What is the Bush Ministry?
The Western Region covers a huge area that begins with the significant cities of Ipswich and Toowoomba in the east, through to remote sheep and cattle stations in the west. We have primary producers growing vegetables, grapes, olives, wheat, sorghum, barley, cotton, sheep, cattle and goats, in physical and economic environments that are challenging. Over the years there has been a significant demographic shift away from rural and remote Australia to regional and metropolitan centres, partly due to an increased mechanisation in agriculture and partly due to a decreased demand for primary produce – particularly wool. All this is compounded by the ongoing challenges of prolonged drought, floods, feral dogs, cumulative debt, and unpredictable changes in Government policy. In spite of all this there is extraordinary resilience and faithfulness in our rural and remote communities and the desire among them to be pastorally cared for, gathered for worship, and growing in Christ. Our response to this reality is ‘Bush Ministry’.
Among the scattered communities of the Western Region we have a significant range of contexts for ministry. Culturally diverse congregations in Ipswich and Toowoomba, team ministries with a number of skilled clergy in a single Parish; Parishes with part-time clergy; Parishes that are led by lay ministry teams; and Parishes that have combined to form Ministry Districts. Increasingly we are blessed with partnerships between Parishes and schools within the Western Region, partnerships between denominations, and partnerships between Parishes and schools in other regions. There is a renewed call to pilgrimage being explored: in what ways does God call us to journey together, encourage and support one another, grow in relationship with one another, and have more clearly a sense of shared purpose and mission?
“God of love we give thanks for the gift of our lives and for your life in us. We give thanks for the many contexts of ministry you call us to, and in all things ask for a greater openness to the guidance of your Spirit. We thank you for the resources you have blessed us with and pray that you help us work together: so that communities throughout the Western Region can flourish, and people throughout the Western Region can be nurtured be drawn more deeply into relationship with you. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
As you travel from the east to the west of the region there are three tree species that dominate: in the east there is Brigalow country (Acacia harpophylla), which changes as conditions get harder to Mulga country (Acacia aneura), and finally to Gidgee country in the toughest of conditions (Acacia cambagei). In the same way that different tree species have adapted to different conditions the Anglican Church has different models operating in the Western Region. We have Parishes that can sustain clergy in the east, and we have Parishes and Districts that need financial support to operate. We have services in churches throughout the region, and increasingly well attended services on cattle and sheep properties – with a BBQ and a beer afterwards!
- We invite people throughout the Diocese to support ministry in the bush through prayer
- We invite people throughout the Diocese to financially support ministry in the west through the Bush Ministry Fund
- We invite Parishes in the east to creatively partner with Parishes in the bush
- We invite gifted clergy to consider a call to the west for a season or two
- We invite YOU to come and visit and get to know some of the fantastic people and places of the bush.
The Bush Ministry Fund (BMF) was established in 1998 to provide support for struggling parishes and clergy in the western region of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.
The aim of BMF is to maintain a caring ministry to families who live in towns and on properties in rural and remote area. Through these grants clergy can visit any property and are available to offer care and spiritual support, not only to Anglicans, but to anybody who seeks assistance in the community.
The BMF Provides Funds for:
- The payment of Clergy Stipend
- Vehicle running costs of travelling on the road for long distances
- The replacement of our worn out motor vehicles.
An example of BMF support: The Maranoa-Warrego Anglican District (MWAD) has one member of the clergy working closely with fantastic lay leadership in nine centres based in Cunnamulla (1 wk/mth), Charleville (1wk/mth), and Mitchell (2wk/mth). This covers an approximate area of 30,000km2 which is the same size as Belgium, and is one and a half times larger than the modern State of Israel! Good leadership, clear and regular communication, an ability to encourage and enable the ministry of others, generous hospitality, a deep love for Christ, and the knack of being able to fix most things mechanical are some of the abilities and qualities that God has used to renew hope and purpose through the ministry of the Revd Steffan Van Munster. The BMF gives $40,000/year to support this ministry.
In 2017 BMF supporters will continue to support the ministry of Steffan and others in the Maranoa-Warrego Anglican District. With enough support the BMF would also like to support the establishment of a second Anglican District. Is God calling you to help make this exciting new initiative possible?
In 2017 BMF supporters will continue to support ministry in some other key parishes within the Western Region. With enough support the BMF would also like to support the ministry of two ‘hub’ parishes so that a second paid ministry-position becomes possible in these parishes. Is God calling you to help make these new strategic appointments possible?
The BMF raises funds for ministry in the Western Region and encourages prayer. The money raised is primarily used to help parishes pay for the provision of ordained ministers, mostly in the form of stipends. Be a friend of the Bush, click here to donate to the Bush Ministry Fund.
You can donate to the BMF by:
Direct debit (e.g. fortnightly)
Account name: Corp of Synod of Dioc of Brisbane
Account no: 00001960
Please note your name, address, amount donated, and date deposited to email@example.com and cc firstname.lastname@example.org
Please post your cheque to:
Anglican Church Southern Queensland
PO Box 10396
Brisbane Adelaide Street QLD 4000
Please include a note stating your name, address, amount donated, and that the donation is for the BMF.
If you make a donation, please let Bishop Venables know so that he can include you on the mailing list of the regional newsletter Team Talk, which will keep you up to date on what’s happening and help inform your prayers.
The Maranoa-Warrego Anglican District (MWAD) has one member of the clergy working closely with fantastic lay leadership in nine centres based in Cunnamulla (1 wk/mth), Charleville (1wk/mth), and Mitchell (2wk/mth). This covers an approximate area of 30,000km2 which is the same size as Belgium, and is one and a half times larger than the modern State of Israel! Good leadership, clear and regular communication, an ability to encourage and enable the ministry of others, generous hospitality, a deep love for Christ, and the knack of being able to fix most things mechanical are some of the abilities and qualities that God has used to renew hope and purpose through the ministry of the Revd Steffan Van Munster. Of course it’s not an easy gig, but Steffan has a great sense of God in the midst of it all and when there’s time a great gift in welding metal sculptures.