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In the Action

By Peter Greenwood

“We need resources!” said Keith Stevens, the day after being commissioned by the Ananguku Area Ministry Council as the Community Minister at Nyapari – a remote community in the far north-west of South Australia in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands. 

Keith, who is also the local chairperson, describes Nyapari not so much as a community but as a family, "Family Pukulpa" - one big happy family, and as that family brought him forward to Graham Kulyuru, for the commissioning, he felt “deeply moved – both solemn and joyful.” Many sensed that the Holy Spirit was present amongst his people, building on the past story, yet beginning something new.

So when Keith asked for resources, Graham (Ernabella Community Minister), Paul Eckert (who is supported by CSIS in developing Scripture-in-Use programs with the Pitjantjatjara Shorter Bible and ongoing Old Testament translation) and Peter Greenwood (AAMC Support Worker) knew immediately, that this was a call from God to respond with action.

Already this year, some work had been done in preparing Pitjantjatjara liturgies for an induction and now this commissioning service, with care to incorporate local symbols for aspects of the ministry. But Keith’s request was particularly direct. “I need help for Holy Communion, for baptism, and for funerals”. We determined to begin by preparing a Sunday service (Sunday Inma Kanyintjaku Mayatjaku Tjapa Kulu), including Holy Communion, using Uniting in Worship 2, as a primary source. This led naturally to also preparing a lectionary for preaching. Both these resources have been appreciated and are currently being ‘road-tested’.

The older leaders remember and respect this approach to worship. Nevertheless over the last 25 years, a more informal ‘platform style’ has tended to shape the congregation’s expression of worship. It is hoped that the resources of CSIS for ‘liturgical renewal’, along with fresh Bible Study approaches that focus on indigenous story telling methods, will both challenge and enrich the saints inthe Centre, in the celebration of the spiritual disciplines.