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Going the distance with BCA for over 40 years

Turning 100 is a big deal in anyone’s book (except perhaps for the Biblical patriarchs) but there was true cause to celebrate on Sunday May 26 when Bush Church Aid (BCA) commemorated its centenary.

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Christian Fellowship Tours has had the great privilege of running BCA Outback Tours for more than 40 years, since they were first envisaged in 1977 by CFT Founding Director John Cronshaw.

For this very special anniversary, CFT organised two tours – one in Sydney where BCA began, and one in Outback NSW to meet the very people that work so hard to spread God’s Word in remote and regional areas.

The May 26 service in Sydney at St Andrew’s Cathedral was given by Neville Naden, BCA’s Indigenous Ministry Officer. His address encompassed both the BCA centenary and National Sorry Day: “There were two significant events in Australian history on this date,” said Naden.

“One hundred years ago today, next door in Chapter House, a group of Christians gathered to establish the Bush Church Aid society, to proclaim the gospel in rural and remote Australia.

“I don’t think [they] could ever imagine the impact of their work – that it would succeed and bear the fruit that it has over the years.

“Today, we give thanks to God for this work.”

In contrast to the splendour of St Andrew’s, the Outback NSW Tour celebrated the centenary in Lightning Ridge.

In many ways, the Sunday service reflected the role BCA plays in the Australian church, as the Anglican parish of Lightning Ridge is currently in between full-time clerical ministry. As a result, John Cronshaw, CFT Tour Leader and Anglican lay preacher, gave the sermon. This was symbolic because without the support of the Bush Church Aid Society, many remote and rural communities would be without any form of ministry.

CFT Outback BCA tours have visited Lightning Ridge Community Church from the time of Les Fernance, the first supported minister. He served at Lightning Ridge as a missionary from 1978 to 1983.

On our Outback Tours, meeting with the BCA Missionaries is always what passengers say is most inspirational about the trip. Christian fellowship is shared between local people and people on tour, whether in church or coming together over meals. This means it is not just dramatic scenery but also enduring personal connections which make for incredibly memorable holidays.

“I enjoyed travelling with other Christians and visiting BCA missionaries to personally hear their stories … travelling through Outback NSW to see places I had never seen before,” shared tour passenger Rhonda Mulligan.

Enduring personal connections make for incredibly memorable holidays

In August 2020, our BCA Outback Tour will be covering North West Australia with three different itineraries “tailor made” to suit the needs of BCA supporters.

Whereas other tours from Darwin to Perth offer an itinerary of 21 days or less, our Ultimate Outback Pilgrimage is spaced over 29 days with many two or three night stays during the tour.

This provides the opportunity to meet all the BCA field staff in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

When we last toured this region in 2018, there were so many memorable moments, personal connections and unique experiences that flowed from it. We experienced the incredible beauty of Kakadu and watching the “Jesus-Birds” walking on water. Cruised with a glass-bottomed boat over the amazing Ningaloo Reef at Coral Bay, enjoying stunning views of coral and fish.

We saw God’s wondrous Creation all around us, whether in the unique flora and fauna, the red earth and waterholes or pristine white sands and turquoise seas.

Join us on your own North West adventure in August 2020. Come and be inspired ….

We had former BCA Missionaries Don and Libby Wilson on tour with us, who were thrilled to come “back home” to Newman after 36 years.

We met inspirational BCA families such as Daniel Faircy, his wife Rebecca and children Rachael and Jessica, in Kununurra and joined them in worship. We saw these children take joy in nature as they threw breadcrumbs into the air, as dozens of kites swooped to catch their bread.

Our travellers were encouraged in their own faith journey through witnessing the powerful ministry of young BCA families out in the bush.

Join us on your own North West adventure in August 2020. Come and be inspired ….

Jason Cronshaw, CFT Managing Director

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