For Immediate Release
10th November 2004
The youth of Gulgong will sadly farewell friends and an organisation that has provided much help and encouragement to the town’s younger population in recent years.
A team that currently consists of five young people that have made an intentional commitment to live in the town and actively encourage and help its youth will farewell Gulgong on 8 December 2004.
The team consists of students completing an Associate Diploma in Christian Studies with Cornerstone Community, an organisation that was established 25 years ago with the vision of giving practical expression to, and teaching in, the Christian faith as a ‘whole of life’ experience.
With its national headquarters in Dubbo, Cornerstone presently operates four training centres in NSW and one in Ghana in Africa. Mission teams made up of studying and graduated members are based in a number of regional centres across NSW and Victoria.
It provides a unique combination of accredited Christian Studies, work placement and mission experience in a community environment. Cornerstone’s ‘whole of life’ approach has equipped over 1500 people for a lifestyle of Christian Mission. The team in Gulgong has been led by Mr Aidan McIntosh for the past two years. He spoke of his sadness that they couldn’t continue their presence in Gulgong.
‘Each year Cornerstone fields numerous requests from towns right across Australia for a mission team to settle in their town. Often Councils are the ones encouraging us to come because they’ve heard of the positive results we’ve had in other places, and there is such a drastic need for youth in rural areas to be given hope and purpose.’
‘We like to find employment in a town to support ourselves so that the youth work we do comes at no cost to the wider Community. The two years I’ve spent in Gulgong have been amongst the best of my life. I’ve made good friends here, with those on my team and with those that we’ve come in contact with in our various activities in the town.'
Mr McIntosh said that members of this year’s team were unable to continue in the town because they were intending to begin university studies, mainly in Bathurst. There weren’t enough new students going on team next year to allow Cornerstone to keep all of its existing teams open as well as pursue the opportunity to begin operations in two new areas.
“Next year we’ll be starting several new teams in South Australia which has meant we will cease team operations in Gulgong, Cobbity (western Sydney) and one of the teams we have in Ballarat. We will leave all three with a very heavy heart but our situation is that there are many options available to us and not enough people to go around. We’ve been operating in the Mudgee/Gulgong area for more than ten years.”
Over that period of time Cornerstone’s activities in the town have included the following:
Ø Teaching Scripture in the Primary School (3 years)
Ø Playground Activity Leaders at the Primary School (2 years)
Ø Volunteer Youth Workers at the High School (4 years): lunch-time activities, breakfast clubs
Ø Running a Junior Youth Group (2 years)
Ø Running the course HOW TO DRUG PROOF YOUR KIDS (2 years)
Ø Operating a Business VANGUARD CARPET CLEANING (6 years)
Ø Working in the vineyards, supermarket, farms, building industry under CORNERSTONE CONTRACTORS (9 years)
Ø Each student completing a diploma of Christian Studies
The whole town has been invited to a feast to farewell the team on Tuesday 7th of December at 7pm. It will be at the bbq's on Red Hill, off Tom Saunders Lane. There will be Mexican food, Piñata’s and a farewell address from the Principal of the Primary School, Alan Walker.