Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2000 km round trip

Currently we are collecting stories of Uniting College students. They are quite inspiring – each so different, each so joyous in the education and formation they participated in. Here for instance is Jo Smalbill. Not having studied for 35 years, Jo is now Frontier Services Patrol minister for Cobar/Nyngan NSW. Last week Jo travelled 2,000 km to attend Graduation and be awarded her Bachelor of Ministry. 2000 km. I kid you not! I love the fact that we could train her remote, through use of distance education and intensives, and in turn, she has grown into a ministry that is rural and remote. (Why on earth we would design education systems in Colleges that would expect a rural person with a passion for rural ministry to move to an urban setting to study and practise ministry in an urban context is beyond me).

I really appreciated the fact that the college tailored my course to allow for the flexibility in study, enabling me to return home to my husband and receive the Field Education required for rural ministry. The Macquarie Darling Presbytery of NSW was also thrilled at the level of co-operation from the college.

And her conclusion –

While studying at theological college, I was constantly reminded that we all have gifts and abilities that are unique to us and it is our responsibility to use them. God will use all of our combined gifts and abilities to build strong leaders for our communities so that the Uniting Church has a future and continues to fulfil his plan.

Jo’s full story is here, with more stories of other students here. For pictures of Jo’s ordination see here and for an Advent inspired poem about rural donkeys, see here.

Posted by steve at 09:33 PM


  1. Thank you Steve, your help and support has been fantastic. May God continue to bless you, Jo

    Comment by Jo Smalbil — May 21, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

  2. It was such a privilege to observe the wonderful interaction between Jo and the college. The support and flexability were so encouraging.and proves just what can be done to accommodate various complexities. Well done all.

    Comment by Will Pearson — May 22, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  3. Great feedback thanks Jo and Will. Much appreciated


    Comment by Steve — May 25, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

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