Walgett Parish Partnership

 

St James' involvement with Walgett

Walgett lies at the junction of the Barwon and Namoi Rivers, about 670kms from Sydney and 9.5 hrs driving time with stops. Its population is about 2,500 and many are aboriginal. It is the centre of the Walgett Shire. It has 3 churches which are active. Rev Tory Cayzer is the Vicar of St Peters Anglican. He his wife Jo, son Jacob and daughter Annika moved there from Tamworth in late 2012. The parish comprises 4 ministry areas, and is in the Diocese of Armidale. The family lives in the vicarage, adjoining the church in Pitt Street.
Tory conducts weekly services in Walgett and Collarenbri (75 kms NW) and teaches scripture in these towns and Rowena (S of Colly). The fourth centre is at Cryon from 20-60kms on the plains to the East.

Why Walgett?

In early 2013 the chairman of the Mission Committee spoke to Monica Short, the wife of the National Director of BCA and suggested that with the goodwill and mission mind of St James, the church might be able to do something extra for BCA while not diminishing our giving and efforts to support linked missionaries - providing the work was within 10 hours drive of Sydney.  After thought and prayer Monica suggested Walgett - which was not a BCA missioner posting.  If an application had been made before Tory's appointment it may have been adopted as a BCA post.  Lightning Ridge, north of Walgett is such a post.

How is support offered?

The two previous teams and future ones go under the auspices of BCA and those attending go as BCA Nomads.  If you are intending to go as part of a future team then you should consider applying for a Working With Children check number (on the WWC website) and to BCA when your WWC number is secured.  The website is bushchurchaid.com.au and go to the Nomad's link.
BCA offers some insurance cover for accident or death but the cover for people over 65 is only death cover.  Pre-existing health conditions should be notified.  BCA will be notified of the team members prior to departure.  We are responsible for our own medical costs.
 
Support is offered on the basis that we are responsible for our travel, accommodation and food costs.  It is possible to arrange a billet in Walgett, but properties around town can be isolated if rain falls, because of the black soil.
 
If the church requests items to be brought out the church will pay for these items.
 
The church sets the agenda entirely and we go serve it as the body of Christ.  If we are invited, St James' members are notified of any proposed trip and requested to nominate for the team.  This partnership was approved by the Parish Council on the basis that there would be no contribution of funds from St James and on the understanding that persons going on team would maintain their usual mission giving.  
 

What does the team do?

On the first trip in 2013 we had 3 'technicians' Ross Grainger, a landscaper, Trevor Smith an electrician, and Ruth Jonker, a horticulturist.  the other team members were Peter Jonker and Fran and Stewart Cuddy.  Most of the work was spent on the church and grounds and the vicarage.  For example: fixing data projector to roof and screen in church, outside lighting, trimming and planting roses, citrus, shrubs and ground covers,defining and edging garden beds, setting out vege garden, chainsawing sleepers and wood for fires, child minding, cleaning cupboards, laying paving and helping with a Womens' Outreach Night event plus attending Sunday services.
 
In 2014 the team comprised John and Johanna Bakker, Peter and Ruth Jonker, Stewart and Fran Cuddy and Kym Abbott, our Children's Minister. Only 1.5 days were spent around the Pitt Street properties.  An external door for the church brought from Sydney was cut to size, fitted and painted.  A rear shed was emptied and rubbish taken to the tip, and then repacked with useful items for the church.  The grounds were trimmed, cleaned up and rubbish dumped.  A gutter downpipe and storm drain were unblocked.  Kym accompanied Tory to the Jaffa Club (scripture at the local school).  Thursday afternoon and evening involved preparation of the church hall and the serving of meals and conduct of the Outreach event for women.  The men served, cleared the tables and washed up.  On Friday the men went to Cryon and returned that afternoon for the evening Men's Outreach event.  The ladies purchased items required for drought relief parcels and items required for the Friday and Sunday outreach meals. 
 

On Saturday the men left for Collarenebri with sand, gravel and cement and a new sign made in Hornsby.  A tall dead tree was chainsawed and cut up, a new sign erected, 4 holes dug in hard ground for footings.  These were then formed and filled with mixed concrete.  Gutters were cleaned of dirt and rubbish.
 
Sunday was spent carting chairs and gear to Gray Park in town for the Combined Church Service and preparing and cooking the barbecue which followed.  Kym made two appearances which engaged 12 aboriginal children playing in the park.  Most of the team then travelled to Colly for the 3.30pm service at which Stewart preached on evangelism using parts of Romans chapters 5 and 10.

In 2015 we were invited back and a team comprising of John and Johanna Bakker, Stewart and Fran Cuddy, Terry and Barbara Dein, James and Margaret Grainger and Rob and Carol Tannahill worked in the parish from 26 July to 2 August.

We had four 'work' aims - to clear, prepare and pour a reinforced concrete slab 2.5m wide along the rear of the vicarage, to collect and replace the shade cloth covering of the 'gazebo' on the front drive of the church, and to repair and replace the side fence damaged by large fallen trees plus gardening, cleaning and maintenance in the church and grounds. All were done by the men and women to a high standard.

 

In kingdom terms, we attended Jaffa at Walgett school, prepared and served the Ladies Christmas in July function in the church attended by about 35 local ladies, set up and conducted a community outreach at Collarenebri in the Red Shed at which Terry spoke from Luke, prepared for and held a Men's Outreach at 'Sefton Park' on the Cryon plains at which Stewart spoke about the importance of the resurrection in History, conducted an outdoor combined church service in Apex Park as part of the Bulldust to Bitumen Festival in the Shire, at this Tory conducted the service, the Catholic priest prayed and the message was given by the son of the aboriginal pastor. All three churches were well represented and about 50% more than in 2014 attended.