The Yass Anglican parish recently welcomed a new minister at time when it is looking back over 175 years of history.
Reverend Ken Rampling is taking the reigns after St Clement’s previous minister, Genieve Blackwell, departed to become the first woman consecrated as a bishop in NSW. The Right Reverend Blackwell is now based in Wagga Wagga.
Judy Heggart, also the police chaplain for the district, filled the role until the new minister’s appointment.
The new minister has had a busy few months but now wants to take his time settling into the region.
Ken Rampling and his wife Lynette recently welcomed their third grandchild into the world, just days after their youngest child was married.
All this while the couple was settling into their new home at the rectory in Yass town, over Christmas and the New Year.
He said they didn’t want to be in a rush but instead wanted to get to know the people and the place.
“I think they’ll get to know us over time. We really want to be part of the community. Our move here is open ended.
“God willing, and parish permitting, we’ll be here for a long time.”
He said there were big events happening in the parish and he was delighted to be able to be part of it.
“The parish this year has its 175th anniversary,” he said enthusiastically.
He said he’d be engaging with the local community about how to celebrate the milestone.
He’d also like to see if the church and its congregation could help meet the needs of the community.
“I don’t wish to be in competition with anyone else,” he said. “There’s no need for the Anglicans to come along and do their brand [of the same type of charity].”
But if there was a gap that needed to be filled in town, he would like to get involved.
The minister, who came to Yass from Canberra, said one of the battles of the church was the disengagement of young people.
“I think young people are turning away from organised church and religion. But they’re not turning away from the idea of belief, or having a set of beliefs and values that define who they are and what they’re about.”
He said he’d like to bring that idea of belief back to the fore.
“I don’t think there’s a program we can roll out,” he said.
Although, he wanted to change the idea that church is just an hour on Sunday to a set of beliefs to live life by.
“What you believe in should drive your life,” he said.
Regardless of the difficulty in attracting young people, the parish is still thriving.
“The reality is, the church is growing.”
The minister said congregations in Murrumbateman, Bowning and Mundoonen were al growing, and he’d like to expand that to areas like Wee Jasper, Good Hope and Bookham, among others.