Friday, 30 January 2015

Creativity comes in unexpected places

Phill has written before about the work being done to do up the cemetery at Weilmoringle "On the road with Rural Chaplain, Phill Matthews" and the story continues. Last time I was in Weilmoringle I was shown the headstones that were being made as part of a TAFE course.

The stones are made from concrete and decorated in a variety of ways such as pictures, blue metal and bottles. The effect is quite amazing.

Not only was it a joy to see the excitement of those who were making them, but it was also wonderful to see the creativity and the ways that people in small communities can overcome the issues of distance and lack of funds.

I look forward to seeing them in place on their family graves. I'm sure it will enhance the large amount of work that has already been done.

Julie Greig

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Friday, 23 January 2015

The Next Step

Rain rolling in across the West

As the Christmas cards came down, so did the rain here in Narrabri! We got good initial rain and had some follow up falls.
As I readied myself to head out I made some calls to Jo and Lou. They found some big pools of water out Byrock way, plus green grass along the road. Ellen Day from DPI* Broken Hill backed up Dave the Flying Pastor, also out of Broken Hill, that some people out there got  round  around 12 inches, "I'll be in the office for a week or so." said Ellen.

So it is over. Cattle prices gone through the roof at Tamworth, all great news! But is it over? 

What's the next step?
I talked to Catherine and Nat,the folks we did a Pamper Day with, just up the road from these clouds above.They have had very little rain. The storms missed them.Storm rain is so cruel,  one station can get 12 inches, next door stays dry. Severe rainfall deficiencies occurred across the north west and northern tablelands during the last 18-24 months. It has been called a 1 in 50 year event.

Hermidale Pamper Day 

What next?
I hear some feeling it has rained, so lets move on. This is a move we often make as a society. Quickly move on. The front page news is the bird cage liner in a short time. I love to hear that all is well but some did not get any rain.
Stock prices are through the roof. This means re stocking. This is buying in new cows or sheep as many had to sell or shoot their herds. Some got them to other places for agistment* but sadly many did not so they have to rebuild but history shows us this weather pattern could just swing back to dry for farmers.This is their lives.
So next step is there is only cricket and tennis on TV and I have had time with the children and grand children during the holiday season. It's time to check up on some people I met last year.  BJ's been home so long he is missing Danny and Vicky, the kennel owners. The camera's getting rusty! I was so twitchy I even found the manual for the camera and found out what other tricks it does. So as I start a new year I ask you to keep praying for us and the wonderful  farmer families, the truck drivers and shop keepers, rural support workers and all those who live and work in bush; that they can keep on having a go.

Pamper Day at Hermidale 
Food from the donations 

These photos from are the Uniting Care Dubbo, Drought Team. I was not at this one.It was an all female thing. We used  packs from NENW fellowship and they loved them too.

During coming months we will decide whether to do more of this or work on other areas of their lives.

We thank you as always for your comments.

Rural Chaplain Phill Matthews.

*DPI  - Department of Primary Industries
*Agistment - Moving stock to a property which has feed for them when your own property does not.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Playing with the Police

This story comes from Julie's visit to the north in 2014.

At the Christmas Event in Weilmoringle I came across a very innovative initiative of the Walgett police. It is a digital van that can be taken to all sorts of places and functions to allow the kids, young people and police officers to spend some time together in fun activities. One of the aims of the initiative is to help break down the barriers between police and the kids.

The Glyaali Van is set up with 6 big screens that fold along the sides of the vans and allow the kids to play games in groups or singly. The van is also equipped with a BBQ to feed the kids and the officers tell me they are experts in turning out pancakes for breakfast sessions. There is also lots of sporting gear for those wanting to play physical games.

The van has been purchased and equipped by a number of grants and sponsorships and is currently servicing a number of small communities all around the Walgett area.

If the reaction of the Weilmoringle kids is anything to go by this is a real winner and talking to the officers involved they are getting great responses where ever they go.

I was very impressed with the enthusiasm of the police to embrace this new idea and commit resources into making it happen. It's a great way to break down entrenched "battle lines" and a reminder to us all to keep thinking "outside the box".

Julie Greig

Friday, 9 January 2015

Creativity at the Front Gate

As I drive around I see some wonderful mail boxes that farmers have at their front gates!

 Lots of time, effort and a sense of humour go into these unexpected delights for the passerby. There are too many to put all the photos in the one blog but here are some of my favourites with a link to the rest including some Santa mailboxes I've highlighted before.

Thank you to all those who take the time to bring smiles to those of us who pass by - Julie.

To see more (including more Santa boxes) click here

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year 2015

For you, deep stillness of the silent inland,
For you, deep blue of the desert sky,
For you, flame red of the rocks and stones,
For you, sweet water from hidden springs.
From the edges, seek the heartlands
And when you’re burnt by the journey,
May the cool winds of the hovering Spirit sooth and replenish you,
In the name of Christ.
In the name of Christ.

In November I attended a lay preacher's course at Narrandera. On the Saturday night Robin Mann played the church. This song - "For You, Deep Stillness " *- from his repertoire really struck me. We used it in Hillston as part of our worship on Christmas Day  and I'm using it here again as our meditation and blessing for the new year.

So much of the experience of being a Rural Chaplain, or being part of the rural church, is the experience of being blessed by God through His creation directly, or by understandings about Him, which come from observing it closely.

This is reflected beautifully in this song. 

Happy New Year!

"May the cool winds of the hovering Spirit sooth and replenish you," and make you ready for the year ahead. 

- Sue, Julie and Phill.

 *"For You, Deep Stillness " is from Robin Mann's  CD - "Let's Sing it Again."
     - Well worth a listen.


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