Friday, 28 June 2013

Singing and Tennis a Hit at Goolgowi

One of the roles for a community developer is to help communities get services that they might not normally access. Many small schools in isolated communities cannot afford to bring high quality teachers and coaches to their pupils.

The Tennis and Music and Preschool day went so well in Weilmoringle last year that I decided to get a similar team together to do it all again. As the final arrangements were being made it turned out that Weilmoringle could not host the event this time due to other commitments so the whole show went to Goolgowi Public School who were thrilled to have the opportunity. After tweaking the timetable to fit in some regular school work and a Musica Viva event that same week it all fell into place.

Sue, tennis coach extraordinaire, travelled up from Geelong. Lou, an exceptional singing teacher travelled over from Bulahdelah, and they gathered in Hillston on the Saturday to start the week. But first there was a singing evening for Hillston church on the Sunday night - a beaut event where we sang until we dropped.

Then on Monday it was off to Goolgowi for a week of singing and tennis for kids -K-6. Every class did both music and tennis each day and the progress they made over the week was remarkable to watch.  By Friday they were all proficient enough to participate in a concert and even the Kindy kids could perform a rudimentary tennis serve. Not bad for 4 days of lessons!

Even the nearby Gunbar and Goolgowi playgroups got a look in on Thursday morning  as the mums and kids gathered to join in a special time of music and stories for little people.

The students certainly loved the week if the thank you cards to Julie, Sue and Lou are anything to go by.
Who knows the Goolgowi courts may now see new life and maybe the next tennis hopeful or opera star will be a Goolgowi local!

A BIG THANK YOU to Sue and Lou for giving up a week of their time to run the tennis and music classes.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Hope Brings Life Like Rain - Phill Shares His Adventures

The rain that has fallen this side of the range seems to me to be linked with many of my trips.

 Lyn and I recently took a trip back to the coast for a Zone Service (a Zone is like a Presbytery, only it’s an area- the southern half of Mid North Coast Presbytery.)

We left with a bright blue sky.

As we made our way East, a darkness started to cover the land.

We passed Tamworth and entering ‘Middle Earth,” the hills took on a misty look.  When we hit Walcha we stopped for our last chance of food before the Hills. The Nowendoc drums rumbled as we left the town behind, news of us was sent ahead -even what we had eaten! We found out later that the girl who served us was related to friends at our destination. She'd grown up and I hadn't recognised her! Such is the bush and coastal telegraph. Anything can be news. Sometimes people know what you are doing before you do!

The heavens opened as we drove on. The cloud filled valley and tops of the climbs looked good but then all but the front of the car was lost in the dense rain and a truck loomed out, reminding us of the dangers of long distance travel.

We arrived with a group of good friends coming out to meet us. Saturday was a great day. Most of the congregations had come for the event. We started with prayer and song. Using the power point I put together for Synod, I spoke about what had I left here to do on the other side of the range, about the places and people, the wonderful new team and friends who we meet and the Hope that our Church brings to so many.
Evening fun-a dramatic presentation of  "Bush Christening"
 An old friend and neighbour had heard I was in town and came across to hear me. 
 “I get it now,” he said.”
 It is good work you are doing. How is BJ going?”

Another great day was had at Manilla!  Similar to the last; good fellowship, followed by sharing the story of Hope and how our faith helps us when life is unhelpful. Thanks to the Fellowship for their support towards the chaplains work.
 Again the trip home saw the heavens open. We choose to go back through Gunnedah on the tar.

 Who said it was dry out here in the West?

The next week was my first meeting as a member of RMU so off to Dubbo for me, to the dog-a-lodge for BJ. Hard life that dog has!

The RMU team involved in discussion and planning research.
The RMU trip was a time of good sharing of our way forward, planning for the Conference in August.  Hope you can come. It will be good to yarn with you. The people planning this have some great things organised but we need your input on the day to help us all make Rural Ministry alive and our mission strong.

And “Yes” the trip home was wet till 30k out of Narrabri.
I love sharing stories with those I meet. Hope brings life like the rain. It might be a bit messy, uncomfortable but like the Luke7: 11-17 reading a while back told of Jesus reaching out in Compassion and bringing life to the widow’s only son, it’s amazing what God can do if we just touch people with Compassion .

Who cares?
                    God cares.

Remember that when you’re feeling alone.

Phill Matthews - Uniting Church Rural Chaplain

Friday, 14 June 2013

The bus story continues

Long term readers of the blog will remember Sue's brilliant story on "What about the bus" in September last year . (And if you haven't read it yet I would encourage you to look at this wonderful example of God's miraculous provision).

Well of course collecting the money is only the beginning of the story. A Tsunami in Japan meant getting hold of a new bus became impossible for quite a number of months and when we did get one we had to get it to Enngonia. But it did eventually happen thanks to a lot of hard work by lots of people, and is a great asset for the school. Having their own bus cuts their transport costs by at least 50% allowing kids from this very isolated village to get to more events elsewhere including things like soccer carnivals, swimming carnivals, lessons with other small schools etc.

A couple of weeks ago I had the joy of travelling to Enngonia for the "official handover" of the bus. Although the school has been using the bus for a while, this was an opportunity to acknowledge the work done by those who had raised the money.

I felt very privileged to be able to join with the kids and staff to celebrate the bus and what it means to the school. An of course there was morning tea afterwards, including the pres-school kids!

I'd like to acknowledge the hard work of Pymble Uniting Church congregation to make this all happen and St Vincents Foundation, UnitingCare, Variety Clubs and Investaplan Dubbo who all donated the thousands of dollars needed.

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Men's Shed Gets a Gift

The men at the Hillston Men's Shed are very grateful for a generous $1000 donation towards running costs from Oatley Uniting Church.

A few weeks ago on the blog we sent out a copy of the brochure "Can You Help?"
Last year and for the few years before that, Julie and Sue had been contacting city churches asking if they were interested in being involved in some way with rural churches or communities. Pymble Uniting Church and their commitment to Enngonia have been mentioned on the blog before but other churches are becoming interested too.

When Oatley Uniting was approached to be involved with a rural community they decided to make a donation to one of the options suggested. They chose the Men's Shed. After raising funds at the annual art and craft show they donated $1000.
This money enables the men, from all walks of life, to meet each week at the Men's Shed to work and share a meal together.

 Some men are experienced builders or wood workers,others are learners.

 All enjoy the time together and often become involved in other community projects,such as restoring the local Historical Society buildings (or Hysterical Society as one member, Joe, calls it) in preparation for the Hillston Sesquicentenary in September.

Since the brochure was distributed at Synod and via the blog, other churches have also responded to the call for help
 Look for their stories soon.

"During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia standing and begging him."Come over and help us."After Paul had seen the vision ,we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia,concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them." Acts 16: 9-10 


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