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"Burung" Bush Chapel at Terrigal Uniting Church

A project at Terrigal Uniting Church on an outdoor worship space that honours the original custodians of the land. The chapel was built by members of the congregation, and has also resulted in a new Mens Shed group.

Some two years ago someone in our Congregation whose child was on the “missing persons” list had a vision. He saw a simple Chapel built in amongst the high gum trees on our Church's land. A bush Chapel. A place where people who had lost loved ones could come and rest, reflect and pray.

A group of men started to clear the land. They stumbled on a white cross in the undergrowth. Someone remembered 20 years ago a father whose young child had died tragically had meant to erect that cross on one of those high gum trees. Grieve overcame him; he threw the cross on the ground and ran….

That same cross with a new coat of paint is now the centre piece of the recently finished “Burung” bush Chapel. The twelve men building it each had a special craft that was needed to finish this place of worship. There was a stone mason who worked on the sand stone slab that became the altar. A huge rock formed the solid foundation where the altar was to be erected.

Why “Burung”?  We wanted to honor the original owners of the, the Garringai and Darkinjung tribes. Oomera Edwards an Elder of the tribe was invited to come and sit with us in the bush clearing when the Chapel was nearly finished. She taught us to listen to the land and not the man made sounds and to feel the earth below our feet and feel the warmth and strength of that rock…..!  “Burung” means shelter or rock. We built on that rock.

On the weekend of 24th and 25th January 2009 the bush Chapel was dedicated by Ken Day, our Minister. On 8th March the first wedding ceremony was held.

A vibrant Men's Shed group will now also meet regularly in an allocated space beneath the church building.