Earlier this year we were celebrating International Women’s Day by chatting with our three female Bush Chaplains on what motivates them in their roles. They are strong. They are brave. They are compassionate. They are innovative. And they are rooted to the land. Those are just a few of the qualities that our female Bush Chaplains have. They spend most of their days heading out on the open roads to connect with people in their patch. Our female Bush Chaplains are warmly welcomed and lauded for their spirit and resilience.
Rev. Veronica Bradley from the Prom Country Remote Area in Victoria
For me International Women’s Day is about celebrating the achievements of women who’ve come from places where they have had to struggle to get education, opportunities and even just to survive. It is a day for women to celebrate other women who are trying to overcome adversities and struggling to make their communities and the world a better place.
As a woman Bush Chaplain, I have been able to successfully stand beside both men and women. When I think of the people I encounter as a Bush Chaplain they embody the kind of resilience Nelson Mandela describes when he says, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Resilience comes from getting back up on your feet every time you fall. And that is an incredible quality I see in everyday women (and men) in rural and remote Australia.
Rev. Marian Bisset from the High Country Remote Area in Victoria
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I think of the strong women’s voices from around the world today, who fight and advocate for all voices to be heard and respected, who call for equal access to education and health, food, and housing. Jesus calls upon us to stand up and walk alongside those who are vulnerable. As I commence my role as a Bush Chaplain in the High Country Remote Area, I am motivated to stand alongside those that are isolated because of geographical locations, health, or financial constraints.
Having three female Bush Chaplains at Frontier Services across different locations is fantastic. We are all able to touch the lives of those we encounter as ministers. I am looking forward to being in an area which is challenging in the ruggedness, the demands of the climate and the trauma which can come from the climate extremes. The farming community here is resilient and strong. I, I am looking forward to learning about their ways of life, and being immersed in a new culture and being part of the wider community.
Pastor Julia Lennon from Oodnadatta Remote Area in South Australia
I am now doing the things I am so passionate about: the travels, the challenges, the countless blessings through the heat, through the floods standing alongside people, strengthening and teaching young people about their gifts and leadership. What I love waking up to everyday is the moment of seeing their smiles, seeing community growth for the better, that moment you find the one solution, that moment you have seen the results, the recovery and the never-ending thankyou’s. And I’m Aboriginal. My life wasn’t as easy as it seems. The years of challenges, to understand, to listen to my heart, before understanding the gift I had: to know who I was and how I am connected to be able to do what I live to do.