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News from Manna Gum

When we first started Manna Matters our approach was to try to provide a collection of short, easily readable pieces. However, over time we have increasingly felt the need to address issues in the Bible and in life, and especially the interaction of the two, with more nuance and complexity, and this inevitably has meant articles have grown in length (you may have noticed). The first article in this edition (Ethical Consumption) is the longest yet. It is always a struggle trying to balance our need to explore complexity but also keep articles readable. What do you think? Are the articles in this edition too long, or do you like having some more substantive pieces in the mix? We would appreciate your feedback.

 In this edition we have also introduced a new theme, ‘Everyday People’. The idea is to document how ordinary people have tried to make decisions to re-imagine ways of living that are ‘care-full’ of people and the earth. It reflects our conviction that one of the greatest resources to help us learn that alternative choices are not only conceivable but achievable, is each other.

Our major news is that Manna Gum’s base of operations will be shifting to Bendigo next year. We (the Cornford family) have decided to move to the suburb of Long Gully to join in the good work at St Matthew’s church begun by the Seeds Bendigo community. We have been discerning this move for some years now, and feel that the time has now come. Although this will be a big change for our family, not much will change on the Manna Gum front. We will continue to do the same sort of things, including doing things periodically in Melbourne and elsewhere.

We will perhaps write some more about our decision to move at a later date, but for now we just wanted to stress that we are not moving to the country! Bendigo is a regional city with a population over 100,000 and a social geography that is typical of suburban Australia. Not that we have anything against moving to the country (we considered it ourselves), however, we have come to realise that at the heart of Manna Gum’s ministry is the need to explore Christian alternatives in urban/suburban Australia, because that is where 90% of the population lives.

In other news, the main activity of the past few months, other than writing, has been running Household Covenant Bible study series, at the All Saints Anglican Church in Greensborough in Term 2, and currently at Ringwood Church of Christ. The serious engagement of these groups continues to confirm our sense that there is a growing hunger for a much closer integration of faith and the rest of life.

 

The logo of St Matthew’s Church in Long Gully. This logo is derived, with kind permission, from a painting by local Aboriginal elder, Robyn Davis. She writes: ‘People are drawn to the Long Gully, some are different and disconnected. They come from near and distant places, some from over the waters. The Bendigo creek meanders almost unseen and silent through and under the gully. The gully is a place of meeting and connection, the people re-connect. Gully life is community. Community born of the coming together from all parts of the world.’

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