Pastor Beth Wolfe: Doing the work the Lord called me to do
In 2019 Nathan Tyson, Community Engagement and Partnership Specialist for Uniting was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Pastor Beth Wolfe (pictured above second from the right) in Condobolin, who is engaged in ministry and missional activities as part of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
Passing through Peak Hill, Parkes and a number of smaller towns the impact of the drought was evident as Nathan made his way to Condobolin to meet with Pastor Beth Wolfe.
“I’ve been here since I was 18, and I consider it to be my home,’ notes Beth over a coffee and chat at a local café.
Previously Beth’s husband had been the Pastor, and together they had been actively engaged in ministry for 34 years. When Beth’s Husband passed away about 10 years ago, the congregation encouraged her to continue her ministry. Beth has continued her ministry and pastoral care with the UAICC Congregation in Condobolin and says she has a great fellowship that supports her in Condobolin.
When asked what she enjoys most about her work, Beth replied: “Doing the work the Lord called me to do, and doing outreach. The strong support of the congregation keeps me going.”
There are usually about 50-60 members in the Condobolin UAICC congregation, depending on who is in town and who has had to travel to other towns for family events, with ages ranging from babies to community members in their 70’s.
A busy community
The Condobolin UAICC Church has worship services every Sunday at 10.30am, and then an evening service at 6pm (daylight savings time).
Talking to Beth, it is obvious that it is a very busy ministry. Prayer meetings are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11.30am. On Tuesday afternoon there is a meeting of the “Little Youth” (aged 8-12), and on Friday evening the “Big Youth” (13-17) meet for Bible Study and Fellowship, play games, and sometimes have a game of touch footy or similar activity after the meeting. Thursday night is band and singing practice and all are welcome.
There is also a “Home Group” where they will meet at the house, have a short service, hear testimonies, sing songs and share a meal.
Sometimes Pastor Beth and members of her congregation go to Murrin Bridge, to worship with Pastor Mark Hall and his wife Sue, who conduct a Sunday evening service. Pastor Mark also comes to Condobolin each Wednesday and runs a Bible study for the community.
Over the years Beth has conducted outreach to many towns, including Murrin Bridge, Parkes, Bathurst, Orange, Shepparton, Mildura, Toomelah, Gilgandra, and more.
Beth says: ”We’ve been all over! We’ll go wherever we are invited to go! Not only to Aboriginal Churches, but to non-Aboriginal Churches too!”.
Pastors and Ministers from other areas also regularly drop in to the UAICC Church for fellowship and to participate in Church activities and events.
Fellowship is an important relationship builder with many other Churches and Congregations. Beth speaks very highly of the support provided to her and her Congregation and by the Korean Presbytery who partner with Condoblin. Recently an air conditioner was given to the Church – which was gratefully accepted as it can get very hot in summer in Condobolin.
Providing a safe space for the community
Pastor Bill Shelby (from Parkes) is also a great supporter, and often helps her Congregation and the wider community with furniture and other goods that are much needed.
Recent visits by Albert Olley, COO of operations and Kevin Barrington from Macquarie Darling Presbytery have assisted with the commencement of much needed repair works on the Church. With repairs commenced and more to be carried out, the whole community has benefitted from the support of the Presbytery and Synod and 2020 will see very positive things happening for the UAICC Church and Congregation.
Beth says “I thank the Lord that we have the Church and that we can provide a safe space for the community”.
Beth also spoke highly of the support she receives from Lottie Bamblett and other Congregation members. Beth mentioned that Lottie looks after the Church and its activities when Beth has to travel for outreach and other business, and expressed her deep gratitude to all those who support her in her ministry. Beth also receives support from Pastor Tom Sloane and his wife Stella — at Wellington UAICC– and Pastor Jack Harradine from Broken Hill UAICC Church.
Beth has no set plans for 2020 just yet, saying: “I just take it as it comes”. But rest assured, one thing is certain, Beth will be busy with the myriad activities in the Condoblin community.
How can you help the Condobolin UAICC Community?
“Prayers for salvation for community members,” notes Beth.
“Some support with finance would be greatly appreciated with many of the congregation pensioners, or young people at school, we don’t receive a lot through offering but the Church manages to just keep going, but it can be a struggle at times”.
Anyone who might be able to help Pastor Beth and her Congregation can call Beth on 0413 178 957.
Nathan Tyson, Community Engagement and Partnership Specialist, Uniting