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Queensland Synod moderator, Rev David Baker. Photo: Ben Rogers
Queensland Synod Moderator, Rev David Baker. Photo: Ben Rogers

Moderator’s Musing – 20 September

Just did a run through Mary Burnett, Central Queensland and the Central West last week with Rev Peter Armstrong, UnitingCare Queensland’s Associate Director of Mission, Community Engagement.

In the midst of drought that we have all been reminded about—thanks to the media paying attention to what’s happening in New South Wales—I want to add some nuancing to what we’re hearing in the mass media.

The communities of the central west I visited are resilient, supportive, and creative communities that are finding their way through this very challenging time. Check out some of the creativity that exists in these communities:

Our ministers and church members are deeply involved in the life of the wider communities in which they live. They give leadership in many areas of their community.

It is good to be reminded that primary production in Australia feeds over 70 million people around the world every year. The goods produced are of exceptionally high quality and produced in ethically and environmentally responsible ways. This is an industry that is the envy of the world and an industry of which we all should be proud.

The drought that has affected the Central West has been going on for about seven years. Stocking rates in the Central West are at about 20 per cent of normal. Many graziers are being faced with a difficult decision: “Is it time to sell the breeding stock?”. That’s like forcing yourself to take a redundancy. The difficulty is the question of holding on longer, perhaps going into more debt, or using capital, in the hope the drought breaks this summer. When the drought breaks, restocking will be a very expensive option; the breaking of the drought is more like hitting the bottom. There’s still a climb to get up again.

The Synod Disaster Response Committee has been engaging with communities and offering support from the funds that are already being held. Options for support you might like to think about are visiting western Queensland for a weekend, there’s lots to see and do out there; an offer of a congregational visit that helps with worship one weekend might be welcomed, too. Please make contact with a relevant presbytery or congregational minister if you’re considering what expression of support you’d like to make.

Our underlying commitment, is to hold one another up in prayer; that rain may fall; that families and communities may be sustained in faith, hope, and love.  

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