Former security orderly Graham Silkstone has left the corridors of Wellington Hospital to serve behind the altar at various churches throughout Oamaru.
The Anglican reverend recently took up the position of vicar of the Waitaki North Oamaru parish, which includes St Mary’s (Oamaru), St Martin’s (Duntroon) and St Alban’s (Kurow) churches.
When he applied for the role, he did not expect to get the position.
But after he was invited by the North Otago parish to travel to Oamaru for an interview, he felt more optimistic.
Once he flew down from Wellington, he met with nominators of both the Anglican parish and diocese, who offered him the job on the spot.
“Everything fell into place. It just seemed right – everything felt right.”
Upon arriving in Oamaru, he was struck by the hospitality of locals around the town.
“They’ve been all amazingly welcoming. It’s just been terrific.”
He was officially installed as the new vicar at St Mary’s Church last Saturday.
He expected there would be some challenges along the way, but was enthusiastic about his new role.
“This is a large parish. It covers a large reach, and I have to be aware I’ve got to reach all of the parish and not just focus on people that are local to the church.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to what I should be doing, really.”
In the past, he worked as a vicar at St Mary’s Church in Silverstream, Upper Hutt.
The main roles of a vicar included leading communal worship, celebrating marriages, directing funerals and providing christenings, he said.
Once he and his wife finished unpacking boxes in their new home, they were keen to explore North Otago to see what the region had to offer.
“I consider this life as an adventure that you have to grasp and do all sorts of things to really experience it.”
North Otago was already a place he could not see himself leaving any time soon.
” I will remain here as long as the parish want me, and as long as I feel that I’m being effective in a leadership role.”