Tara: a new church in the desert

Back in the 1960s the Tara people gathered for worship in a tin shed located down the road near Neutral Junction station.

Local Lutheran, Selma Thomson, can’t remember when that happened however she knew the names of the pastors who have served the people of Tara since then: ‘The first pastor was Colin Malbunka, then Immanuel, then Davey Inkamala, then evangelist Michael Price. Now we have two pastors, Christopher Tjanima and Michael Tjapiard.’

If you want a community bus then stay over there. But, if you want a new church, then come and stand by me.Selma also remembers the community meeting in 2013, when the Central Land Council asked the people of Tara what to do with some recently acquired lease money. Some people wanted the money to go toward a community bus. However, Selma suggested: ‘The money should go towards a new church.’ At the time the community had no church building and had been gathering for worship in various ‘open-air’ locations. So she said to those voting that day, ‘If you want a community bus then stay over there. But, if you want a new church, then come and stand by me.’

The rest, they say is history.

Tangentyere Contructions were given the task to build the new church at Tara and some locals also helped. On Saturday 7th March 2015, the new church at Tara was officially opened by FRM Pastor Darryl Mattner and local pastors Christopher Tjanima and Michael Tjapiard. People from the community, together with station owners and local government officials, attended the grand opening that was a day to remember and celebrate with the community of Tara.