The places where they go to school are thousands of kilometres apart, but this week a group of young people will learn more about each other and build long-lasting connections as they come together in Alice Springs.
Eight students from Green Point Christian College on the Central Coast in NSW have travelled to Central Australia to spend a week with students from St Philip’s College in Alice Springs.
The students are coming together to celebrate the Centenary of the establishment of the Australian Inland Mission (AIM), developed by Rev John Flynn to provide “a mantle of safety” for the people of the outback. Frontier Services, the successor to the AIM in the Uniting Church, continues to provide a network of care and support across remote Australia.
As part of the event, the Green Point students, two of their teachers, and a group from St Philip’s will take part in a range of outdoor adventure activities, including bike riding at Simpson’s Gap, abseiling in Birthday Gap and low ropes activities.
The week will come to a climax on Thursday when the young people and a larger group from St Philip’s gather for a Camp Oven dinner on the Todd River to celebrate the Centenary.
Rosemary Young, National Director of Frontier Services, will attend the dinner alongside Uniting Church President Rev Alistair Macrae and Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Chair Rev Ken Sumner. The dinner will include a Welcome to Country, entertainment and storytelling.
Frontier Services organised for the two schools to come together to mark the Centenary year. Both schools have strong links with the organisation and its work to support people living in remote areas.
St Philip’s College grew out of the combined efforts of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches to provide boarding facilities for school children of families living in remote areas across Central Australia. It later became an independent boarding and day school, as it is today.
Meanwhile, since 2004, groups of students from Green Point Christian College have travelled to outback Queensland to provide hands-on help to families and station owners under the direction of Frontier Services Patrol Minister John Case.
It is hoped the event in Alice Springs will provide an opportunity for the students to learn more about each other and to build connections between the two schools.
“We are very excited to have the students come together, from the city to the outback, to share in the Centenary celebrations,” Ms Young said.
“No doubt, there will be long-lasting friendships formed as the students reflect on Flynn’s vision for a mantle of safety and what that means for the next 100 years.”
Green Point teacher Tom Anderson said: “It’s our hope and prayer that our students will get a glimpse into the richness of Australia’s Christian heritage through participating in this historic event. The interaction with students from an outback school will help to foster and deepen our understanding of those living in remote parts of our country.