Greetings. Who am I?
For a rough and brief word picture (the truth may emerge in the months ahead!) I am a 58 year old Anglican priest, married to Anne van Gend (who alas will remain in Central Hawkes Bay most of the time) and the father of, yes, six daughters and two sons. Not all were provided by Anne. Well not this Anne: I was married previously to a different Anne and she provided me with the six wonderful daughters (all living around Melbourne) to whom this Anne added the two wonderful sons. (See what I did there – same adjective! Fathers must be so careful).
Though I was (I think – I wasn’t there) conceived in Kenya, I was born, the youngest of three, in Kenya. I lived there for a few years, then Ghana, before settling in New Zealand when I was seven. I grew up on the Kāpiti Coast, though I was at Anglican boarding school in Whanganui for ten years. Enough to make anyone an atheist, and it did, though I converted to Christianity a few years later.
I gained a degree in English Lit before heading off to theological college in Melbourne. I married the archbishop’s daughter (“Anne 1”) and remained in Australia for most of the next 25 years. After an amicable marriage break-up I remarried, this time to an Anglican priest (“Anne 2”) who had grown up in Taranaki but trained at theological college in Brisbane.
Since ordination in Melbourne in 1987 I have been somewhat mobile, serving for various periods and capacities in metropolitan, rural and remote Australia and provincial New Zealand. Eventually I was somewhat conspicuously dismissed as Dean of Waiapu. I successfully appealed that dismissal as wrongful, but did not return to the position after the national tribunal found in my favour. Instead I have spent a couple of years writing and being a househusband, exercising my preaching and presiding ministry at a small Tikanga Māori church in Napier
I have had a couple of books of New Testament theology published, suggesting that might be one passion. More recently I have written a novel, though that has yet to find a publisher in a difficult market. I am currently writing a concordance of the lyrics of Bob Dylan, which should keep me out of trouble for another several years, and I have another novel percolating in my mind. Apart from Dylan, I am also enthusiastic about literature and theology (when I can find time and stay awake long enough to read), several sports (I umpired and coached netball for twenty years), outdoorsy things like kayaking and hiking, am a lap-swimmer and a frenetic walker. Incidentally I love preaching and presiding and pastoring, but as an academic may get a bit obscure … please don’t hesitate to tell me (nicely!) if I get a bit fluffy and obscure.
As interim priest my pledge is to journey with you during a time of discernment. Apart from being true to myself in preaching and liturgical eccentricities, my task is not to make changes, but to ensure the garden is well-readied for whoever God is preparing for your future. To that end I will simply concentrate on getting to know you, sharing a few special times with you, caring for you in life’s travels, praying for and with you, and making sure you are loved and cared for as a special niche in the Body of Christ.