What is the DRCN?
The Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN) is an ecumenical network of chaplains established to assist people in NSW who have been affected by disasters and major emergencies within their communities.
The network was established in 2009 by the Uniting Church (Synod of NSW and ACT) as a result of deliberations within the State Disaster Welfare Committee, which recognised the need for chaplaincy to complement the other welfare services within evacuation and recovery centres following major emergencies.
What is our role?
When disasters strike, people are affected in every aspect of their lives, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Holistic care must account for all aspect of a person’s experience and need.
Issues of meaning, justice, forgiveness, hope and worldview have spiritual elements. These are all challenged at a time of major loss, and many people connect these things with their own faith or spirituality. Holistic care should allow for pastoral and spiritual care and comfort in this context.
While other services and groups will aid in taking care of people’s physical and emotional needs, chaplaincy seeks to support people’s spirituality.
- Provide pastoral presence and support to people and communities following disasters.
- Participate in Recovery activities.
- Provide resources, training and support to local ministry agents as they, in turn, support their communities in recovery.
How are we organised?
The DRCN is coordinated by the Uniting Church in Australia (Synod of NSW and ACT) but incorporates volunteer chaplains from a wide range of Christian denominations and other faith groups from across the state. The Synod Disaster Recovery Committee has oversight of the network’s operation.
The Senior Chaplain/Coordinator of the DRCN is Rev. Dr. Stephen Robinson who operates full-time as the Uniting Church’s National Disaster Recovery Officer. The DRCN has a team of Duty Officers and Logistics volunteers who maintain the life and work of the network on a rostered basis.
Who do we work with?
Under the state disaster welfare arrangements some core Community Partners work under Memoranda of Understanding with the State Government’s Department of Justice - Disaster Welfare Branch to provide care for people and communities following disasters.
These organisations are:
Australian Red Cross (which provides personal support)
Salvation Army (providing food)
Save the Children (supporting the needs of children in disasters)
The Uniting Church (organising multi-faith and ecumenical chaplaincy through the DRCN)
Anglicare (provides personal requisites, and trains volunteers to support all the above agencies)
Who are our chaplains?
DRCN chaplains are ministry agents who are ordained or equivalent, including chaplains working in institutions such as hospitals and aged care facilities.
Chaplains must be nominated by denominational or faith-group overseers and deemed to be suitable in nature for this ministry. They participate in specialised training where they are further assessed. Chaplains must have current Working with Children Checks and will adhere to our Code of Ethics and Guiding Principles.
What faith groups are included in the DRCN?
DRCN chaplains are drawn from faith groups that are member organisations of:
- The Civil Chaplaincies Advisory Committee (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist),
- The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA),
- State ecumenical councils, and
- The Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO).
The complete listing of these groups are available here