Rev. Karen Paull inducted as Community Chaplain

Rev. Karen Paull inducted as Community Chaplain

On Sunday 12 February a service of induction was held for Rev. Karen Paull in the Narooma Uniting Church. Karen has been inducted as the Community Chaplain based in Mt Dromedary. The service was led by Presbytery co-chair Rev. Dr Ross Kingham. Dr John Williams, who has been involved since the inception of the idea of the community chaplaincy, preached from Matthew 17:1-9. John spoke of the chaplaincy with the bushfire affected local community being a ministry in which the local community would see no-one but Jesus.

The chaplaincy will serve within the Presbytery’s overall framework of responding to community needs which have been identified in the aftermath of the 2019—2020 bushfires. The position will build capacity for communities which have been heavily impacted by a series of significant events: first, the profoundly serious drought conditions leading into 2019; second, the devastating 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires on the east coast of Australia; and third, the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has had specific regional impacts.

Key ministry responsibilities include providing pastoral care to residents and their families in the various communities within the area, and providing psychological and spiritual resources to people in need, with attention to what specific resources fit with the needs observed. In carrying out these responsibilities Karen will liaise with congregation leaders and members of the Mount Dromedary Uniting Church, and UCA agencies (particularly Uniting), with other Chaplains in the South Coast region, and with other community organisations and people to develop networks and referrals as appropriate.

Rev. Paull has been called to this role having gained much formation, vital experience and know-how form her previous placement in community chaplaincy in Lane Cove. You can hear some of the story of the Lane Cove community chaplaincy in this video episode from the “Our Story” series prepared by Uniting Mission and Education of our Synod – Our Story – “Transforming Community Engagement” on Vimeo.

The intention is for this new position to be weighted as an approximately 75 percent Community Chaplaincy role within the communities of the South Coast region, and an approximately 25 percent Congregational Leadership within the Mount Dromedary UCA Parish. The position is a Presbytery placement for three years at 75percent FTE, and is being funded by contributions from the NSW and ACT Synod Moderator’s bushfire appeal, Mt Dromedary Parish, Congregations, and individuals within the Presbytery and by the Presbytery.

Part of the symbols of ministry handed to Karen during the induction service included holding crosses made by a member of one of our Canberra based congregations. He visited the South Coast not long after the bushfires and collected timber that had been burned in the fires and swept onto the beach after heavy rain. He made the crosses from these charred bits. These crosses are sure to be a significant part of the chaplaincy as Karen connects with people who are living with the long-term effects of the bushfires.

Representatives of other churches greeted Karen during the service. There were three representatives from the Anglican church and three from the Catholic church with apologies from the Baptists and Pentecostal church. Ecumenical cooperation in the area is very strong and it was wonderful to share with these folk in the communion service led by Rev. Andrew Smith.

The music, prayers, readings, service PowerPoint slides and hospitality shared by the Mt Dromedary parish made for a very encouraging and hopeful service of induction, which was followed by a generous lunch and much conversation.

One of our funding partners for the position has needed to withdraw their commitment due to other unexpected urgent costs. If you or your congregation is interested in financially supporting this Community chaplaincy to help it on its way to being fully funded for the three years, please contact Rev Andrew Smith.

Rev Andrew Smith
Presbytery Minister – Congregation Futures


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