Ordination, Induction, Centenary Celebration, and Reconciliation
Saturday 15 February 2020 saw the beginning of a wonderful day in the life of Ballina Uniting Church, which hosted the Ordination and Induction Service of Rev Pablo Nunez. The event was history making – Pablo is the first minister ordained into ministry at Ballina Uniting Church.
The congregation also celebrated the centenary of the laying of the foundation stone by William Towner on 14 February 1920, and in recognition of First People, invited Rev. Dorothy Harris to unveil a plaque, acknowledging that they worship on the land of the Bundjalung Nation.
Rev. John Edwards opened the service, sharing a short history of the beginnings of Ballina Uniting Church as a Methodist Church and the stories around the laying of the foundation stone on 14 February 1920.
Rev. Edwards also shared that back in 1920, the Indigenous people of the area, the Bundjalung Nation, were not acknowledged in any way. 100 years on, striving to rectify that oversight, the congregation prepared a plaque for display in the foyer recognising the First People, as part of the work towards reconciliation with the local Indigenous community.
The Far North Coast Presbytery Chair, Rev. Bill Fischer, presided over a double celebration, as Pablo Nunez was both ordained and inducted. The church was filled to capacity.
Rev. Dorothy Harris was invited to bring a ‘Welcome to Country’, and together with small group of friends, sang a song in native language.
Presbytery Secretary, Sue Duncan, introduced Pablo and gave a short Narration of Steps of his journey with the Lord’s calling on his life.
Pablo’s children, Isabella and Santiago Nunez delivered the Bible Readings.
Rev. Stuart Cameron from Newlife Robina shared a message to both the church community and to Pablo personally. This message also touched the lives of those stepping out in faith and ministry.
The church choir sang ‘On Eagles Wings’, Pablo’s friends Rev. Esteban Lievano and his wife Kemeri sang a hymn in Spanish and Ballina’s Singing Group led the hymns and praise songs.
Rev. John Edwards, who guided and supported Pablo throughout his three years as Ballina’s student Pastor, led ‘The Charge’.
At the declaration of ordination Pablo was greeted with a standing ovation.
Rev. Nunez then presided over a special Communion as his first duty as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church with Re’s Stuart Cameron, Esteban Leivano, and John Edwards supporting in the role of communion servers.
Rev. Nunez then escorted Rev. Dorothy Harris to unveil the plaque, which is hanging proudly in the church’s foyer.
Rev. Nunez is the first Latino minister in placement at Ballina Uniting Church, and to date, is only the fourth Latino ordained Minister of the Word in the wider Uniting Church.
Rev. Nunez commenced a 100 percent placement at Ballina commencing on 1 March 2020