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News from Long Gully

Manna Gum's big news is that for the first time ever, we have more than one employee! I mentioned in the previous edition that the there had been a generous response to the annual appeal and we found ourselves in the strange position of having a surplus. Since that time, we also received, completely unlooked for, a further $9,000 through the government's pandemic splash. It was very strange to to experience such abundance while reading every day about so many businesses going to the wall. 

However, the timing proved providential. As the demands of my thesis work escalate in the coming 18 months, it was looking like some editions of Manna Matters would have to be missed. But now we have been able to employ a Manna Matters editor 1 day a week, until late next year, which will not only allow Manna Gum's flagship communication to continue and my thesis work to increase, it will bring some fresh ideas and energy into Manna Gum's stale and conservative culture!

The first choice for the job was Matt Anslow, and we were thrilled he agreed to it. 

   
The view from Milk and Honey Farm.

Matt and his wife, Ashlee, embody much of the ideas and ethos that Manna Gum promotes. Together with their three young children, they live at Milk and Honey Farm, on the edge of the Blue Mountains and the Central West in NSW. For the past two years they've been building a sustainable family farm and retreat place there.

Matt earned his PhD in theology (New Testament) in 2017, and currently works at Morling College in Sydney where he co-directs Plunge, a one-year discipleship program for people aged 18–23. Matt has worked in pastoral ministry, the aid and development sector (with TEAR Australia), church-based community development, community gardening, and refugee advocacy/activism. Matt was a co-founder of Love Makes a Way, and he also serves as the Vice-President of the Anabaptist Association of Australia & New Zealand. So you can see, he was quite a catch.

Matt coming on board has proved doubly providential as no longer had he started than I found myself plunged into a family crisis, so he has been able to keep things ticking over where I couldn't have. This has been a very difficult time for our family (not COVID related), but we have had a very deep sense of being held by the community of faith: both our local Seeds Community here in Long Gully and the broader Manna Gum commmunity. It is just one more reminder that 'the economy of God' is not pie-in-the-sky but an urgent and practical reality.

Jonathan Cornford

Matt, Ashlee, and the family.

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