Shelly and Pastor George Mann of Bourke’s Full Gospel Family Fellowship (centre) with their daughters Shanda Mann and Justine Mann-Wills at the celebration of 30 years of Ministry in Bourke Photo supplied
Thirty years ago, a young man with a social conscience and a deep faith came to Bourke to help out a preacher in his fledgling church.
What was meant to be a case of ‘helping a mate’ has turned into three decades of ministering to an ever growing congregation for Pastor George Mann and his wife and Shelly Mann, at the Bourke Full Gospel Family Fellowship.
The congregation at the Bourke Full Gospel Family Fellowship marked the occasion recently with a thank you party for Pastor George and his wife Shelly.
Pastor George joked that his next posting would be at the Bourke Cemetery and he had no intention of leaving his beloved outback town.
“When I arrived here I wasn’t even ordained and had no real aspirations to be a preacher. I was just helping the resident preacher, Max Reid,” Pastor George said.
“But he left shortly after I arrived, and there was no-one else who could take the service – so I stepped up and have been the Pastor here ever since.
“We used to meet in a small building in Tarcoon Street, opposite where we are now, but we outgrew the premises and so bought out the site opposite and we built the new facilities from scratch.
“We raised the funds ourselves and took out a loan as well, which has been paid back. We didn’t ask for a single handout and that’s part of the message we want to get through to people, to help themselves.”
Pastor George said the prolonged drought and tough economic times had hurt many local people but he said rather than seeing people getting broken by it, they were rallying together and lifting each other up.
“That’s what Bourke people do,” he said.
“They’ll get on with finding solutions rather than complaining about what’s wrong. They’re very practical. Anyone can get out there and jump up and down and complain but they don’t, they just get on with things and I think that’s great.
Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.