With four consecutive generations of his family having preached in Methodist or Uniting Churches, it was probably no surprise that West Moonah man Heath Cowled would be installed as a lay preacher in Tasmania.
Both Heath’s parents, Lance and Heather, are lay preachers and he follows a further three generations on his mother’s side, with only one family member being ordained.
Heather completed her training in Melbourne in 1989 and acknowledges that God can move in mysterious ways. She initially began the course as a ‘distraction’ from dealing with a toddler rather than any burning desire to preach.
But the local presbytery quickly put Heather to work only weeks after her training was completed.
Despite the family tradition, Heath said he felt no pressure to consider lay preaching as a calling.
“In fact, I was actually quite reluctant because I had noticed (from his parents) just how much work went into preparing a service,” he said.
Heath concedes that other people noticed the gift well before he had been prepared to acknowledge it.
“I did part of a sermon once because I thought it was a subject I could talk about,” he recalled.
“Several people came up to me afterwards and commented on how well I had done.
“That was when I started to consider that there might be a gift there and my reluctance in the past may have been because I was asking myself whether I wanted to be a preacher rather than if God was calling me.”
Heath began his lay preacher training in 2011 and said it had given him a greater comprehension about what makes a good Sunday service.