Christopher Simon and Ven Emeritus John Gibson were ordained as priests on 11 June 1969. The 50th Anniversary Celebration was held at St John’s, Reid, ACT where they were ordained.
Image above: Archdeacon Emeritus David Hill, Archdeacon Emeritus John Gibson, The Reverend Dr Chris Simon and Father Michael Cockayne.
Christopher is a child of the Diocese having moved to Cooma with his parents and brother at 11 years of age.
He ‘served’ as a young person at Cooma, and at St John’s Reid (while working in the Public Service), and then trained at St John’s College Morpeth, NSW. He has served in many parishes across the Diocese, as well as a parish in the UK, and in relieving parish work in the Diocese of Sydney while lecturing at Southern Cross College, now known as Alphacrucis College. Since retiring he has continued to serve in ministry.
During the years Christopher has pursued much study, including achieving his Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Seminary in California, plus Masters’ Degrees in Politics, Theology and Counselling. He is also a Clinical Counsellor in his spare time(!) and has Graduate Certificates in Pastoral and Clinical Supervision.
One of Chris’s passions in parish ministry was encouraging youth and he ran youth ministries in nearly every parish he served in. Much of his lecturing has been with young people in college. One of his greatest joys was parish life at St George’s, Pearce, in the 80s and 90s where a mini-revival occurred with over a hundred young people turning to faith, many of whom are in Ministry positions across Australia and the world, and as well as those who still continue with their faith. The older congregation would often say ‘we so love our youth’!
Since retiring Chris has done Interim Intentional Ministries in a number of parishes in the Diocese as well as in Bendigo Diocese.
He met his wife Kathryn while in Theological College and they married in August 1969 – nearly 50 years ago also! They have three wonderful children, and their partners, and five of the best grandchildren!
Through Chris’s wide experiences his (sometimes obscure!) sense of humour and ability to laugh at himself has stood him in good stead. His strong sense of integrity and unwavering commitment to prayer and calling, and his love of God is commendable. With his broadened ministry he has an ability to minister and teach comfortably across the spectrum of the Anglican Church, Catholic, Evangelical and Charismatic, as well as working alongside the Pentecostal church. One young person once called him an Anglicostal!!
May the Lord continue to use him, and bless him, in whatever work he is asked to do.
by Kathryn Simon
Returning to St John’s where I was priested 50 years ago brought back a flood of memories. As a child my father, Arthur Gibson, was appointed Assistant Priest at St John’s (April 1952 – January 1954). All Saints Ainslie was then in its infancy and part of St John’s Parish. We lived in Angus Street, Ainslie, and I vividly recall early Sunday mornings when we would go to the Scout Hall in
Corroboree Park, Ainslie, clean up and set up for the Holy Communion service. Towards the end of our time in Ainslie, All Saints Hall had been built and we worshipped there. Subsequently we moved and were among the first residents in the new suburb of O’Connor, then also part of St John’s parish. My father’s funeral took place at St John’s in June 1954. My first curacy was at St John’s (1969-1970) and in August 1970 Narelle (nee Kelly) and I were married at St John’s where Narelle was a parishioner. So I have a varied and significant association with the parish.
I served in the Diocese until 1984 and then in the Diocese of Riverina from 1985 to 2007. Since returning to Canberra I have been ‘recycled’ as locum priest on several occasions and presently give a helping hand in the parish of Manuka.
Preparations for priesting included ‘some formal attention given to what priesthood involves’ (quote from Bishop Cecil Warren, then Assistant Bishop of the Diocese, in his letter to me in January 1969). This included a 3000-word essay on the topic ‘Faith in the Living God’ from the Lambeth Conference 1968, as well as sketching a whole week’s work in the parish as far as I knew it, including my work. I was to discuss this and state the priorities that I would set on the various things that are done.
Primarily the anniversary was a time of giving thanks to God for all his blessings. My ministry has been rich and varied including curacies, being rector of parishes, dean of a cathedral, archdeacon administrator of a diocese (Riverina) and participation in the wider life of our Anglican Church. My wife Narelle has been and continues to be a great helpmate, whilst also exercising her own gifts and interests, and our children Andrew and David and their families have enriched our lives. To God be the glory and thanks to the many laity and clergy who we have ministered with to make Our Lord known and loved.
by John Gibson