Friday, 27 December 2013

A Child is Born for Us.

In Hillston we are fortunate to be able to share ecumenically. Our church worship leaders meet regularly to share and to pray together.
We are also fortunate to have a local press open to the idea of printing a Christmas message.This is the message from the front of the Hillston-Ivanhoe Spectator,18th December, 2013,written by our parish priest, Father Murray.

                                                          "A Child is Born for Us."

"This is an incredible message. Surely this is the Gospel truth. A child is born for us, for our salvation, for our eternal life.
There is only one child who is born for us. All other children are born because God wants to bless them,because God wants them to share in His life of Glory.They are not born for their parents,although they will bring their parents and family great joy. They are not born for their country,although they may contribute much to the land of their birth.They are born because God wanted them to exist and receive from His goodness.
But one, and only one, child is born for us; a child born because God wants us to be part of His family.This child is the Son who saves us so that we might all be the children of God.

Our Lord's death on a cross overcomes sin and the power of death so that we might live forever in the family of God.
This Christmas, though it is a busy time, take the time to gaze at the child in the manger, to gaze at God become a small and weak child.

This child comes into the world for you.
For you, because God loves you.

Father Murray.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Day -25th December, 2013

From the squalor of a borrowed stable,

                                      Came the Saviour of the human race! *

                                     Happy Christmas!

*From the hymn by Stuart Townend.

Friday, 20 December 2013

From the City to the Country,with Love

There were women's clothes,

baby clothes,

children's clothes, sorted in age groups,



40 new women's magazines donated by Woman's Weekly, along with new books, 

lots of toys for Christmas,

lots of children's books,

DVDs for children, 

soccer gear for young boys,

It reads like the 12 days of Christmas and it probably felt like it to the Griffith Women's Refuge, who were the recipients of the enormous collection gathered by Pymble Uniting Church and Mt St Bernard's Catholic School.

The collection waits for shipment.
..........Not a Partridge but a Partnership.

Pymble UC put out the word of the need for clothes and toys at Griffith Women's Refuge.
They had discovered the need from the Rural Chaplain,* Julie, working in the area.Mt St Bernard School were very keen to contribute and an ecumenical partnership was born. It proved fruitful, as you can see from the photo.

But stuff wasn't just sent out to be landed on the doorstep of the already busy workers at the refuge.It was all collected,quality controlled and sorted by the parents in Pymble before packaging and shipment.
Rather that just sending up old clothes and toys they thought would be useful, organisers also contacted the refuge to find out what was required, when is the best time to send things and how to send it. A sorted shipment of new, or as new, clothes, books and toys is now sent each season, summer and winter.The load you see here filled 2 station wagons to the brim and was carried by couriers happy to do this as a love job.*

There is a great story from a previous shipment to Griffith which shows what fun it is to be in such a project and what a worthwhile thing it is to do.
A single mum with 6 kids was about to leave the refuge and set up in her own home.She had come in as a victim of domestic violence and was leaving after being given support, counselling and undergoing a parenting program to help her cope on her own with 6 children.
The first shipment from Pymble arrived that day. In it were delightful children's clothes enough for all the children to have something brand new and a bit classy. It saved her money, shopping time (with 6 kids!!) and let her know she is not alone. 

"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."

* Rural Chaplains seen again, acting as conduits - linking city and country, people and places.
* Thank you! to both L & M Pittari trucking and Quiktrans Logistics of Minto for transporting goods and palletizing and clingwrapping the packages free of charge.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Learning goes both ways in Enngonia visit

 As I was writing the blog for last week, as if to prove the truth of what I was writing by another source,this blog came through to us from Steve Aynsley of  Pymble Uniting Church. If some of these photos don't bring a tear to your eye and give you hope for reconciliation between peoples in Australia .......

 Twenty-six students from Pymble Ladies College and Knox Grammar visited Enngonia Public School in November as part of their Year 10 Service Learning Project. Accompanied by teachers and members of Pymble Uniting Church, who formed a relationship with the school 4 years ago, the visit was a resounding success.

On this “immersion” trip, the second time the Sydney schools have visited Enngonia, students had tours of local sheep and produce farms and learnt some of the area’s rich history. But most of the 5-day trip was spent in the school, talking individually with the local students, reading stories, playing endless games of handball and soccer and generally being a big sister or brother.

 The Principal later reported how happy she was with the visit, noting especially the warmth and speed with which the children responded to the older students. Church representatives and the teachers from Sydney were again proud of the giving nature of the older students, who played, carried, swam and kicked themselves to exhaustion with their new-found buddies.

Further connections with the local community were made over a BBQ and a ‘bush tucker bush walk’ and the Pymble congregation was able to support the P&C with some funds so they could supply a special afternoon tea.

But the real success of the week is seen in the changed lives of the students. The Enngonia students are encouraged by the example of older students keen to be at school and with goals and plans for their lives; the Sydney students learn so much by being exposed to a different part of Australia and getting to understand some of the challenges of living in a remote area. As a number of them said on return, “This was a life-changing experience.”

                                                  Rev Steve Aynsley
                                                   Pymble Uniting Church.

                                                            Joy, Hope.... Reconciliation.

"You are all sons of God through Christ Jesus.....There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus."
                                                                                                                                                              Galatians 3:26-28

Friday, 6 December 2013

Conduits -Part 2 - In all the ways you.In all the places you can.

Rural Chaplains act as a link between places and people, people and resources,doing what they can in all the ways they can, in all the places they can.

As they travel around Western NSW the chaplains hear a lot about the needs and hopes of the communities they visit.

End of the school zone at Weilmoringle 

Many of these places are very isolated in that they are far from major centres and services. Often things we now take for granted in most cities and towns do not exist - things like access to teaching about new technologies, hobby groups, opportunities for post school learning and employment, pre-schools, playgroups, secondary schooling and book shops or any shops!

Julie and Phill leave one such meeting in Dubbo.

The chaplains hear about these needs and seek to do something to meet them. This involves discussing the project or service people would like to see happening in their community with members of the community. It can mean sourcing funds through a grant to pay for the need to be met or  linking a church community in the city or a large country town with a smaller community.

Linking people and places can work as a great two way exercise as expertise and knowledge of differing lifestyles,experiences and places flow back and forth.
An example of this is the link between Pymble Uniting Church and the community of Enngonia, who have worked together for several years.Another is the pairing of Weilmoringle and Mosman Boys Prep School in the Book Buddies program. Mosman supplies access to books for the children at the school and in return Weilmoringle teaches them about their local Aboriginal culture and environment. It's a win -win situation.

An example of a grant helping communities to gain services which will enrich the lives of both individuals and the town is the recent one applied for and gained, from UnitingCare. This Innovations grant covers 3 areas of community enrichment - a computer course for Seniors hoping to improve their skills so they can communicate better with friends, family and services outside town, an ESL training for tutors course so non-English speaking Hillston locals can improve their ability to communicate in English in town and a series of Quilting workshops at Merriwagga for the ladies in that small town who love to get together and sew and want to learn new skills.

"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." - John Wesley

Sometimes it involves the unglamorous hard yakka of grant writing and phone calls but seeing it all come together and for people to get the services they need is a very satisfying part of the job of Rural Chaplain.


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