Newcastle’s oldest church, St John’s Cooks Hill, witnessed the ordination and commissioning of its newest priest on Wednesday 8 May. The Reverend Kimberley Sawyer has been a deacon at All Saints’ and St Mark’s, Hunters Hill was commissioned as the first female Parish Priest in St John’s 159 year history.

Kimberley Sawyer said, “I am delighted to take on the role. St John’s is a vibrant parish which is doing fantastic work in the heart of the city and I’m really looking forward to working in the parish and making connections in the community.”

Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Peter Stuart led the service. He said, “Kimberly comes to this Diocese from the Diocese of Sydney where women are not authorised to lead parishes. Given that policy, she has not been ordained as a priest. We were delighted to attract a minister of such gifts and capacity to serve at St Johns and it seemed only right that she could express her ministry fully from the first day!”

Kimberly said, “St John’s is already central in the lives of many people through many programs such as Messy Church, playgroup, youth group and our weekly services so it’ll be a wonderful opportunity to build on those programs,” she said.

 “It’s clearly an inclusive community with many people from all walks of life involved in the church, so to be the first female parish priest in nearly 160 years is an honour.”

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