First woman minister for parish

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St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Gore has a new minister.

The Rev Helen Martin is the first woman minister to be appointed there. Ms Martin has been in Gore for about six weeks; her first service was on May 14.

She was trained in transition ministry, whereby the minister used a range of techniques to renew and redevelop the vision and mission focus of a congregation, she said.

She had come from a church in Mosgiel that had three Sunday services to St Andrew’s, which had only one.

“It was a bit of a down-sizing for me.

“I had what they needed and they had what I needed. It worked both ways.”

She did not start out as a minister, having trained as a primary school teacher.

Her teaching training had helped her a lot as a minister, she said.

“It helped knowing how different people learn.”

She believed building relationships with people in her congregation was important.

“The best teachers were the ones you get along with.”

Ms Martin trained to be a minister in Dunedin in 2001 at what is now the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.

She was not ordained until she was 50.

She became a minister because she wanted to combine her love of teaching with her love of helping people, she said.

” .. parish ministry brings both of those things together.”

It also taught her to care about people in a more healthy way, she said.

“I tend to over-care and burn out. Being a minister you have to share yourself around.

“I am free to be who God made me to be. I love teaching, I love caring, I love people and I love God.”

She was looking forward to the next few years in Gore and was already getting to know the parish.

“There are such amazing characters here.”