On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 7 // 26 September 2019
College Chaplain is Rev. Paul Morrow.
Today, Thursday 26 September, I was Locally Ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in a wonderful service held in our Centennial Chapel in conjunction with our weekly Senior College Chapel.
Amazingly, this day has been 10 years in the making, beginning back in 2010 when I began as Assistant Chaplain to the then College Chaplain, Rev. Hamish Galloway. Rev. Galloway and I had talked about the possibility of becoming the Chaplain at St Andrew’s College in the future, and a part of that process was to begin my Theology degree via Otago University. During that year we also talked with the then Moderator of Aotearoa New Zealand Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr Graham Redding, about a pathway to ordination.
During 2010, Rev. Galloway responded to a call to minister at Hope Presbyterian Church. The timing of this was a lot earlier than he had expected, but Hamish felt the time was right. The timing for me to step into Hamish’s shoes as Chaplain would have appeared too early for some people, particularly as I was not ordained.
At the end of 2010 I applied for the Chaplain’s role and was shortlisted as one of two applicants to be interviewed. The successful applicant was an ordained Minister within the Presbyterian Church. I was very happy to continue my support role as Assistant Chaplain within the College.
However, the newly appointed Chaplain resigned his position after two weeks of accepting the role. With little time before the year ending, Rector, Christine Leighton, asked if I would perform the Acting Chaplain role until the College had time in the new year to re-advertise.
The earthquakes of 22 February 2011 will be remembered for years to come. With the tragic events which followed and the incredible need among so many within our community, I joined am amazing team of people who called staff, visited families who had lost loved ones, and delivered meals to people whose living circumstances were extreme. Over the next three months many visits and phone calls were made which galvanised the trust of staff, some who made it be known to the Rector that they would like me to remain as the College’s Chaplain. Christine approached the Alpine Presbytery seeking their blessing for me to be made permanent. In July of 2011, the then Moderator of Alpine Presbytery, Rev. Martin Stewart, Commissioned me as Chaplain of St Andrew’s College in our midweek chapel service.
Why am I being ordained? From early on in my appointment I made a commitment to work towards ordination. I continued to study via Otago University but didn’t formally apply for ordination until 2017. Up to the time of our Centennial Chapel being officially opened I was managing chapels in our Gym and our Sunday services at Rangi Ruru Presbyterian Church. Whenever we had Communion Services or Baptism Services, I would contact a Presbyterian minister to conduct these sacraments alongside me. With the new Centennial Chapel came more requests by Old Collegians to have their children baptised, and a desire within the College to hold more regular Communion Services. It made sense for me to begin the formation process. After a series of interviews and psychometric tests I was accepted for ordination and was Probationally Ordained in our chapel in October 2017.
Thursday 26 September 2019 marks the end of one chapter of training and the beginning of another. I am so grateful to the incredible support that many people within the St Andrew’s College community have shown me. Particularly, Rector Christine Leighton, Board Chair Bryan Pearson, Rev. Hamish Galloway, and last, but by no means least, my incredible wife and family, immediate and extended. To all these people, my heartfelt thanks.
Rev. Paul Morrow