The intrepid walkers who took on the Anglican Board of Mission’s Larapinta Challenge have returned, and have been reflecting on the experience.
The Larapinta Challenge brings Anglicans together to take the 65 km trek along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory, whilst raising money for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The walkers raised over $115,000 in the lead up to the challenge.
“It was a deeply spiritually moving experience,” Jill Rivers reflected. “Gathered together in a circle, in the dry Creek bed, under the generous shade of the river gums. Feet immersed in the cool coarse sand. The presence of the Holy Spirit was unmistakable moving within us, between and through us. Songs from the native Budgie and Zebra Finches filling the clean cool breeze.”
The Rev’d Wendy Morecraft participated in the second walk in July.
She spoke of the experience in a sermon at her parish church in Coromandel Valley. She describes concelebrating the Coming of the Light Eucharist on the third day of the walk.
“We had taken an aluminium camping mug and plate to be our paten and chalice.
“I had grabbed a gluten free tortilla to be the priests’ wafer and we took some Shiraz. I couldn’t think of anything to wear as a stole, but someone had the great idea to use our ABM flag as an altar cloth upon the sand.
“We six priests, all female, sat barefoot in the cool coarse sand around our altar in the welcome shade of a river gum. It was then that I really felt connected to the land – with my bottom making that same shape in the dense sand that we see in Aboriginal artworks.”
In place of a sermon, Rev’d Rosemary Garndiner read an article by Aunty Dr Rose Elu, Queensland Senior Australian of the Year.
Morecraft found these words of Aunty Dr Rose Elu’s particularly striking: “Our spirituality lies in the sea, sky and land and since time immemorial our people have believed in a Creator, but we did not know that the Creator was the Christian God. The Coming of the Light commemorates the Gospel coming to us and giving us a name for the Creator.”
Participant Julie Brownell, in a parish report for All Souls St Peter’s in Stepney noted the “pershing cold” of the 2:30 am starts. Despite the cold, the experience was practically and spirituality rewarding as she writes,
“A daily focus on some prayer and scripture reading secured a sense of group purpose, along with a special Eucharist to celebrate the coming of the Light in the Torres Strait: The arrival of missionaries with the Gospel.”
In the end 29 avid trekkers undertook the Challenge. 3 more were signed up but were unable to join their teams due to border restrictions. 9 walkers were local Adelaide Anglicans.
The Diocese heartily congratulates those who took part and all those that donated for their charity and commitment to Christian life.
You can learn more about the Larapinta Challenge and the good works of the ABM here.