Resurrection blessings and Anzacs remembered
From the shores of Lake Dulverton in Tasmania to Karijini National Park in the Pilbara, people came together in remote Australia for Easter and Anzac Day events. Though small in numbers compared with packed city churches at Easter, these community gatherings are significant in the way they bring people together across distances and in isolated places. Joyful celebrations and also deeply reflective services took place in some of the country's most spectacular scenery.
The Frontier Services Patrol Ministers travelled near and far to be there for these community events.
West Nullarbor Patrol Minister Rev Rob Dummermuth covered some 3000km over the three week period, travelling across vast planes and dusty roads to be with people and celebrate with communities.
His journey began with the 'Blessing of the Roads' held first in Esperance and later 200km north in Norseman. The aim of these community services was to remind people to be safe on the roads over the holiday period.
From there, Rob led the Good Friday service in Condingup (which also included the Easter Resurrection celebration, as it was the only service in town for the week), then it was on to Esperance for an ecumenical service at sunrise on the waterfront followed by the Easter Sunday service with the Esperance Uniting Church congregation.
Rob then headed 800km northeast for the Rawlinna Muster, an annual fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service where Rob and wife Barbara with a band of volunteers run the ever-popular donut stall. While out on the road, Rob had the opportunity to pay a much-welcomed visit to a number of remote properties.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Cobar-Nyngan Patrol Minister Rev Jo Smalbil marked up the kilometres between Cobar and Nyngan for a number of Easter services and property visits.
On Easter Sunday, Jo and husband Lou, caught all the action at the gymkhana in Hermidale with goat races, children's novelty horse races and dog fence jumping. Then Jo played Easter Bunny delivering pamper packs to families on remote properties, thanks to a Taree congregation who wanted to do something for those affected by drought. She also gave a reading, reflection and prayer at the Anzac Service in Cobar and to top it all off baptised two sisters during the Easter morning service.
"I met some very interesting people and presided over some very deeply reflective services this Easter," says Jo. "It has been one of the most enjoyable times I can recall. I pray that God will continue to bless my ministry and the people in remote NSW."
Down south in the Midlands Patrol, Rev Dennis Cousens has been busy throughout Lent, Holy Week and into Easter. On Easter Sunday, a small but vital group of people celebrated the Risen Lord on the shores of Lake Dolverton. He then hopped (like an Easter Bunny) to the historical town of Ross for an 8am service and hopped back to Oatlands for the 9.15am celebration. He may have been a little late but it did not dampen the joy and wonder of the Easter celebration.
"For some people it may have been the first time that they have heard this story, others may have heard it for a life time, but all would have been reminded 'that God so loved the world that He gave His Son for us, so that we might have eternal life'," says Dennis.
And in the north West, Pilbara Patrol Minister John Dihm celebrated with holiday makers in the gorges of Karijini National Park. The Sunday service started at 5pm and finished off with a BBQ. On Anzac Day, John paid his respects with those gathered at the dawn service on Eighty Mile Beach
halfway between Broome and Port Hedland.