Reverend Christian Ford is the Rector at Gosford Anglican Parish and also the new Chair of Anglican EcoCare Newcastle.

In this Q&A, he discusses his work at the parish, life growing up in North Queensland, and the importance of combating climate change.

Q. How long have you been at Gosford Anglican Parish? What are some of the highlights from your time there so far?

A. I have now been at Gosford Parish for about 15 months. It has been a great transition made very easy by the people here. During that first year, I spent a bit of time guiding the parish through a strategic planning process. 

One of the great outcomes of that process is the commitment of the parish to social justice. This parish is deeply concerned with questions of justice and how we live out our faith in this world. 

The parish is committed to addressing the issues of our times, not shying away from addressing difficult issues that might cause division. There was a wonderful spirit of discussion and openness when we invited people to come and address the congregation about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. I think it is safe to say we all grieved with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters at the defeat of the Voice referendum.

Q. Where else have you lived and worked prior to joining the Newcastle Anglican diocese?

A. I grew up in North Queensland in many places. I was born in Mackay and have also lived in Townsville, Mount Isa, Ayr and Mossman. 

My Dad is a priest, and that took us all over North Queensland. I was very involved in youth ministry both as a young person and then growing into ministry roles through parish and diocesan youth ministries in North Queensland.

I studied for the priesthood at the Brisbane College of Theology through St Francis College in Brisbane. I was ordained in the North Queensland diocese and spent much of my ministry there.

I did a curacy and was Diocesan Youth Officer for a time before taking up my first Parish of Mossman and Port Douglas. While in Mossman, I married Brenda. She began working as a Civil Engineer in local government.

We moved to Mundingburra, a suburb of Townsville, and we were there for just over nine years. After Mundingburra, we moved to Lismore. I was the Rector and Brenda got a job in flood mitigation and bulk water supply.  We look back fondly on our six years in Lismore, though sometimes that was quite a trying time as the city went through three major flooding events in our time there. We then moved to Gosford, where I am the Rector and Brenda works for Central Coast Council.

Q. You’re the new Chair of Anglican EcoCare Newcastle. What do you hope to achieve in this role?

A. As a newcomer to the diocese, it is wonderful to see how seriously questions around climate change and the environment are taken in Newcastle Anglican. 

As I’m sure many would understand having lived on the front line of the effects of climate change, both in Lismore with flooding that was exacerbated by climate change and coming from North Queensland where the first climate change extinction of a mammal happened, tackling this issue is close to my heart. I am passionate about making a difference to combat climate change.

I would hope that during my time as Chair of Anglican EcoCare Newcastle we can help develop resources or point people to resources that would help parishes and individuals to do something to become part of the solution to climate change and protect the environment.

I would love to see the group continue to develop the resources for the gumtree services, look at the Communion Forest initiatives that we might undertake, and any other ideas we can generate.

Read more stories like this in our new edition of Encounter | Our People.

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