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5 people who can transform children’s fears about the fires in Fort McMurray


An Alberta Sheriff manning a roadblock on Highway 63 watches a massive plume of smoke over Fort McMurray Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Photo: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Some children will arrive at church wide-eyed this Sunday having seen pictures or having escaped the fires of Fort McMurray fires. How can you calm them? Fires may be strong but the fire of our love for one another burns stronger than any fire could ever hope to burn.

Everywhere in Fort McMurray there are helpers. Mr. Roger’s mother said it well. (Mothers often do.) As a boy, when Fred Rogers saw scary things in the news, his mum said look for the helpers. Fires may have stopped the town but fire cannot stop the helpers of Fort McMurray. Here are five groups of people whose courage and help can transform our fears.

  1. Fire Fighters – More than a thousand fire fighters are fighting the fires in Fort McMurray. Hundreds of fire fighters from all over Canada will be travelling to help.
  1. Doctors, Nurses and Hospital Workers – Fires could not stop the doctors and nurses at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre from helping those who needed them most. They moved 105 patients by moving them in one night. Nine newborn babies to stayed right next to their mummies the whole time.
  1. Police and Emergency Responders –  In Fort McMurray these amazing people helped everyone to safety. When the cars and trucks didn’t stop leaving Fort McMurray, the police, highway patrol and city management didn’t stop guiding them.
  1. New Syrian Canadians – Near Fort McMurray in the city of Calgary, Syrians who have been refugees are organizing help. A well-known Calgary newspaper reported that new Syrian Canadians know what it is like to be in need. Their need has given them the gift of compassion. In Calgary, they are gathering to buy essentials for families who have left Fort McMurray.
  1. People You Might Know – An Edmonton Newspaper reported 17 restaurants offering free meals, 7 organizations looking after pets, tire shops repairing tires free of charge, hair salons offering free shampoos and even a dance school offering free dance lessons to families leaving the fires.

God, thank you for helpers. Help us to be helpers too. Amen

Kate Newman

About Kate Newman

Kate Newman has been teaching arts and faith to children in the secular school system and in churches for 20 years. Kate has completed a Masters of Theological Studies and has a Masters in Education. She is the principal developer for the Compendium of the Church Mice. She currently works at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria the same church where she was baptized in Children's Ministry. She is also a mother. She enjoys walks in the woods with her and a good nap. Whew.
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