Robyn and I are on a seven week caravan tour of Central and Far North Queensland. We are intentionally visiting ‘small’ Uniting and Anglican churches because of our wonderful experience at Dayboro. We have not been disappointed. They usually demonstrate:
- great commitment by the whole congregation
- closeness to their communities
- a desire to maintain the pioneering spirit of their founders
- people who are living out the challenging life of the outback or small towns
- wonderfully friendly and great conversationalists
- morning teas to die for!
Today was no exception as we dropped into the service at St Mark’s Yungaburra, the smallest church on the Atherton Tableland, built in 1912 and determined to be here in another 100 years.
The conversations resonated with our own experiences, but they had more to tell us than we expected. The church in the Far North was founded in the boom years of gold, copper and tin in the late 19th Century and that boom had busted by 1910. Their survival can be attributed to a level of determination we long for today. In the case of St Mark’s the Bush Brotherhood were the drivers of the Jesus train through the Outback and this little church was one of their biggest supporters.
Best of all, for us, was the standard of preaching that raised important and critical questions about our following of the Jesus paradigm. We will have recorded seven of these experiences by the time we finish this tour. Go small churches…!
Paul Inglis, 6th August 2017.