For many years of her life Maryborough’s Sandra Field carried a deep calling that, until now, always had to make way for other imperatives.
Until now the roles of wife, mother, and teacher had always meant the other calling had to wait.
But as of last Tuesday evening it is waiting no longer.
Last Tuesday evening the mother of three, grandmother of six, and former teacher of countless Maryborough children was ordained as a Deacon within the Anglican Church.
The ordination presided over by the Bishop of Bendigo, Rt Revd Andrew Curnow, in Maryborough’s Christ the King Anglican Church, makes her the 13th Ordained Local Minister (OLM) within the diocese of Bendigo.
“There are three tiers within ministry, those of Bishop, Priest and Deacon and all are servants of Christ,” the new Deacon said.
A new concept within the Anglican ministry, the Ordained Local Ministry draws specifically on local residents to serve as ordained ministers, meeting the pastoral care needs of their own communities.
The new reverend, a former phys ed teacher who continues to work in education support at Maryborough Education Centre, is the first OLM for Maryborough.
“From a very early age I was part of St Mark’s Anglican Church at Forrest Hill in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs,” she said.
Her faith was particularly nurtured there through that community’s “wonderful youth group”.
“I developed a strong and committed Christian faith from a very early age,” she said.
“But I always felt that God wanted me to be more.
“The roles of wife, mother, helping on the farm and teaching just delayed that calling of God into ministry,” she said.
Finding herself living right next door to Maryborough’s Anglican church when she arrived in town to take up her first teaching post back in 1972 was “wonderful” Sandra recalls.
Up until her ordination this week, she has served as an ecclesiastic assistant, a synod representative, and a parish nominator, part of the panel charged with selecting local priests.
She has also previously served on the parish council.
Mid-way through this year Sandra will complete studies through Melbourne University, obtaining her Trinity Certificate in Theology and Ministry
She says her calling to ministry galvanized in the past few years, as her role of personal support volunteer with the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministries led her to play an increasing role helping those hard hit by recent flood and fire events.
In her new post as a Deacon, she will assist the Maryborough Anglican rector, Father Wayne Sheean, perform liturgical duties including church services, communions, baptisms, funerals and weddings.
“But my main focus will be being alongside people in the community, both in times of celebration and happinesss and times of sadness and need,” she said.
“A Deacon really is like a bridge between the church and the community.
“As a Deacon the focus of my ministry is in the community, meeting the needs of people from all walks of life, young, aged, disadvantaged . . .
“It’s a very humbling experience to be with and alongside people in ministry.”