Vicar makes trip south to take up post
In the way of the early prospectors, the Rev Ross Falconer was sold a map to find gold. The vendor was Diocese of Dunedin bishop Kelvin Wright. The destination; the Dunstan Anglican parish in Central Otago.
"I did not realise that the X covered such a wide area at first, but the warmth and welcome we have had since we arrived has shown the possibility of a rich strike," Mr Falconer said after his installation to the position last week.
Travelling from Whangamata with his wife Lesley, it is a sense of coming home for the new vicar, as he has close family connections with Ettrick, Fruitlands and Alexandra.
During the installation service conducted by Bishop Kelvin, Mr Falconer was presented with, among other things, water from the Maniototo - "a symbol of life for the land, hope and fun"; stones from the Teviot Valley representing the solid rock of truth and Christ; and boots and a shepherd's crook from Omakau as a symbol of the hope that his ministry would be earthed in the local communities.
Friends of Mr Falconer, the Rev Neil Perkinson and his wife Marilyn travelled from Whangamata for the installation, reminding the congregation to care for the couple as they were only on loan for a short while.
The parish has been served by local non-stipendiary priests since the Rev Petra Barber left.