The Bush Church Aid Society (BCA) was born out of a vision to provide pastoral and spiritual care for the original inhabitants and new settlers in remote areas of Australia.
While The Bush Church Aid Society was officially constituted in 1919, the work that would eventually become BCA relied heavily on the support, funding and personnel of its parent body, the Colonial and Continental Church Society (CCCS). The CCCS began in the Swan River Colony in Western Australia in 1836.
On 26 May 1919, 26 people gathered in the Chapter Hall of St Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney for the founding of The Bush Church Aid Society for Australia and Tasmania. (Tasmania was dropped from the name in 1935).
Sydney James (SJ) Kirkby was appointed as the first organising missioner and his task was to assess and further the ministry of the CCCS across Australia.
In its long history, BCA has been involved in a variety of ministries, adapting to meet the needs of the people we serve.
In the 1920s, hostels provided accommodation and relational support for children who had to leave home for their education.
During the 1930s, BCA’s medical ministries were established. These included bush hospitals and clinics and the flying medical service inaugurated in South Australia.
The mineral boom in the 1950s and 1960s turned BCA’s attention to the Diocese of North West Australia. The Society seized opportunities presented by the boom of opal communities such as Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge.
In the 1970s, church planting took place in the remote-urban areas of Darwin. At the same time, BCA provided Diocesan Administrators to the Missionary Dioceses of Australia.
The new millennium saw the introduction of FIFO Mining chaplaincy and growing partnerships with other Christian organisations in areas such as Scripture teaching and drought relief work.
In all these ministries, the BCA mission remained central – to bring Australians, regardless of their geographical location, into a relationship with the living God.