JENNY Foley’s first job was taking care of people’s financial futures; today she is concentrating her efforts on the pastoral care of the people in our community.
As a recently ordained Anglican priest, the now Reverend Foley is learning the ropes of what’s involved in running a parish and
learning all about Singleton in her role as assistant priest in the Singleton Anglican parish.
Rev Foley grew up in Sydney and, on completing school, found herself working for AMP in the company’s superannuation department.
“It was a good time to be working in superannuation because it was still all about improving people’s retirement income,” she laughed.
“Nowadays the government has made things so complicated I would not like to be working in the superannuation industry – it’s not what it used to be.”
Caring for people in a pastoral sense is far more important to her these days and it’s a career she has been working towards for many years – not that she was always aware of her calling.
Rev Foley was married to an Anglican priest Ken, who sadly passed away suddenly three years ago.
At the time he was working in chaplaincy at the St Heliers Correctional Centre in Muswellbrook.
He had spent much of his working life in this area, first with the Church Army and then as a chaplain for various institutions.
Part of his career was spent working as a parish priest; something Rev Foley is now keen to undertake.
It was four years ago with her husband’s blessing that she started to study towards her Bachelor of Theology through Newcastle University.
This was a challenge especially following the sudden death of Ken.
Commenting on that challenge, Rev Foley said she did have a quiet whinge to God but on reflection thought you can’t change the situation, you must keep going and get on with your new life.
She completed her degree in 2013 and during the study enjoyed working as a chaplain in Taree and in various parish placements around Newcastle.
Two months ago she received her
appointment to the Singleton parish, saying since her arrival the local community has been wonderful and very welcoming.
With two daughters in the valley, one in Muswellbrook and one with two young children in Newcastle, living in Singleton is proving ideal.
“While I am here I am picking the Reverend Charlie Murry’s brain about what it takes to run a successful parish like he does,” she said.
“This parish has embraced some great contemporary church services like the Messi church service and the drop in groups.
“I think these are excellent ways to bring the church into people’s lives, especially for people looking for less formality in church services.”