|Conduit- Chaplains act as a link between places and people, people and resources.|
Last week I wrote about the visit of the ministry students to Hillston Uniting Church.
The theme Hillston church members spoke on that night,as they outlined their involvement in ministry in this town was really,
"Do what you can,where you can, with what, and who,you have and God will bless what you do."
It reminded me of the saying of John Wesley,
"Do all the good you can.By all the means you can.In all the ways you can.In all the places you can.At all the times you can.To all the people you can.As long as ever you can."
This sums up very well the ministry of the Rural Chaplains.
As they connect with people from all walks of life across rural NSW and listen to the dreams and heartaches of isolated communities they seek to "do all the good they can" by healing hurts and making dreams a reality.
Rural Chaplains act as a link between places and people, people and resources-hence the metaphor- Conduit.
Doing this may take several forms.It may mean listening to people affected by natural disaster,such as fire or flood. It may mean visiting tiny isolated communities over several years,working to improve literacy or education opportunities.It may mean finding ways to connect city churches with country towns so they can work together to improve outcomes for kids in town and expand horizons( literally, for those from the city).It may mean finding funding for buses,sports gear,music days,sports events or organising a Good Day Out for those demoralised by drought.It may mean teaching people to make church a safe place or helping to improve communication about difficult issues such as water use.It may mean working to improve the mental health and well being of those in rural communities.It may mean finding a way to send otherwise wasted crop to the hungry in the cities.
There are endless possibilities and Julie and Phill have discovered and done, many of them.
One particular way,which is little thought about when we think of intrepid Rural Chaplains 4 Wheel Driving across open country "outback", is the finding of and application for, grants as they sit in their office at home.
A monthly task is to look through the grant lists to find grants which will bring funding to communities with very little in the way of facilities or services so that they can make happen the things they dream of for their town.
These dreams are not for"trips to Disney Land" they are for real services or activities which it is hoped will bring genuine improvement to life in their part of the world.
Thus the Rural chaplains act as conduits, hearing hopes and dreams from communities and finding ways, resources or quite frankly, money,to help them make those dreams happen.