Forbes St John Anglican Church Parish Priest Geoffrey McAuliffe was inducted as the National Chaplain-elect in a ceremony at the church last Sunday.
He will officially become the next National Chaplain, under the board of the ‘Order of St Luke’, next year, after spending 12 months under the wing of the current National Chaplain. The board elects a new person to take this position every three years, but with no nominees immediately forthcoming in 2014, Mr McAuliffe decided to nominate himself last year, and was officially inducted as the elect to the position at the weekend.
Bishop of Bathurst Ian Palmer and Reverend Trevor Buttler made the trip to Forbes to induct Mr McAuliffe. He was persuaded to come out of retirement two years ago to take up the Parish Priest role at St Johns. Despite this he said his past experiences working as a chaplain in ‘chapters’ of seven
people meant he was capable of doing the job.
“I’ve worked in the formation of four different chapters over the years [since 1982], sometimes as the prime mover, and other times responding to the encouragement of others,” he said. “I’ve been a convenor (chairperson of a
chapter) a couple of times too.” “The ceremony was the culmination of a big month at St Johns. We had the Festival of Praise, followed by a mission with Defence Force Bishop Ian Lambert, so we’ve had three big weeks.”
In his new role, Mr McAuliffe will lead the ‘healing ministry’, which in Christianity is a spiritual practice of physical, mental, or emotional healing.
“As National Chaplain-elect, I’m under the direction of the National Chaplain, so what I would do is if there is something that requires his presence and he can’t be there, I would go,” he said. “When I become National Chaplain, one
thing I would like to do is try to find a way of interesting more people, and younger people, to be involved in the Order of St Luke…most of the Order at the moment is old, even older than me,” he joked.
While his new role will see him travel to other towns and cities in Australia from time to time, he will remain the Parish Priest at St Johns for the time being. He said he was extremely proud to be inducted as a Forbes local, with people coming to town from all corners of the country to witness the occasion.
While he has come out of retirement, he added he looked forward to what the future holds for him, despite his second retirement being at least another three years away as he works through his term as National Chaplain.