Posts Tagged 'outback'

Charleville wrap-up

Hi

It’s just over 24 hours since Dale and I along with four others from our church arrived back in Brisbane on the Westlander.

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On the journey back – uneventful in the bigger scheme of things – we spent some time reflecting on how well our week in and beyond Charleville had achieved its objectives.

IMG_3988There was consensus that apart from the hope of engaging in some children’s ministry there, it was a green tick the rest of the way.

There’s no doubt that everyone in our group will now have a heightened awareness of and appreciation for the work of Frontier Services, of the challenges of those on the land, of a different way of ‘being church’ out there.  We were able to share musical and other gifts in a variety of contexts.  It seemed our encounters were times of blessing and encouragement to those we met.  More than this, though, we came away knowing we were perhaps blessed ourselves moreso … such was the hospitality and friendship received. The leadership, friendship and assistance shown by patrol padre John Case in arranging so many of our encounters was tremendous. Thanks John!!!

Buckey panorama

What was the springboard for all of this?

Perhaps two-fold:

  1. doing something more tangible as a local suburban church to connect with Frontier Services’ work – one catalyst being 2012’s 100th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the A.I.M. under Rev John Flynn’s leadership and vision. I wrote (see next post) the song ‘Cross this land tonight in recognition of this.
  2. 40 years ago, our minister at Indooroopilly Presbyterian Church, Doug Brandon took a bus load of young adults out one December to his old Burke & Wills patrol stomping ground. Yes, the same territory we in a small way interfaced.  This experience has never left me, all these years on.  I wanted Oxley folk to catch a glimpse of this too.

I believe they did.

20131003-071942.jpgThe last two days saw us:

  • presenting a concert of song and story at the Waroona Nursing Home in Charleville.  A moving experience as we shared some oldtime and Aussie folk songs

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  • spending time at the Bilby CentreIMG_3992
  • farewelling our road-travellers
  • consuming tasty food at the RSL and Mars-Bar cheesecake at Bartlett’s bakery
  • presenting an impromptu singalong across the road from the Bailey Bar Caravan Park.

One of our lighthearted slogans through the week was “What happens in Charleville stays in Charleville!”.

Not sure if that’s going to stay true for me.  Perhaps others.

It’s left its mark … the people we met have left their mark. Praise be to God.

Now … I’m onto the second half of long service leave. Some time at home, time at the beach and then a rendezvous with Dale’s folks and a six-berth motorhome at Alice Springs.  We worshipped in the city this morning, took in GOMA (first time for me) … and then there’s the little matter of a footy Grand Final this evening.

Cheers,

David

P.S. I’ve submitted this piece for possible publication by our Uniting Church Qld magazine: Journey. Kind of sums up the week.

Continue reading ‘Charleville wrap-up’

‘Cross this land tonight … new song

Happy new year everyone!

Well … I’ve finally written the song invited of me by Frontier Services for their 100th birthday celebrations in September. Yet to really share it with them so in all fairness, so am limited to what I can share via blog. Thought I’d let you in on a few snippets though. In somewhat the vogue of an Australian folk song, here’s the refrain:

Right across this sunburnt country
Marked by droughts and flooding rains
At places far beyond the beaten track:
in mercy’s name
God’s outback mission keeps on
bringing hope and health and light
God’s “mantle of safety”
‘cross this land tonight

In the song’s three verses, I seek to acknowledge not on the pioneering contributions of the likes of Reverends John Flynn and Fred McKay AND the present day 700 staff, but just as importantly the contributions of those many, many men, women and children in remote places across this land.  I thought it vital to have there in the chorus, acknowledgement of Flynn’s vision of a “mantle of safety” across the length and breadth of Australia.

Hopefully I’ve managed all that.  Might even have a go at a second song offering – something that is somewhat hymn like in style. We’ll see.  Next week, once home from holidays Dale and I will put down in a demo vocal … then we’ll get some church folk (hopefully) to record a further vocal.  I love projects like this.

Once again – out of respect for Frontier Services’ invitation, don’t feel I can share music score and lyrics right now.  However, maybe this backing track (yet to get a final mix etc) will give you a feel.   demo backing track

Cheers,

David


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