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Rev David Ellis (McKay Patrol and Cloncurry Uniting Church), Pastor Cain Hartigan (Cunnamulla, Burke and Wills Patrol), Pastor Chris Guise (Kennedy Patrol), and Jannine Jackson (National Director of Frontier Services) at Cain’s commissioning in Toowoomba. Photo: Supplied

The open road is calling

Pastor Cain Hartigan describes his first few weeks as the new bush chaplain for the Cunnamulla, Burke and Wills Patrol, run by The Downs Presbytery in partnership with Frontier Services. The patrol covers 450 000 square kilometres in southwest Queensland, with the eastern boundary from Mt Tabor to Bollon, extending west to Bedourie and south to Cameron Corner.

The boxes are unpacked, car refuelled, and now we call Charleville home.

The spiritual and emotional commissioning service reinforced my call and commitment to becoming a bush chaplain (padre) for the Cunnamulla, Burke and Wills Patrol.

Thank you, Downs Presbytery and Frontier Services, for your support, and to North Queensland Presbytery members for attending—it was touching having you there.

I feel privileged to be stepping into the shoes of some wonderful bush chaplains and join a dedicated team with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

During these first two weeks I have met and been welcomed with open arms by some inspiring people in organisations who are making a difference in the lives of people in central west Queensland. Our lovely mayor Annie, the dedicated girls from Remote Area Families Service (RAFS) and the wonderful Lifeline crew to name a few.

We (my wife Jackie and I) have visited the communities of Augathella, where we joined in with the town’s Easter festivities making connections at the rodeo, picnic and races.

In Adavale we had a chat over the veranda with some locals, then on their advice took the Red Road to Quilpie where we introduced ourselves to some local businesses and had a yarn about our role.

This week it is a return trip to Cunnamulla to meet up with Uniting Church members to get advice on what the community requires, in the hope that I’ll be able to offer a worship service on a regular basis.

To end the week, I will be attending the Western Muster hosted by Pastor Mark Hampel where I will get to meet and network with other faith leaders in the area, finding ways to explore and facilitate ecumenical groups for mission.

God’s blessings to all.

Pastor Cain Hartigan

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