“Something has to be done about that delivery.”
This was the cry of frustration that opened a local Meals on Wheels meeting. The cry was echoed passionately.
Initial solutions included ensuring that only those with a four-wheel drive should make this delivery.
I was at the meeting as one of the newest Meals on Wheels volunteers. I was so new that I did not yet have a route.
In our Meals on Wheels group there is a dearth of four-wheel-drives, so my Meals on Wheels partner and I were allocated the difficult delivery in question.
My first delivery was very challenging. The road access was narrow, rough, awkward and definitely unsuited to conventional vehicles.
The couple appeared to be living in severe hardship and in dilapidated housing. We started chatting about the usual things that are discussed when people meet for the first time and engage in simple, polite small talk.
On our delivery second run, we spoke some more.
“What do you most need?” I asked tentatively.
“A car!” was the reply.
We all laughed together at the impossibility of this.
However, out of that question came some simple, but significant achievable help.
On our third visit, we offered some practical help and some hope. The couple even asked me, “What church are you with?”
Another group I have joined since arriving in the Brisbane Valley is the Bush Bashers. This band of musicians has been providing entertainment to visiting groups fortnightly for 35 years. They originally emerged from the Esk Uniting Church, and have evolved into an ecumenical group using our hall for performances. Whilst initially visiting out of curiosity, I have slid into the role of “audience encouragement” and look forward to spending time with the Bush Bashers each fortnight.
In true community style the Bush Bashers’ immediate response upon learning of the couple’s situation was, “How can we help?” I had not realised that the Bush Bashers’ ministry extended beyond music and into both pragmatic and pastoral care. I realised the value of becoming a link between Meals on Wheels and the Bush Bashers.
This is the kind of community engagement that I had been dreaming of. The Bush Bashers provided practical help. Brisbane Valley Anglicans contributed what they could, including hands-on help.
We adjusted our original plan when the Uniting Church offered accommodation assistance for the couple.
The collaboration was complete when a collective of Bush Bashers, Brisbane Valley Anglicans and friends were able to assist in the move to this accommodation.
Things have not gone miraculously smoothly for the couple. However, being in town and having a broadened support network of Meals on Wheels, Bush Bashers, our parish and the Uniting Church have offered hope. A helping hand is now closer when previously they experienced frustration, confusion and hopelessness by being isolated.
Engaging in conversation, building relationships and working in partnership with like-minded groups remain a cornerstone of faithful discipleship.
The Bush Ministry Fund’s ministry in Brisbane Valley is hope filled and flourishing. Thank you to our Diocesan community for making it all possible.
Editor’s note: The Bush Ministry Fund money boxes are a fun and easy way for individuals, families, parishes and schools to donate to bush ministry in our Diocese. Order your BMF money box today by emailing Helen Briffa in the Western Region office via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07 4639 1875.