Minister shares what defined his time in Burnett
DAVID Ferguson’s willingness to be present and drop by for a chat will be missed the most in the South Burnett.
The Uniting Church Minister of five years shared his last message in a combined service last weekend, after leading the Kingaroy, Wondai, Kumbia and Corndale congregations.
“There’s been lots of special moments like harvest festivals and church anniversaries, but nothing gets past the privilege of getting to know people,” he said.
Rev Dr Ferguson and wife Anita will leave for Perth in the New Year to take on a new role as the Presbytery Officer based in Perth.
He will lead a team of specialist ministers across Western Australia from the southern end to Port Headland.
“I will intentionally work on the gap between the city and rural, and bring my rural experience,” he said.
Rev Dr Ferguson worked with the four congregations and volunteers for different events like Danny’s Diner.
“It’s been a blessing getting to know the lives of individuals in the community,” he said.
“I get to support people as they journey together with baptisms, weddings and other sacred points in people’s lives.”
Rev Dr Ferguson has also served as a volunteer police chaplain for the Kingaroy Patrol Group over the past three years.
“I’ve learnt a lot about commitment and dedication as I watch the officers switch from civilians to serving the community,” he said.
The chaplain would build relationships with the officers through phone calls and visits to the station, as well as assisting with ceremonial duties like messages on National Police Remembrance Day.
Police chaplains are one part of the welfare services available to officers and staff members.
Kingaroy officer in charge Senior Sergeant David Tierney said his team appreciated the comfort in knowing they had the chaplain’s support.
“From Dave’s point of view what was appreciated was the genuine interest he took in the officers,” he said.
“He would drop in just for a chat, there was no pushing his services on the troops.
“While they obviously can tend to spiritual needs, they are also there for those just looking for comfort, support and counselling.”
Kingaroy was one of the first stations to take on a volunteer chaplain to work alongside the current paid police chaplain, Rev John Selwood.
“They are important because they are another avenue of support even for those with no religious background,” Snr Sgt Tierney said.
“They are also more informal in their approach, and whilst other HR services we offer are just as valuable they can sometimes not be utilised because of the stigma of seeing counsellors.”
Rev Dr Ferguson said he will miss the community in the South Burnett.
“The people and sense of community has really defined my time here,” he said.