The extremely hot temperature was no deterrent to more than 100 parishioners and guests attending St Matthews Anglican Church, Stanhope recently.March 3, 2014 4:55am
Reverend David Willsher (team leader, Kyabram), Reverend Jude Benton (Tatura), Sharon Phillips (Tongala/Stanhope) and Bishop Andrew Curnow (Diocese of Bendigo) represent the new Anglican Cluster.
The reason for the gathering was the commissioning of the team for the latest Diocese of Bendigo clergy cluster.
To be known as the Goulburn River Cluster, the team will be led by Reverend David Willsher of St Andrews Kyabram.
St Andrew’s Kyabram spokesperson Irene Labbett said Reverend Jude Benton had been appointed priest in charge at Tatura and Sharon Phillips, minister in charge at Tongala/Stanhope.
‘‘Both Jude and Sharon are newcomers to the district. Jude, a New Zealander by birth and married to Andrew, has been resident in Australia for some time and Sharon has recently been working with the Anglican Parish in Mooroopna,’’ she said.
Ms Labbett said Father Morley from the Catholic Church (Kyabram/Stanhope) and Campaspe Shire councillors Adrian Weston and Neil Pankhurst attended the ceremony, welcoming Jude and Sharon on behalf of both organisations.
‘‘Parishioners from Tatura, Tongala, Rushworth, Kyabram, Mooroopna and Stanhope were there to support the new team,’’ she said.
‘‘Sharon’s daughter April accompanied the music on guitar, and Jude was surprised by the totally unexpected arrival of her proud parents from NZ especially for the ceremony.’’
Ms Labbett said in a short address following the commissioning, Bishop Andrew Curnow from the Diocese of Bendigo, urged everyone to journey together while settling into the new arrangements.
‘‘Each parish is unique’’ the Bishop said.
‘‘Each has its own giftedness and diversity.’’
He urged all of the leaders to look to the Holy Spirit for guidance, to set a good example.
‘‘A strong church makes a strong statement,’’ he said.
The evening ended with a lovely country supper in the parish hall, giving everyone a chance to catch up with old friends while getting to know the newcomers.
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