In the September-October term holidays, I was privileged to undertake an indigenous immersion experience in Central Australia with twenty-six senior secondary students. This immersion program was instigated and coordinated by a dedicated staff member at St Peters and used an outside provider Red Earth that specialises in these school trips for logistical support and staff. For nine nights we slept in swags under a spectacularly shining Centralian sky. Our group spent time in two homelands with traditional owners (TOs) who shared their knowledge, culture, language, food and land. Our students appreciated the generous hospitality of the TOs, the time they spent teaching something of their culture, their warm-heartedness and their openness to respond to questions.
Since coming back to the rush of school, some of the students have reflected on their immersion experience in chapels, assembly and with their parents at a debrief evening and presentation. An immersion experience like this is one of the most powerful formation experiences we can give students or staff. Immersing ourselves in the culture, people, land and struggles of other peoples can make this sort of learning deep, lifelong and transformational. The trip including an encounter with the police and a visit to a police station in the APY lands gave students a small taste of the complexities facing indigenous people in this part of our country.
A highlight for me was catching up with a friend from seminary days in Adelaide who has spent all of his ministry in Central Australia or the Top End, Basil Schild. Basil is currently a chaplain at Yirara College and kindly on short notice spoke to our immersion students while we had a slither of time in our itinerary in Alice Springs. From Basil students heard a positive story of the Lutheran mission to Aboriginal people in Central Australia. Like the master storyteller he is, Basil engagingly told the history of the Hermmansburg missionaries Kempe, Schwartz and Schultz, how they arrived at Ntaria. And how Carl Strehlow recorded the language and customs of the Arrernte people like no one else at the time or ever since has.
About this site
"Meditations & Musings" is my humble attempt to share what I have found useful in ministry in an Australian Lutheran School setting. It contains chapels, devotions and other resources I have written, used and adapted in my K-12 school context. If you would like to also share your ideas, resources or start a conversation about mission and ministry in your church- school location, feel free to contact me.
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