After being without a priest to call their own for over a year, local Anglicans will officially welcome Reverend Anne Goode to the Parish of the Bellinger on Tuesday evening.
Since Rev Zoe Everingham resigned in December 2018, locums have been filling the gap at St Margarets in Bellingen, Prince of Peace in Raleigh and St Barnabas in Urunga.
Rev Anne is very familiar with this region, as she's lived in Coffs Harbour for the last five years and in Dorrigo for decades before that, raising a family of three children with her husband Peter.
After becoming increasingly involved with St Stephens Anglican Church, especially its youth ministry, Anne decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Theology in 2010.
She made history in April 2015 as the first person from the Dorrigo parish to be ordained, and also as the first person in Australia to be ordained by a female bishop.
In March 2014, Bishop Sarah Macneil of the Diocese of Grafton had become the first Australian woman to be installed as a diocesan bishop.
Prior to that date four women had been consecrated in Australia but as assistant bishops, not diocesan heads.
Only diocesan bishops are permitted to ordain, and fittingly, Bishop Sarah Macneil's first ordinee was also a woman.
Bellingen will be Anne's first appointment as 'priest in charge' as until recently she was Assistant Priest at St Johns Coffs Harbour and Chaplain at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus.
She will continue the chaplaincy work, which is dear to her heart.
"One of the reasons why I liked the thought of coming to Bellingen was the fact that you've got a hospital here as well," Anne said.
She explained that the pastoral ministry at the hospital involves more than comforting the dying.
"That's one of the misconceptions of what a chaplain does," she said.
Anyone who is feeling isolated, scared or anxious while caught up in the hospital system may benefit from having the chaplain come and sit with them to provide emotional or spiritual support.
A chaplain walks beside people in their time of need.Rev Anne Goode
All are welcome to watch Rev Anne Goode being commissioned at St Margarets on Tuesday February 11 at 6pm by Bishop Murray Harvey.
The service will be followed by supper in the church hall.