News Release: Billy Graham chaplains going to BC to help fire victims

August 20, 2015

Calgary, Alberta – Aug. 20, 2015 – As a 40-kilometer wildfire rages near the southern British Columbia village of Rock Creek, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada (BGEAC) has sent a Rapid Response Team chaplain to the area to provide emotional and spiritual support to residents and firefighters.

“This fire has destroyed 30 homes and 15 other buildings in the area. We pray for those residents who have lost homes, for those whose homes are threatened and for those who are fighting the blaze,” said Fred Weiss, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada’s executive director.

Our chaplains often work alongside Samaritan’s Purse, which is responding to the wildfire by preparing to send a specially equipped Disaster Relief Unit tractor trailer from Calgary. That unit will work with local volunteers to help fire victims.

“While many relief agencies respond to necessary physical needs after a disaster, emotional and spiritual needs are just as important,” said Rapid Response Team Manager Merle Doherty. “That’s why are chaplains encourage and pray with people in distress, including victims and first-responders.”

Chaplain Patricia Kanwischer spoke to an emergency services worker in Rock Creek and reported “she is very exhausted and stressed.  I had the opportunity to love on her and she gave me permission to pray for her.  She is delighted we are here.”

Working with Samaritan’s Purse, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains have responded to flooding in New Brunswick (2008, 2010, and 2012), in Quebec and in British Columbia, plus forest fires in Slave Lake, AB, and catastrophic flooding in 2013 in Alberta.

Chaplains have also served in situations such as the April 2014 murder of five people in Calgary and the release earlier this year of the federal government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in Ottawa.

Donations Needed
To support the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s chaplain efforts, please visit (click on "Donate Now") or call 1-800-293-3717.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, established in 1953, partners with churches and Christian communities across Canada and worldwide to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and deed. Through relevant language and methods, we share the saving message of Jesus to spiritually searching people of all ages and cultures. To learn more, please visit


Media inquiries:

Frank King, Communications Manager

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada

1-800-293-3717, 403-990-0161 (mobile) or