John Wallis Foundation Sponsors its First Project
December 24, 2011
The books of the Bible have come to life for me…” This was the response of one of the participants in a series of three evenings on “Understanding the Bible”, presented by Father Peter Schultz of Toowoomba. The series was held in the communities of Miles, Wandoan and Taroom. It was the first project sponsored by the John Wallis Foundation. Father Peter’s dynamic and engaging presentations were much appreciated by those who participated in the project.
The choice of communities was particularly significant for the Missionary Sisters of Service. When they moved into the Toowoomba diocese in 1964, their first mission was in the areas of Miles, Wandoan and Taroom. Sister Pat Quinn and Fran Spora can reminisce about that visit nearly half a century ago. It is many years now since MSS worked in those communities. This project, made possible by a grant from the John Wallis Foundation, is a new expression of the continuing mission of the Missionary Sisters of Service.
The people of Miles, Wandoan and Taroom communities along with Father Jim Cronin invited people from other Christian traditions to participate in the project, giving the project an ecumenical dimension. Three workshops were held in each community over a period of weeks in November and December. The people entered into the enlivening way in which Peter Schultz engaged them in the process of understanding the scriptures. He presented the scriptures as being a library rather than one book. They contain the stories, prayers and hopes of peoples who anguished, searched, failed and triumphed, and through those experiences grew in their understanding of God – much as we do today.
A number of the Missionary Sisters of Service were able to attend some of the workshops over the weeks, much to the delight of people who had known the MSS over the years. They had welcomed sisters into their homes, taught their children in faith through the Religious Education Correspondence Courses, and had developed a particular relationship with Agnes Ryan mss and Marie Carroll mss who lived in Miles over a number of years. For the MSS too, it was a wonderful experience re-connecting with the people in these parts of the Diocese. The bonds of love and friendship between people and MSS endure over time and distance.
The course awakened in a number of participants the desire for further opportunities to come together to deepen their understanding of the scriptures or theology. They spoke of now seeing the word of God in a different light. The whole experience was summed up in the words, “The scriptures have come alive”.
Regretfully, we were unable to get photos of the event