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EFAC Australia

As part of its centenary celebrations, Bush Church Aid has republished a new expanded edition of Leon Morris’ Bush Parson.

Bush Parson is Morris’ autobiographical account of his service as the Bush Church Aid-supported minister of the massive and challenging Minnipa parish on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula during the Second World War.  

Leon and his wife Mildred, a nurse, travelled around the parish in a large green van named the St Patrick’s Van by its Irish donors. The van served as ambulance, clinic, bedroom, kitchen and study for Leon and Mildred. Mildred often drove over sandy, dusty and boggy tracks while Leon studied the Scriptures in their original languages!

Leon writes, “This…is my tribute to the big-hearted people I met in the outback. I want to acknowledge my debt to so many battlers in their very difficult situations. And with them I want to link those in our cities who are interested enough in what is done in this vast country to support with their prayers and their gifts those who go out to minister to their outback cousins. I am indebted to them both.”

Royalties from the book’s sales have been donated to Bush Church Aid by the Leon and Mildred Morris Foundation. Its Chair, the Rev Neil Bach, also Leon’s biographer, comments, “Leon wrote over 50 internationally acclaimed theological works, yet only one was autobiographical - the one describing his service with BCA. Who ever thought that this ministry would lay the foundations for Australia’s greatest theological scholar and writer?”

The book was originally published in 1995 by Acorn Press. However, when the BCA Victorian Regional Officer, the Rev Adrian Lane, discovered it was unobtainable, new or used, BCA approached Acorn requesting a new edition. Acorn, now an imprint of the Bible Society, generously agreed to cover all pre-publication costs. The new centenary edition includes rare archival colour photos from glass negatives from the BCA Archives and the Morris Archives, held in the Ridley College Library. A number of appendices from these archives are also included, including Leon’s original Application for Service with BCA. Adrian Lane comments, “The new edition is a significant value-add to the original, with its photos and appendices, all of which will make further study of Leon and Mildred’s ministry and remote area ministry more generally much easier.”

The new edition was launched at the BCA Victoria Centenary Dinner on the 4 May 2019 at Glen Waverley Anglican Church by Dr Kris Argall, Commissioning Editor of Acorn Press, the Revd Neil Bach and the Revd Adrian Lane, who prayed for its fruitfulness.

Adrian Lane is the Victorian Regional Officer of Bush Church Aid.

 

The book is an interesting, engaging, easy read. Copies are available from from BCA state and National offices, https://www.bushchurchaid.com.au/content/shop/gjjyqg and from other book sellers.

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