Keith Hamilton to become new Bathurst minister
Rev. Keith Hamilton has announced that he will be the new Minister at Bathurst City Uniting Church.
He told Insights he was, “very much looking forward” to the new placement, in a congregation that is already well prepared for mission.
“It is a church with strong connections between worship, witness and service,” Rev. Hamilton said.
“My responsibility is to provide ordained ministry leadership that nurtures not only those three elements, but most importantly their continuing integration.”
As with all placements in the Macquarie Darling Presbytery, 80 percent of Rev. Hamilton’s time will be spent in the congregation and 20 percent in the Presbytery. At the time of writing, Rev. Hamilton has begun conversations with the Presbytery about what the 20 percent might involve.
“In the Bathurst congregation, my calling and responsibility is to provide leadership as the minister of the word, journeying with the congregation,” Rev. Hamilton said.
Bathurst City congregation, he said, are “very organised,” and already have a mission plan that sets out six areas.
“The mission statement is: Sharing the love of God by connecting people to God; connecting people to people; and connecting people to community. I find this statement very encouraging.”
The mission plan expands on the statement with six areas.
1. Christ – Connecting people to God
2. Caring – Connecting people to people
3. Community – Connecting people to Community
4. Capacity – Equipping and mobilising people
5. Custodianship – Preserving our Heritage, Fulfilling our responsibilities
Each area has a small working group that reports to the church council. The Church Council has been reorganised to reflect this arrangement. The latest budget apportions responsibility to each committee for their income and expenditure.
6. Creation – Modelling creation care
“It will have the outcome of empowering the people of each group, as well as increasing accountability,” Rev. Hamilton said.
“One of the activities of the congregation is the Bathurst Uniting Support Services. Currently BUSS provides “ kindness and care to people in need.” It does this through a range of projects that includes food, transport, social contact and pastoral care.”
“I am looking forward to bringing theological leadership with the congregation, Church Council, and the six mission groups.”
For Rev. Hamilton, the placement is in a familiar location, which he said helps.
“Julie, my wife, and I are familiar with the Bathurst region, with family living at Eglinton a suburb of Bathurst, and I have attended the Bathurst 1000 car race for the past 30 years,” he said.
“We already know some of the people, and some long term friends are also moving to Bathurst. I have attended the events and church services Bathurst Uniting Church has held in conjunction with the car race, and preached on one occasion.”
Rev. Hamilton counted among his early impressions, “the welcome from the congregation, even before the placement commences – 1 November 2021 – has been very warm and generous. The neighbours in our street have welcomed us to our house in LLanarth. The central west is a beautiful region. We love watching sunsets from our dining room table.”
“We bought a house in Llanarth, a suburb of Bathurst, in 2017, never thinking we would ever live in it. We are delighted we are now able to do so.”
“God is gracious. We are confident that with the call of the risen and ascended Christ to this placement at this time, God will also through the Spirit provide all the resources necessary to sustain the call.”