"While studying at Uniting College, I was constantly reminded that we all have unique gifts and abilities and it is our responsibility to use them."
| Jo-anne Smallbil
“After telling God during my Period of Discernment “There was no way I was going to study full time”, I found myself commencing a three year Bachelor of Ministry at Uniting College. Never tell God your plans!”
“I was living in Broken Hill and it had been 35 years since I’d left high school. Yet, I knew God was with me, comforting and guiding me, opening doors that for years I had chosen to ignore, calling me to follow his purpose. So, I came to Adelaide, moved in with my son and commenced study. I really missed my husband and friends but the support and friendship I experienced from my lecturers and fellow students helped me get through the first year.”
“I returned home in my second year as I was able to complete my subjects via distance or as short-term intensives.”
“It was while I was undertaking field education with Frontier Services Flying Patrol that I became deeply aware of the diversity of rural ministry as well as the lack of mental health beds in rural hospitals and the number of suicides in the community.”
“I knew when God was calling me into ministry it would be into a rural community. My experience with Frontier Services showed me exactly where I was being called to. I concentrated my studies on grief and loss and completing courses in mental health first aid and applied suicide intervention skills.
“Since I graduated from Uniting College, I have been ordained as a Minister of the Word by the Macquarie Darling Presbytery and taken up a placement at Frontier Services in Broken Hill. I now spend 50 per cent of my time looking after people in the Cobar and Nyngan congregations and the other 50 percent visiting people on isolated properties and communities in the area.”
“I see ministry as a vocation where I am called by God to love everyone as I would like to be loved, to treat everyone as I would like to be treated, to help others on their own journey of faith, and to serve God wherever he calls me.”
“While studying at theological college, I was constantly reminded that we all have gifts and abilities that are unique to us and it is our responsibility to use them. God will use all of our combined gifts and abilities to build strong leaders for our communities so that the Uniting Church has a future and continues to fulfil his plan.”
Jo-anne Smallbil, Bachelor of Ministry Graduate and Minister of the Word.