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An English clergyman and his family have left the cool climes of England for the heat in the Diocese of NW Australia.

The Revd Allan Baird and his family were living in the Cotswolds when he was invited to take up the ministry at Dongara Parish which is about 220 miles north of Perth.

Diocesan Bishop Gary Nelson, explained: “Ministry in the North West has a range of difficulties which deter people – including isolation, extreme weather and transient populations. Add to that the shortage of ministers Australia-wide and a drop in number of students undertaking theological study, and we realised we needed a different approach to find workers.” 

Allan heard about the opportunity through Ridley College, where he had studied online, and was delighted to move from St Luke’s in Cheltenham to join the North West team.

Allan became a Christian while at Pembroke College in Oxford and is grateful to have been discipled by people like Vaughan Roberts. However, he is concerned that the Church of England is turning away from its gospel roots. 

“Jo and I are looking forward to serving here in a diocese which is biblical and gospel- focussed. It’s a joy to be in a situation where the gospel workers all share the same theological understanding and commitment.”

 Allan is part of the North West Ministry Training Program and says he is grateful for supervision from wise-heads. 

“I pray that I can exercise a faithful, gentle, biblical ministry week by week. Dongara is a small, rural fishing community – not unlike some places in England. It’s a town where things don’t happen overnight. 

“A key struggle for the church has been reaching into the community. There have been many initiatives over the years but there is perhaps a feeling that there hasn’t been much gospel fruit. 

“So, for us there is a ministry of encouraging and persevering and we’d value your prayers.”