Singleton's popular Anglican parish priest Charlie Murry has accepted a promotion and is heading to Newcastle to become an assistant bishop.
It is a true a seachange as Charlie’s will be the Coastal Episcopate providing pastoral care and leadership in the Manning Valley, Lake Macquarie and Central Coast regions for the Newcastle Anglican diocese.
In a first for diocese two assistant bishops have been appointed and in a sign of the importance of a Singleton posting in your resume the other bishop is Sonia Roulston who was a former assistant curate in Singleton. As part of her role will be caring for the Upper Hunter parishes.
And the Singleton connection doesn’t end with the bishops as Newcastle’s Dean is Katherine Bowyer a former Singleton curate.
“It means three of the six leadership positions in the Newcastle Anglican diocese have all spent time in Singleton,” said Charlie.
He is looking forward to the new challenge and at the same time acknowledges the difficulties the Anglican Church has to face following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
“Last year was an awful year to be an Anglican priest,” he said.
“We need to point to Christ and his gift of life. It’s not about ourselves and hierarchy its about God’s kingdom, justice and being so conscious of a church that is safe.”
Through his deep faith, that importantly incorporates an honesty about the fragility of moral authority, he hopes people will on their best days see and embrace the possibilities of life and care for each other.
“God cares for us was we would should shrive to be like Jesus of Nazareth,” he said.
He admits its a challenge to encourage younger people to attend mainstream church services.
“Most times I am the youngest person in the church and that’s our challenge to invite people to listen to our message,” he said.
To this end while in Singleton Charlie and a dedicated band of assistants hold Messy Church services on a monthly basis. As the names suggests it was all about fun and families and a chance to bring new people into the congregation.
And that work on growing the church and making it part of people’s lives Charlie will continue to pursue in his new role.
For a Queenslander Charlie and his family wife Melissa and children Lucy and Jake have enjoyed their time in the Hunter.
They arrived in October 2010 as the parish priest leaving behind the moniker of Charlie of Charleville where he had been the rector before Singleton. A few years ago was has appointed Arch Deacon of the Upper Hunter.
During his time at All Saints he has learnt about grammar pies not known north of the border and worked with the parishioners throughout the parish including all the small churches scattered around the district.
“Its been great getting to know the community, and its is a true privileged to be a parish priest it opens a door into the community but you never become a local in the sense of living through the town’s history,” he said.
“Although Jake describes Singleton as his place. And Singleton will now always be part of our story.”
As the Argus was leaving All Saints grounds Betty Butler was on her way home and was keen to praise Charlie and his dedication to the parish adding we don’t want him to go.