Phil Newton Heading to New Town
After spending the better part of a decade as the Uniting Church Chaplain at Wollongong University, Rev. Phil Newton is moving on.
He told Insights that he will miss the role, which he started in 2009.
“I will miss the energy that comes from being in an exciting, dynamic and unique ministry setting,” Rev Newton said.
“The university context forces you to think deeply about faith and how it intersects with life in all its complexity. It forces you to be a better theologian as Christianity is held alongside multiple other versions of ‘Truth’.”
“I’m going to miss journeying with students and seeing their faith grow and take shape, and the impact that has on their lives. It has been a great privilege, really.”
Rev. Newton will shift now to an exciting new role which will involve working in Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery. He will be a Community Animator in Sydney’s Southwest Growth Corridor.
“Sydney is about to see an incredible growth in population over the next five -10 years and the Uniting Church is largely not present in that area,” Rev. Newton explained.
“So, the church in its desire to be missional and proactive, has created a full-time position for someone to be there on the ground as the growth is happening.”
This will entail, “learning about the communities that are emerging and waiting and watching for opportunities for the church to offer itself into those spaces.”
“It means looking to see where God goes before us and seeking to find ways for the church to join in what God is already doing. It means building up a community around the Gospel who want to find meaningful ways to be the church in the seemingly endless new housing estates and industrial parks. It means drawing together the neighbouring Uniting Church communities as they seek to express their life in mission and service.”
This, he says is, “Not necessarily finding new ways to be church, but definitely finding ways to be church in new places with new challenges.”
Rev Phil Newton’s closure of service takes place on 1 December at Wollongong Wesley Uniting Church at 2pm
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor