After a year without a regular pastor, Christ Church Anglican has welcomed Rev. John Cooper and his family to town after a concerted effort to recruit the pastor from his Boggabri post.
A contingent of church leaders identified Rev. Cooper as a potential candidate and attended one of his church services before joining him for lunch to state their case. The reverend said the move wasn’t an easy decision given the family’s contentment in Boggabri, but so far they’ve enjoyed the move to a bigger centre. (Boggabri has a population of around 1000.)
Rev. Cooper said he is impressed with the great job done by church leaders in the absence of a minister, but is happy to now offer some consistency in pastoral care.
“The church wasn’t floundering,” he said.
“In fact it’s gone from strength to strength, and that’s due to good quality church people working hard and, importantly, working together.”
Rev. Cooper comes to Tenterfield with his wife Sarah and three children (Anna, Grace and Peter) who are now settling into local schools. The family spent four years in Boggabri and had an earlier stint in Quirindi in similar roles, but Rev. Cooper said every town and every church is different.
The couple felt this move was a good one for the family, and a good opportunity to encourage people to discover Jesus.
Rev. Cooper said so far they’ve met some beautiful people, and he enjoyed the induction ceremony at the church on Tuesday, January 30 attended by around 100 community members including emergency service volunteers, ministers from other churches and mayor Peter Petty welcoming them to town.
“That’s the great thing about country towns, meeting the people,” he said.
He did his four years of bible college in Sydney, but said he’s a country boy at heart, having grown up in Goulburn. Before undertaking bible studies his career included working in offices, an abattoir, the IT industry and research.
He said his ambition for the church and the congregation is provide opportunities for people to discover a different Jesus to the one they may have in their mind, as he did.
“For 22 years I passed him by, and now he has enriched my life in so many ways.
“I also want to strengthen those who have already discovered him.
“I’m pretty positive about where the church is at the moment. This is certainly not a rescue mission.”
The family have plans to put down some roots, and remain here for the foreseeable future.
“This isn’t just work,” Rev. Cooper said.
“We want to make it our home and be part of the community, and have a positive impact for years to come.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people, and I’m always happy to have a chat.”