Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities recently attended the annual Karalundi Gospel Music Camp 2019, held on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (September 27-30) in Western Australia (WA).
Organised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) WA, people from Jigalong, Newman, Wiluna, Meekatharra, Kargotlie, Geraldton, Broome, Port Hedland, Perth and other locations travelled to Karalundi to worship, build community and share personal experiences.
The theme for this year’s camp was “Survivor”, with attendees exploring how to cope with and face the challenges of everyday life while holding tight to faith in God.
Gospel music and singalongs were featured throughout the weekend program. Attendees enjoyed music from featuring guest artist “Dark Emu Gospel Band”, and many audience members also sang items during variety hour.
“The audience always enjoys our Mardu mob singing in their own language,” said Pastor Don Fehlberg, remote area minister for the Australian Union Conference. “A highlight was when nine-year-old Cooper, Kelly Jackman’s son, was inspired to play the guitar and sing an item which everybody loved.”
Pastor Fehlberg, also the MC for the weekend, invited four students from Karalundi’s early days to the stage. Johnny Kyanga and his wife Olive, Joan Simpson (nee Curley) and her sister Avy Curley shared memories of their experience at Karalundi before making lifelong commitments to Christ through baptism.
“Johnny Kyanga shared how he knew nothing about God before coming to Karalundi,” said Pastor Fehlberg, “and to the amazement of the audience, Avy Curley at the age of 78 proceeded to do 10 push ups on the stage!”
Everyone in attendance was excited that Karalundi will be re-opening in 2020 to once again serve the Indigenous people of WA as it has done for 65 years.