The Wide Open Sky of Uniting City and Country
Commitment, action and a vision were demonstrated by Gordon Uniting Church’s Uniting City and Country project at the screening of Wide Open Sky, a documentary about the Moorambilla Voices – an outback Choir, at Knox Grammar school recently.
The documentary’s Director, Lisa Nicol, explained that she felt compelled to share the story, the courage and the inspiration of the primary aged children in the outback who are given the opportunity to learn music and participate in such a wonderful musical experience. Kyh Samuelsson, a Year 7 Knox boarder, who shares his story in the Documentary, was also a guest on the evening. He addressed the audience about his experiences in his home town of Lightning Ridge, selection in the choir, and keeping his dream alive of gaining a scholarship to Knox.
Kyh Samuelsson, a Year 7 Knox boarder, and Director of Wide Open Sky Lisa Nicol.
The screening at Knox was an opportunity for a broader audience to link the experience of the children who lived in outback communities and learn about the Uniting City and Country program which has been formed under the auspices of the Gordon Uniting Congregation and has a Steering Committee with members from local congregations and schools. This new project aims to build on the fruitful partnerships between Gordon and Pymble congregations, Pymble Ladies’ College and Knox and remote schools in the far-west that have been operating over the last five years. A country style supper, provided by Gordon Uniting, was a delightful end to an evening of fellowship, networking and sharing of many stories of the bush and how Uniting Churches and schools can reach out and develop meaningful partnerships and transform lives!
Julie Greig, who was a rural chaplain for 5 years, and is now the face of the Uniting City and Country Project addressed the group about this Project, highlighting the needs of children in remote schools, particularly in the far north-west. Julie is working at developing and resourcing new three-way partnerships between city congregations, Uniting Church schools and remote communities. Knox Grammar School and Pymble Ladies’ College have been part of this partnership working with the small community at Enngonia, 120kms north of Bourke. Uniting City and Country is fortunate to have Julie working with us as our chief volunteer. Julie provides much credibility to our service and plays a valuable liaison between city and country schools and congregations. In recent years you would have seen Julie chatting with farmers as they grapple with seasonal problems of the land or she was organising Scripture Classes, supporting the Waste Not Want Not project that ensures food does not go to waste in Leeton and Griffith, or working with people on suicide prevention. Now we are delighted that she is the face of the Uniting City and Country program.
We’ve learned that powerful things happen when we get young people together. Remote students gain a bigger vision of life; city students have their outlooks challenged; and congregations become excited by contributing to a dynamic relationship.
(Main Picture) Kyh Samuelsson, a Year 7 Knox boarder, who shares his story in the documentary with members of Pymble Uniting Church.