Orara Valley Anglican Transitional Ministry District: Zoe’s highlights and impressions so far

By The Ven. Zoe Everingham, Regional Archdeacon South and Intentional Interim Minister in the Orara Valley Anglican Transitional Ministry District.

What has been a single key highlight of your role as Archdeacon so far?

Supporting clergy and lay ministers in their own roles is a humbling experience. We are blessed in this Diocese to have mature experienced professionals who embrace a diversity of theological thinking in proclaiming the gospel: from liberal pioneer explorers, Anglo Catholics, to the more conservative end of the spectrum – all evangelical (Greek: euangelion ‘good news’) in different ways. Skill sets are diverse, too: counsellors, professional supervisors, youth workers, school chaplains, hospital chaplains, teachers, pastoral carers, prophetic voices and more. As we share our perspectives respectfully and listen intently, we can discern God’s life-giving wisdom and the blessing of being called to serve together. This excites me.

General Store owner Leanne serves a warm scone and jam to Zoe

What has impressed you most about the ministry district community members so far?

The Anglican Church has been present in the Orara Valley since the 1890s. Naturally, the current restructure with the loss of church buildings has been challenging and there has been a great sense of grief. Nevertheless, God is their rock! The remaining Anglican congregation may be small, but they are faithful to the vision of a diverse, inclusive, vibrant transformative Christian community. They are all heavily involved in local organisations, such as hall committees, craft groups, markets, service clubs and sporting clubs, and age is no limit. Our local treasure Bessie Webb, who turned 99 years old in May, joined the Lions Club at age 90! That’s impressive! They are hopeful in ‘being’ a refreshed engaged body of Christ, shaped by faith in a life-giving God.

What are your short-term goals and hopes for your Orara Valley Anglican Transitional Ministry District role?

In the short term, getting to know people in the area is very important to me, so is the regular gathering for worship as one community praising God with one voice, being changed by the Spirit’s transformative power. We have just launched our Facebook page ‘Orara Valley Anglicans’ and are building a website to assist with delivering faith-building resources into family homes.

Enjoying morning tea after church at the Glenreagh General Store, kindly served by Casey, with (L-R): Peggy (just out of shot), Beth, Ruth, Casey, Stan, Ted and Maureen

What are your long-term goals and hopes for your Orara Valley Anglican Transitional Ministry District role?

Longer term, I pray we can establish new partnerships to deliver Christian-based services, and build the ministry district into a viable member of the Coffs Coast Network under the Diocesan restructure.

How would you like people to support you in your role?

My role as priest is only one of the leadership roles expressed in community. So I’d like people to pray for all of us in the Orara Valley. Pray for the Spirit’s transformative power that we may behave more in the likeness of Christ – broken relationships may be healed – gracious attitudes of abundant hospitality may prevail – the proclamation of the love of God through Jesus may be seen anew in creative ways.

“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith…” (Hebrews 12.1-2a)

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