On Sunday 24, 2002, at the invitation of the Selection Committee, I led two services here at Mount Gambier Presbyterian.
We left five children behind and drove over; I still remember the vista as we approached the downward descent into Coleraine and the change to verdant fields.
In typical Mount Gambier fashion, the skies that weekend were clear blue and the weather warm. Ahem.
In more reliable fashion, the welcome Margaret and I enjoyed that weekend has proved to be a wonderful sample of that which we’ve experienced since we moved here in March 2003.
That first weekend Roger put us up at his home, and I recall an evening meal with the Foxes.
Rod Waterhouse and I spent a brisk Saturday morning driving around the parish and briefly confirming the complementary nature of our ministries and skills, in order to know we could work together. (I’d never met Rod before that morning.)
Rod then scurried off to perform a wedding (outdoors, in the heat at Umpherston Sinkhole, I think), and we met a group of folk that evening (in the Megaw’s front yard?)
Sunday saw two services at Allison Street, and sermons from Romans 8 and Mark 1. The Congregational lunch was a good time, especially eating dessert with the kids.
Vivienne Peate encouraged me to take my tie off at the evening meeting.
We drove home on the Monday, and that evening the Congregation met to make a decision whether to invite me here to be a colleague pastor to Rod.
Apparently the vote was not completely unanimous. Maybe it had something to do with my not wearing a clerical collar or something. Perhaps in the intervening years I’ve gained the confidence of those who were uncertain.
Well, what does all that wandering down memory lane mean?
Well people are inclined to ask me about my future plans.
All I can say is I never planned to be here in the first place, so don’t ask me.
We were inclined to go wherever we received an invitation from a congregation who were forward and outward looking and whose leadership loved the Lord.
I couldn’t have planned on coming to Mount Gambier, I’m just not that smart.
The little wooden church I came to faith in had a banner/sign on the wall behind the pulpit quoting part of Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
If, like me, don’t feel smart enough to plan your life, isn’t it comforting to trust God and let him sort out the details?

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