Friday, 22 January 2016

The bitter/sweet of moving

Darcy and I on the Lachlan River

As some of you have now gathered just before Christmas I moved back to Bathurst to my home here. I was finding it very hard to be so far from my family, especially my two gorgeous grandchildren.
Even though I was excited about coming to Bathurst the leaving was very hard. After 7 ½ years in Hillston I have many things to be thankful for. In a place with only 1000 people it is not all that difficult to know a significant number of the residents. Walking into any of the shops or banks you are greeted by name and sometimes it can take a long while to grab a few groceries as you stop and chat lots.

As well as knowing lots of people superficially I also made many good friends whom I miss a lot. Luckily phone communications are quite cheap these days, and I love having a skype “cuppa” with other friends.

Unfortunately I had to leave my dog Darcy in Hillston as I was unsure of my work circumstances here in Bathurst. However, he is with Jenny and Joe and they love him to bits so I know he will be well cherished and looked after.

And the other great loss is the Lachlan River and kayaking with good friends. Still looking for a good place to go here.

On the other hand I love being near my family here. It’s been a long time since the boys and my daughter-in-law could just drop in for a chat. Sarah and her family are only 3 hours away and I’m seeing more of them also.

The Uniting Church here has been very welcoming with invitations to meals and including me in things. As you can imagine it is a much bigger congregation with a number of multicultural members which is lovely. I’m slowly learning a few names. There are some other things in Bathurst not available in Hillston and tonight I am going to join a choir, which I am very much looking forward to.
As my work is changing with a big emphasis on linking city and country Bathurst is a good mid-way point, but I’ll write more on this in another blog.

So it has been a bitter/sweet move but I think we are so blessed that wherever we go there are others of God’s family with open welcoming arms.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Gather them in from the Highways and Byways

Barney Rumble and his son-in-law, Patrick Seage, who does all the cooking

In small rural communities people who have no one to share Christmas with are often gathered up by others and invited to have a meal. But what happens in the larger towns like Bathurst? This year I went to help at the Community Christmas Lunch. This remarkable lunch celebrated it's 25th anniversary this Christmas. Barney and his family have been organising it since the beginning.

Volunteers come from all sorts of places to help. Prior to the lunch there was a flurry of activity wrapping presents and laying tables for 200 people. Bon Bons, lollies and small treasures made the tables look lovely.

Guests started arriving from 11am for lunch at 12.30pm. As there were lots of helpers this gave me time to sit and talk to people. I was struck by the range of people who attended. I had assumed that it would be all single people who didn't have anywhere else to be, but this was not the case at all. There certainly were people who are probably struggling financially, but there were also families and couples.

One family I spoke to I got the impression that they didn't really know how to do Christmas for themselves because as children their parents had always taken them to a community lunch.

Kids getting their presents from Santa

Another couple lived nearby and had been coming ever since the lunch moved to the Hope Church across the road. They went to their kids for breakfast and then came to the community lunch.

I must say I had a great day and met lots of people, some who are members of the local Uniting Church, and it was a lovely way to start building relationships here in Bathurst.

If you would like to read more about the lunch you can see the local newspaper article by clicking here.

Barney briefing the volunteers at the beginning of the day

I hope you all had good Christmases and New Years as we celebrated the extraordinary gift of God's Son.



View My Stats