Manna Gum is an independent non-profit organisation which seeks to:

  • Help Christians reclaim and practise Biblical teaching on material life; and
  • Promote understanding of the ways our economic lives impact upon ourselves, others and the earth.

Our vision

Manna Gum is motivated by a renewal of the church in Australia as a distinctive community that witnesses to the Kingdom of God.

What does Manna Gum do?

Manna Gum’s core work is essentially communicating, in various ways, about the implications of the gospel for the way that we live. Below is a summary of some of Manna Gum’s main work.

Manna Matters Quarterly

This is Manna Gum’s flagship communication vehicle. It includes articles on economics in the bible, understanding our times, practical household economics, and stories of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things (and much more besides). And it's free! Sign up here to receive Manna Matters by email or hard copy (or both).


A podcast providing in depth explorations of topics under the broad themes of faith, economy and ecology.

Learning events

From time to time Manna Gum puts on various learning events, from webinars to week-long intensives. Check here to find out what’s on, or contact us.

Speaking and teaching

We are keen to build connections with individual churches and groups, so please contact us if you would like us to come and speak to your church, group or organisation. We do not charge any fees for speaking, however, if there are costs involved (travel or materials), we may ask for costs to be covered.

Why 'Manna Gum'?

The Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) is one of the iconic eucalypts that thrives throughout much of southern Australia. It is perfectly adapted to live within this land – something which we still need to learn (both physically and spiritually). The Wurun Djeri people, the main tribal group from the Melbourne region, take their name from the word wurun meaning Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which is common along the Yarra River (Birrarung), and djeri, a grub found in the tree. Manna Gum leaves play a central part in the 'Welcome to country' ceremony of the Wurun Djeri people. The leaves of the Manna Gum are also a favourite food of koalas.

The Manna Gum was so named by Europeans after the manna the ancient Hebrews collected in the wilderness (Exodus 16), because it produces a sweet, white edible gum. The Biblical story of manna provides one of the foundational lessons in God’s economics: collect what you need; none shall have too little; none shall have too much; don’t store it up; there is enough for all!

Who is Manna Gum?

Manna Gum began in 2009 and is the initiative of Jonathan & Kim Cornford. It was the culmination of the previous ten years of their life working and campaigning on development issues in Laos and Cambodia, working with the homeless and drug dependent in Melbourne, leading Bible studies, exploring Christian expressions of responsible living in the inner city, and participating in ecological restoration work. Kim and Jonathan now live in Bendigo, Victoria, with their two girls, Amy and Mhairi. They are members of the Seeds Community, a small missional community in the disadvantaged suburb of Long Gully.

Jonathan Cornford

Jonathan is ‘the employee’. He has Ph.Ds in Political Economy and Theology, and an Honours Degree in Australian History. Jonathan has a background in international development, working for a decade as an advocacy coordinator for Oxfam Australia, focussing on natural resource management and international financial institutions in the Mekong region. Jonathan and Kim also lived and worked for three years as misison coordinators for Urban Seed in the heart of Melbourne. Jonathan is paid a stipend (nominally 3 days) for his work for Manna Gum.

Jacob Garrett

Jacob is ‘the other employee’. He joined Manna Gum in 2021 as the editor of Manna Matters. Since then, he has also leapt aboard Manna Gum’s podcast (Manna Cast) and turned his hand to some church speaking as well as developing Manna Gum Bible resources for young people. Jacob has an honours degree in philosophy and ancient history and is currently finishing up a master’s degree in theology and ministry. He and his wife Andi live in Melbourne, Victoria. Currently Jacob does 1 day/wk for Manna Gum.

Reference Group

Kim Cornford

As well as a co-founder, Kim is Manna Gum’s chief volunteer. Her paid work is in landscape restoration and biodiversity protection. Kim has an Honours Degree in Economics and Diplomas in Sustainability and Conservation and Land Management.

Peter Chapman

Peter Chapman is the founder of Common Life, an independent ecumenical ministry dedicated to serving people in need, sowing seeds of spiritual renewal, and contributing to the development of authentic Christian alternatives in Australian society. He is also the founder of the Common Rule, a network of Christians in Victoria seeking to live by a basic set of spiritual disciplines.

Greg Hewson

Greg is married to Elvira and together with their two kids live in South West Victoria where they enjoy community, the nearby beach and growing their own food. Greg has worked for Tearfund for over years and currently serves as Director of Supporter Engagement.

Anthea Taylor

Anthea lives with her husband Colin in Long Gully, Bendigo and is actively involved with the Seeds community. She fills up her time with involvement in the local community, spending time with her three grandchildren and developing friendship with her local neighbours.

Claire Harvey

Claire is mum to Sarah and Micah, member of The Village Church (Mount Eliza), and councillor at Frankston City Council. She also serves on the Ethos board and is the Uniting Church Vic/Tas member rep on the CoPower board. Claire works as a vocational coach, and is passionate about better integrating economics, ecology, politics and spirituality.

Lauren Ash

Lauren is an environmental and natural resources lawyer in Melbourne.

The economics of Manna Gum

Manna Gum seeks to live within the economy of God - frugally, ethically and through the generous sharing of abundance within the community of faith (2 Corinthians 8 & 9).

Are we crazy?! Quite possibly, yes. But we are also sustained by the conviction that the great secret of God's economy is the presence of abundance where the world only sees scarcity. This is the meaning of the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16), the feeding of the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44), and the Jerusalem community of the early church (Acts 4:32-37). In all these instances, the revelation of abundance takes place within the context of the community of faith.

In order to fully pursue its core purposes and to ensure its independence, Manna Gum draws its entire income from individual financial supporters who believe in this ministry and who consider themselves participants in its purposes. From time to time and where appropriate, Manna Gum will also seek funding for particular projects, such as research and publications, or teaching and training. (Donate to Manna Gum)

The following principles govern Manna Gum's finances:


Give supporters clear information (annually) about the income of the organisation, how it was spent, and what income was derived from it.

A living wage

The income we derive from Christian ministry should not be based upon market rates but on what is 'enough' - enough to support a modest and frugal living for an Australian family. Currently this has been set at $36k per year for Jonathan. Jacob is paid pro rata at the same rate.

No speaking fees

We take seriously Jesus' command to his disciples: 'You received without payment; give without payment' (Matt 10:8) - the gospel is for free! Moreover, we are determined to resist the drive to commodify relationships through the mediation of market-based transactions.

No public recognition of donors

We are greatly blessed and humbled by all those who contribute support to this ministry. Such giving is an important part of God's economy, and so we take seriously Jesus' strict instructions that giving be done without acclamation (Matt 6:1-4).

Annual report

This report provides a brief description of Manna Gum's work for the previous calendar year, including a financial report which shows our income and income sources, and expenditures.

Report for 2023