New life for Tailem Bend

Posted in Culture

This year’s Pilgrimage of Healing, held during Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June), will raise money for repairs to the old Tailem Bend Uniting Church building. This urgently needed maintenance will see new life established at Tailem Bend as it becomes home to a regional, ecumenical faith community.

Mark Kickett, the newly appointed Congress Development Officer and an ordained Baptist minister, will provide key pastoral support to this community. The new project will encompass the Kalparrin community, which has been important to the life of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) in South Australia.

“The main aim is to reignite and support the faith community of Kalparrin, and the surrounding towns of Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, [assisting] in matters of faith, community engagement and development,” Mark explains.

“Kalparrin is a great community of people wanting to serve God and meet the wider needs of the Ngarrindjeri people. It did have a valued and much needed rehabilitation centre [which was] defunded a couple of years ago, leaving a gaping hole in the community for those needing help to deal with addictions.”

This is an area Mark is familiar with, having previously worked in community service and development, child protection, education, health, corrective services and juvenile justice. He brings this perspective to the development of the new Tailem Bend community.

“We [believe] one of the greatest challenges for the faith community is to provide a holistic ministry that is real, relevant – not ignoring the day-to-day challenges confronting our people within this region – and continuing to present the person of Christ, and our faith in him, in all that we do,” says Mark.

“We would like to see Tailem Bend as the hub for the region where surrounding communities can come together for church, general fellowship, cultural matters and cross-cultural activities with the wider community.”

Through his position as Congress Development Officer, Mark will focus on supporting UAICC communities across SA – not only the community at Kalparrin/Tailem Bend, but those in Oodnadatta, Port Augusta and Adelaide.

For more information about the Pilgrimage of Healing and the Tailem Bend project please download the flyer or visit the event page. Reconciliation Sunday resources for 2016 are also available here.

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