Life Story: Reverend Andrew Starky - a priest, companion and friend

Father Andrew Starky from the Church of St Michael and All Angels died while running in Bottle Lake Forest.
NATASHA MARTIN

Father Andrew Starky from the Church of St Michael and All Angels died while running in Bottle Lake Forest.

Reverend Andrew Starky was a man who loved to love. He greeted everyone he met, regardless of their beliefs, with a hearty laugh and a warm embrace.

His friends remember how the former farmer would throw his head back, his hands animated, and chuckle when he checked on the outcome of a piece of advice he had offered, or caught up on the lives of his many friends.

The Reverend, of St Michael and All Angels in central Christchurch, died on Saturday while on a run in Bottle Lake Forest. He was 61.

Starky spent ten years as vicar of St Peter's in Temuka before moving to his role in Christchurch.
JOHN BISSET/ FAIRFAX NZ

Starky spent ten years as vicar of St Peter's in Temuka before moving to his role in Christchurch.

Andrew's sister Barbara Anderson spoke at his funeral, which was attended by hundreds, of the bond she shared with her "special brother and lifetime friend."

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The child of Michael and Suzanne Starky was born on was January 31, 1956. He was the eldest son of an eldest son of an eldest son and a respected and adored addition to the family, the fourth generation of Starky to live on the farm west of Amberley.

The mischievous young boy spent his childhood with his siblings and loved to play in mud puddles in the garden. He developed a passion for music from an early age and would belt the chorus with pride and perfect pitch in his school choir. He dabbled in the violin, which his family tolerated, and later taught himself to play guitar, which they loved.

His mother, who was devoted to the children's academic success, moved him from Amberley School to Medbury School as a boarder in Christchurch. He attended Christ's College and went on to study at Lincoln University where he developed a desire to travel.

Starky and his sister set off to see the world, and after parting ways he met his soulmate Kathryn. The pair married in Canada, spent ten years at the family farm together and had a son, Daniel, 25. The couple's love was "palpable", and they recently spent their sabbatical at a silent retreat to grow their bond with Jesus.

He joined the priesthood in 1995, and was ordained in 1997.

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The farmer's transition into his role in the church was seamless, and he wore a number of hats during his time. He was a welcome preacher at Christ's College and served for ten years as South Canterbury Anglican Archdeacon and as Vicar of Temuka before he transferred to the Christchurch parish in 2013.

On Good Friday, he lead the Triduum service and seemed to be in good health. He would be deeply missed by his adoring congregation.

Christ's College chaplain Reverend Bosco Peters said his memory of his friend was of someone filled with deep joy.

"He was a big-picture person. I would check up on the many stresses and responsibilities he carried – and he certainly took care of the details – but he saw the bigger picture, he took the long-term view."

Peters said he was fair, but firm and a man of total integrity. He loved his life, attended parties and meals and always showed his face as parish events. 

"With Andrew, there was no dissembling. Andrew was not different from one person to another, the Andrew you know and love is the Andrew I know. He was orthodox in his Christianity, and he was inclusive not in spite of his orthodoxy but because of his orthodoxy. He was truly catholic."

A funeral for the well-loved priest was held on April 21 at St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church.

 - Stuff

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