FIRE RELIEF: Visitors from as far as Canberra attend event
MEMBERS of international church organisation Iglesia ni Cristo will congregate this weekend to aid bushfire victims and thank emergency services personnel.
The event was organised by the church's Gladstone congregation on the recommendation of executive minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, who is based in the Philippines.
Gladstone congregation resident minister Noel Manzano said it would "appreciate the heroism" of the workers and volunteers who battled the Deepwater bushfires and surrounding blazes.
The event will be attended by State Emergency Services representatives from Gladstone and Gracemere, Gracemere Rural Fire Brigade workers and about 500 Iglesia ni Cristo members, including many visiting in buses from Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Canberra and New South Wales.
Mr Manzano said church members would give a monetary donation to the SES and grocery bag donations to "as many as 300" fire-affected households during the event.
"If people are not able to come to the venue on that day, members of the church will try to do a house-to-house distribution of our relief," Mr Manzano said.
He said the event, part of the Iglesia ni Cristo's INCGiving program, was the idea of the executive minister.
"When (he) learned that there was a bushfire happening here in our region, the initial and immediate call ... was to learn if some of the brethren were affected," Mr Manzano said.
"There was no brethren affected so the second call was how about the fellow men, how about their neighbours ... let us help them."
Gladstone's Iglesia ni Cristo congregation has about 70 members.
The event this weekend will run on Sunday from 10am at the Gracemere Community Centre.