Crisis-Trained Chaplains Responding to Massive Wildfires in Canada

By   •   May 5, 2016

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background. Photo credit: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

Crisis-trained Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada will be in Fort McMurray, Alberta, to offer emotional and spiritual care to victims of the massive wildfire that sparked at the beginning of the month.

More than 2,400 structures have burned, including more than 1,000 homes. Tens of thousands of residents have been forced to flee, emptying out the entire city of Fort McMurray. Cellphone videos showed fire raining down on cars as people drove to safety.

Exact plans for the crisis-trained chaplains are still being formulated, and your prayers are appreciated during this time.

“This is obviously a major event within this community, and people will be struggling in many ways,” said Merle Doherty, manager of BGEA of Canada’s Rapid Response Team chaplains. “Our chaplains will be there to offer emotional and spiritual care to those who are hurting.”

Several Canadian RRT chaplains recently returned from Brussels, Belgium, following the terrorist attacks there. The chaplains also had a presence in La Loche, Saskatchewan, after a mass shooting in January.

Last year, French-speaking Canadian chaplains ministered to the people of Paris in the wake of the terrorist attacks there. The Canadian RRT is currently assisting American chaplains deployed to support flood victims in Houston, Texas.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has a long history in Canada. Both Billy Graham and Franklin Graham have held Crusade events throughout the country, including Alberta. Franklin Graham’s oldest son, Will, held a Celebration of Hope in Fort McMurray in November 2015.