Diocese of Armidale
Destined for Glory
MU Sponsored Women's Conference
by Lesley Barklay & Sharon Kirk
On May 13-14, close to 350 ladies from the Armidale Diocese and beyond gathered in Moree Town Hall to hear speakers Wendy Smith and Naomi Reed share what it means to walk the road less travelled. The conference, which was sponsored by MU in the Armidale Diocese, was characterised by uplifting songs, encouraging fellowship, inspiring testimonies, and solid bible teaching, all designed to glorify God.
Over the weekend Wendy presented three talks from 1 Peter. These talks explained our great salvation, exhorted us to live radical lives for Christ, and encouraged us to persevere during present suffering. The central analogy of the Christian life being like a shopping trip with a recalcitrant trolley enabled women to understand and apply God’s word to their lives.
Women were also encouraged by Naomi Reed’s performance of two dramatic monologues entitled, ‘I will be with you’. These monologues explored God’s promise to be with his people as experienced in the lives of Leah and Mary, mother of Jesus. History was brought to life as Naomi retold biblical stories from the perspective of the women involved.
Naomi also gave an honest talk about the challenges and blessings of missionary life in Nepal. Her presentations were both entertaining and thought provoking.
Gemma Riley (Diocesan member, Uralla) gave an informative presentation on the work of Mother’s Union (MU) in our Diocese and throughout the world. For many of the women attending this was an opportunity to appreciate the value and relevance of MU on all levels – local, national and international. An MU table at the conference, with displays, information and saleable items was very popular. The main talks from the conference were recorded, and MU has undertaken to sell copies of these along with an accompanying set of reproducible Bible studies written by Christine Brain (MU member and Bishop’s wife).
The conference was a great blessing and encouragement to those who attended. One woman reflected, ‘There was so much great teaching, so much great fellowship, and such a fantastic atmosphere. It was exciting to see how God brought all the threads together.”
"....I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges, of drought and flooding rains..." These words, penned by Dorothea MacKellar long ago still aptly describe the country of the Armidale Diocese. An area of roughly 180 000 sq.kms , the diocese sits in the North of NSW, between the Great Dividing Range and the Pilliga Forest. Most people in the region are engaged in some agricultural pursuit, with wheat growing, cattle and fine-wool sheep raising the main products. Lightning Ridge, our western-most town, is world famous for its opals while Armidale, the seat of the diocese, is a university town as well as being the centre of the fine wool industry. Those who know anything about country music will know that Tamworth hosts Australia's largest Country Music Festival every January.
Our 34 parishes are located right across the diocese, in towns as small as Bundarra, with its 450 residents, and as large as Inverell, Moree and Gunnedah (10,000), Armidale (23,000) and Tamworth (35,000). MU branches can be found in six parishes, and at last count there were about 150 members, including 6 Lone Members, at least one man, and three generations in one branch!
As one would imagine, in a diocese as large as this, opportunities for members to gather are precious, and members look forward to meeting annually at our Thanksgiving Service and at other regional events such as Bible teaching and fellowship days. One branch has developed a friendship with a branch in a neighbouring diocese, and enjoys meeting with those members each year. Special MU Projects such as the "Four wheel drive appeal" have been strongly supported, as MU members strive to assist others in their efforts to promote Christian family life.
Life in rural Australia can be difficult and lonely, but as has been the case since the first MU branch opened in the parish of Uralla in 1895,MU members continue to seek to support one another, their churches and their communities in the development and strengthening of marriage and Christian family life.
Immediate Past President
last updated 26/06/2011