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News from Manna Gum

January 2016

Manna Matters Advent 2015

Lee and Beth making soft cheese on the Home Economy Weekend.

Advent is upon us and the year is galloping home to a conclusion. On the surface level, it seems as if not that much has happened since the last newsletter. This year we had a hiatus from running the A Different Way Week as we reconfigure into our new home base in Bendigo. All things going well, it should be back on deck by next year.

In October, Kim ran the Arts of Home Economy Weekend here in Bendigo with Janet Ray and Meg Holmes providing much of the input from their always-surprising storehouse of knowledge and experience. Everyone had a wonderful time being practical, creative and enjoying each other's company. This year, the group was all women, which had its own lovely dynamic, but the weekend is just as relevant for men too! See below for pictures and reflections.

In late November, Jonathan had the privilege of attending the Association of Practical Theology's conference in Canberra on the subject of 'Politics in a Post-Secular Age'. This was a fruitful time of being able to imbibe some input without presenting, while making some new connections in largely Catholic circles.

Beneath the surface of this seemingly uneventful period there has been a hive of activity preparing for some significant developments in Manna Gum's work next year - but we'll say more about that in the New Year letter ...

The Arts of Home Economy Weekend 2015

Meg (third from left) showing Veronique, Elise, and Gemma self-wicking gardens.

'It was really lovely to be practical, when I feel like a lot of my life recently has been very theoretical. I have been thinking about and wanting to make my life more interactive and sustainable and have tried to implement a few things, but the weekend gave me confidence to act.' Veronique

'On a personal, level I found it grounded me and reminded me of the joy of simplicity.' Lee

'Making things from scratch is so much easier than I thought, much cheaper than I thought and SO satisfying, but it takes a great deal of preparation and forethought.' Beth

Naomi and Gemma bottling tomatoes.

'One thing that struck me was how much the weekend came together from a place of sharing and collaborating. … Also, I think what made the workshops a real joy to be a part of was the way these were shaped from personal experiences, your own knowledge and practice of what worked/didn't. I was really impressed, too, at the range and scope of arts we could delve into! So awesome to learn about beekeeping, sourdough baking and wicking beds in such a short time-frame.' Gemma