Funeral eulogies often give insight into the life and character of the person who has died and there are potential gifts for all who are willing to listen. This was certainly true at the recent funeral of Fr Ross Cameron held at St Andrew’s, Toogoolawah, in the Parish of Brisbane Valley, on Tuesday 20 July. The eulogy was prepared and read by Jocelyn Cameron, his wife of 50 years.
Jocelyn explained that Ross grew up in rural Queensland and imbibed there “the values which have made Australia great: love and loyalty to family, respect for all, hard work, self-sacrifice, thrift, with respect for education and religion.”
He went to Boarding School at Southport and won a scholarship to study at the University of Queensland. With a Bachelor of Agricultural Science he went to Central Queensland and worked with the Department of Primary Industries at Biloela and Theodore and while there had a strong sense that God was calling him out of agriculture and into ordained ministry.
Apparently, “Ross did not particularly want to leave the agricultural work which he loved…but he accepted the challenge…something Ross had always done when he believed that God wanted him to do something.”
God called Ross from a well-paid role in agriculture to a poorly paid role in the Church…and he accepted the challenge. In comparison ordained ministers are paid well these days, but there is still something deeply vocational about our role. It demands much of us and will take us to places that are physically, psychologically, and emotionally challenging.
Jocelyn affirmed that Ross “accepted the challenge” given to him by God…and I found myself wondering how many others God would call to take on similar challenge in our time and how we recognise this?
Ross studied, was ordained, got married and had two children. He did not serve in many parishes but gifted the parishes he served in with years: eight years in Longreach, seven years in Clayfield, 12 years in Oakey, and, if you include retirement, 19 years in Brisbane Valley.
I likened Ross and Jocelyn to Gidyea trees (Acacia cambagei) who endured through difficult seasons while providing others with shade! I hope God will call others, who love God and rural life, to come and serve for similarly long seasons in Western Region parishes.
In her conclusion, Jocelyn affirmed that “Ross answered Jesus’ call and found power to live the life God planned for him as a priest, believing others could do the same in their lives and vocations. He spent his life willingly, joyfully and wholeheartedly sharing that Good News with as many people as he could.” Ross leaves, I think, a rich legacy.
The Western Region has opportunities for clergy to serve in Charleville/Cunnamulla (BMF supported), Leichhardt/Chinchilla (BMF supported), Quilpie/Diamantina (BMF supported), St George, Kingaroy, Highfields and Pittsworth. If you have a sense that God may be calling you to serve in any of these communities please get in touch so we can discuss that and pray together.
Please pray for all rural and remote communities in our Western Region, particularly those who are supported in some way by the BMF. If you, like me, are already supporting the BMF, please keep giving…in the knowledge that this is used by God to bless the lives of others. But, if you are not yet supporting and would like to find out more, please call Helen Briffa at the Western Region Office on (07) 4639 1875 or email her via firstname.lastname@example.org