Themes / News from Long Gully

News from Manna Gum

June 2014

Manna Matters May 2014


After a scorching summer in Bendigo, with 13 days over 40o C in three weeks, we have moved rapidly into autumn, with morning chills, the leaves turning to gold and rust, and the hint of wattle in the air.

Since leaving Melbourne in January, we have settled quite quickly into the Bendigo suburb of Long Gully. Our girls, Amy and Mhairi, have settled into their new school and made new friends more easily than we could have hoped for; Kim is still working three days a week in land restoration; and Jonathan is slowly getting a feel for what the new location means for Manna Gum’s ministry. This was somewhat hampered by a frustrating back injury early in the year, however, things are in full swing now.

We are currently renting a house while figuring out how to build on a block of land we bought here last year. It has been a slow process trying to achieve the most environmentally sustainable home we can at a price (ie. mortgage) that will not alter how we feel called to live. It has been eye-opening to see how little acquainted the building industry is with the principles of sustainable design and building.

This Manna Matters is a bit of a special edition with a significantly longer than usual article beginning a two-part series on the city. We will return to the more usual length next edition.

Manna Gum work in the first quarter was largely focussed on the launching of a Household Covenant network via a Lenten study series delivered over the internet. About 50 households signed up to take part and there has been some good feedback now that it has completed. People have generally appreciated the content, however there are limitations to an internet-based medium. Next year we will continue to refine and adapt the idea and process to make it more useful. So watch this space!

Another exciting and significant undertaking has been working with the folk from AHED (Arnhem Human Enterprises Development) to hold a day confrence in Melbourne: Future Dreaming: Purpose, Power & Passion in Remote Indigenous Communities. This is just about to happen (24th May) as we go to press and we are hoping that this will add a new, ultimately more hopeful, note to public discussion on what is happening in indigenous communities, as well as raise the profile of the great work being done in Arnhem Land by AHED. If you couldn’t make the day, then I highly recommend that you buy the much acclaimed book by Richard Trudgen, Why Warriors Lay Down and Die, which provides the foundation of AHED’s work. If you only ever read one book on what has happened, and is happening in indigenous communities (and you should read at least one), then read this one. Purchase from or through your bookstore.