In December last year, in a moving service at Brunswick Uniting Church, 27-year-old Beth Donnelly was ordained as a minister. Beth’s father, Andrew, passed away seven weeks before his daughter’s ordination, and was ordained 21 years ago on the same weekend.
Beth studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and sociology before becoming a youth and children’s worker at Brunswick Uniting Church. After working within the church environment, and a period of discernment, Beth candidated for ministry.
Beth’s mother, Jo, said the ordination was a fitting tribute to the memory of her husband. The service reflected the past few months – a mixture of joy and sadness for the whole Donnelly family.
“Beth wore Andrew’s stole, which was made by my mother (Andrew’s mother-in-law and Beth’s grandmother). The moment the stole was placed on her brought the whole congregation to tears, family, friends and colleagues,” Jo said.
The family tradition continued in January when Beth performed her first baptism as the Rev Beth Donnelly. The baby baptised is her nephew, Joshua James Wells.
Beth will take on her first ministry role at the start of the school year as chaplain at The Scots School in Albury. Beth said she is looking forward to working with young people again, and sees the role as a perfect fit.
“The vision the leadership of the school has for the students is closely aligned with my vision of the Church and ministry,” Beth said.
“I’m excited to be a part of a community that shares the values and sense of justice I have grown up with.”