Sometimes we cannot escape our pathway in life and I always make a bit of a joke of the fact that there have been clergy in my family since 1312 ( and that’s true!) so what hope did I have! But in all seriousness, I am what I am, a deacon in the church of God, a servant of Christ, because of God’s grace and many personal God-filled, life-changing experiences in my life.
I was ordained at St Saviour’s Cathedral, Goulburn, on Ascension Day, 21 May 1998. My great passion all my life as far back as I can remember has been my love of older people, those isolated and house-bound in the community and often overlooked by the church. Most of the ministry positions I have held have been in those areas.
For many years I was ministering with the older people in the parish of St James’, Holt, in both lay and ordained ministry. Within a year or so after ordination I found myself thrown into chaplaincy at the then Ginninderra Gardens Nursing Home in a time when our facilities were going through crisis. I recall Bishop George Browning’s instructions at a 7.30am urgent meeting of a few to ‘go and put spirituality into the place’. They were extremely difficult times followed by 10 years of a wonderful ministry among the frail, aged and dying in that nursing home. During that time, I advocated for a chapel to be built in that facility and had the wonderful experience of being able to name it ‘The Chapel of the Good Shepherd’ on its completion.
In 2001 I was collated Archdeacon to the deacons with a portfolio to ‘form the Household of Deacons’. I will always be grateful to Bishop George Browning for his vision of the Diaconate and his support, trust and encouragement to me in that role. The diaconate grew and continues to grow to this day.
Fitting to my love and advocacy for older people I worked on the Episcopal Task Force for Older People and Ministry with a team of like-minded people, where significant changes were recommended for our care, the churches care of our older people.
Currently in my place of Holy Covenant, Jamison, in Canberra, I am the Director and Chaplain for the Holistic Care Nursing Ministry which reaches out amongst the isolated, lonely and struggling members of our community who have fallen through the cracks of other agencies. Also in that ministry is the Covenant Care Day Hospice, which functions one day a week at the church for people living at home with a life-limiting illness who are being cared for by a family member, usually a spouse. It gives both client and carer ‘a day with a difference’.
Over the past year I have developed the Noah’s Ark Pet Ministry as an outreach ministry from parish to community. (See Noah’s Ark Pet Ministry Facebook group.) This ministry is valued by pet owners.
For 15 years I have enjoyed writing a reflection twice a week which is posted on my blogspot: https:// comewalkwithme-reflections. blogspot.com
Sundays I am always in the sanctuary at church linking the ministry of the deacon between church and community. It’s in that church space that I also help with a ministry to people with disabilities called Colours of God, which is an absolutely delightful ministry. And I still have a foot in the door of the nursing home that was once Ginninderra Gardens on the pastoral care team.
I very rarely talk about the OAM I received but I will say here that I accepted that award for the church. The citation was for Service to the Anglican Church of Australia and the Community and it was offered at a time when the Royal Commission was the full focus of the media. I hoped the award would shine a brighter light on our churches in the eyes of the community.
If I was asked what I would do differently in my life, if I could change anything, I would adamantly say nothing. It’s a wonderful life being in the servant ministry of Christ, knowing I have responded to God’s call to love and serve him all the days of my life and to bring love, hope and Christ to the isolated, lonely, sick and left-out beyond the walls of the church building.