoomba. Pastor Ian Shelton said, “Many years of good relationships between the churches in Toowoomba laid the foundation for the Link Group.”

The Chairman of the Link group Dr Parker said, “At this stage we have no idea how large the linking project may become, but we are looking at this as a long term effort, as recovery will take some time. Now the group is set up, it can also be reactivated should there be a future need.”

Source: Compiled by APN from material received from various sources