Rev Deacon Michelle Cook has gone from one of the country’s most northern presbyteries to its most southern after being appointed as the new presbytery minister-leadership and mission development in Tasmania.
Ms Cook began in the position in January and was officially installed at a service in Hobart last month.
Ironically, Ms Cook was attached to the synod of Queensland prior to coming to Tasmania and replaces Scott Guyatt, who returned to Brisbane at the beginning of last year.
Ms Cook was the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress minister at Mapoon, in Far North Queensland, before accepting the role. Her first assignment was as the Frontier Services minister at Weipa.
Born and raised in Brisbane, Ms Cook grew up in Indooroopilly Uniting Church, a Presbyterian-Methodist congregation which united in 1975, two years before the Uniting Church came into being.
Ms Cook admitted it took some coaxing from a friend before she was willing to ‘hear’ the call to ministry.
“I felt God’s call but was not sure what is was until a friend told me I knew what it was. I just did not want to admit it.”
Ms Cook said she chose to work in the far reaches of the state because of a specific feeling that was where God wanted her.
“I felt I needed to be pushed and I also wanted to experience life outside of where I had been for the first 30 years of my life,” she said.
Although only new to the role, Ms Cook said were a lot of exciting things happening within the state’s congregations.
“I see people who are passionate about what they are doing and taking steps to do things differently,” she said.
“Not because they have to, but because they want to and that is exciting.”
Ms Cook has been joined in Tasmania by her husband James Hughes and son Zane.
She said the warm weather which greeted the family’s arrival had been welcome and everyone had settled quickly into their new home.
“It has been seamless. Everyone has been very friendly and we have settled in nicely,” she said.