Praise God, we all woke up to the sound of rain pouring down in Tamworth! There was about 46mm of rainfall by 9am, and during the day, another 5.4mm. This was the most rain Tamworth has had for over two years, and was a long-awaited answer to prayer.
For breakfast, we headed to a church member’s property out in Loomberah, which was 20 minutes out from the centre of Tamworth. We knew this was a fair distance, because everywhere in Tamworth is ten minutes away. As we enjoyed eggs and bacon, we heard from Geoff Hearne, Archdeacon of New England, about the nature of ministry work in the Diocese. This gave us an opportunity to ask questions and contemplate the look and feel of ministry in Tamworth and the Diocese more broadly.
After this, we returned to church to prepare for the Fodder, Food, Family and Fun Day. The church had acquired 600 bales of hay with a drought relief grant from Anglicanaid, which it would distribute to farmers who planned to attend the event. Most of these farmers were not churchgoers. The rain kept some away, but 475 bales were distributed during the day, and gave farmers a positive interaction with the church.
Many of these farmers brought their families, and along with many others in the community, joined in the festivities. Along with fodder, there was a BBQ set up in the church playground serving sausages, a coffee machine manned by Dan and Jill, a tea counter and a jumping castle inside the church’s preschool classroom. It was a great chance to connect with members of the community who did not ordinarily attend St Peter’s or any church, and we made the most of the opportunity to get alongside these people and get to know them and their lives.
At a couple of intervals during the day, proceedings were halted and Matt Stones, a College student and Gunnedah local, was interviewed by Rod, the senior minister, about his life on the farm (and its hardships), and the hope he has as a Christian in the creator God. For the rest of the time, Josh kept us entertained with acoustic renditions of U2, Barnesy and Crowded House (among others).
Josh was interrupted after lunch by a farmer who wanted to thank the church for putting on the event, and as a thank you, performed two songs – one for the farmers, and one for the ‘church’. The first song was a simple country melody about how life on the land will never be the same, which was particularly moving given the intense hardships faced by many farmers here due to the severe drought.
Please join us and pray for:
- those team members who are considering ministry in the Diocese following their studies at College, that God will open doors and guide their feet.
- God to continue to provide rain over the next few weeks and months to restore farms, and give farmers relief.
- the church to continue building relationships with unchurched farmers, to show them the love of Christ and share the gospel with them.