Twice a year members from Bobbin Head visit Arnhem land
In an expression of friendship, mutual learning and partnership, twice a year members of Bobbin Head Anglican Church travel to Arnhem Land to be with their friends at the local church in Minyerri.
It's an opportunity for prayer and fellowship with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters
For two weeks each year they call the 600-person town their home – spending time with their Aboriginal brothers and sisters in prayer and fellowship.
“We go up there to be with them,” says the Rev Luke Woodhouse, who has been visiting since starting at Bobbin Head in 2015.
“To know there are brothers and sisters in Sydney who are praying for them and sharing in the common task of making disciples, and to be there physically and sit alongside them, is of great benefit to the church of Minyerri. But we would learn more on our trip from them than they would learn from us!”
"We go up there to be with them"
What Sydney can learn from the Northern Territory
Mr Woodhouse says each trip provides helpful insights into the ways following Jesus is expressed in different cultures.
“You can really see what cultural baggage we bring,” he says, reflecting on his own context. “It’s a mirror to the way we think about things. For example, we naturally tend towards finding our identity in what we do with our time, or what we have or have not achieved, whereas in Minyerri identity seems to be found more in someone’s unique set of (largely predefined) relationships. These cultural differences play themselves out in a number of ways, particularly in how time is spent and prioritised.”
Minyerri identity is found in relationships
There has been great delight in coming together under the word of God, and with music as well.
“They normally have fellowship on most nights of the week, which is an outdoor gathering,” Mr Woodhouse says. “People come up for prayer and there’ll be a message, Bible reading, some songs and dance. We participate and encourage. Music has been a big connecting point. We write and sing songs together.”
"We write and sing songs together"
They also simply enjoy each other’s company, with locals taking the Bobbin Head crowd fishing and to see beautiful parts of their area.
The difference the internet has made
The introduction of the internet and mobile phone reception to Minyerri a year ago has helped the partnership extend beyond the biannual visit. “It means the relationships can really continue, with phone calls and FaceTime,” Mr Woodhouse says.
Bobbin Head pray regularly for their friends in the Northern Territory, “praying for the community and the next generation of leadership at the church to be strengthened and encouraged”.
“We want to indefinitely walk alongside our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, supporting them and encouraging them, [and] point each other to the fact that we are one family in Christ,” Mr Woodhouse says. “It’s a wonderful thing and we are incredibly blessed to be a part of it.”
"We want to indefinitely walk alongside our Aboriginal brothers and sisters"