When you mention the name Rev Peter Cook to locals in the Hamilton area, the first thing that often comes to mind is his generous support for people in need. So it was fitting that the community honoured his legacy by pledging to perform one kind act for another person.
Last year, community members in Hamilton started a social media campaign called ‘Peter’s List’. This encouraged people to do something simple in service of others, such as helping a neighbour or volunteering their time.
Hamilton Uniting Church member Elaine Edwards said Mr Cook, who retired last year after 18 years of ministry in the Henty region, was a strong believer in spreading the love of God through practical actions.
“He encouraged everyone in their own endeavours and placed a value on every little contribution made,” she said.
Mr Cook is a passionate supporter of refugees and played a major role establishing the Rural Australians for Refugees group in Hamilton.
He also created the Uniting Church Argyle Shop where people could donate furniture and household goods, often from deceased estates. These are then sold or redistributed to people in need.
Mr Cook was inducted into the Hamilton congregation in 1999 and his placement was extended twice so that he could complete a number of projects.
Ms Edwards paid tribute to Mr Cook’s generous spirit and informal style of worship.
“His guitar, his deliberate injection of humour, his inclusion of members of the wider community to enhance services and his deep, inspiring love of God, made Sunday mornings a special time of worship,” she said.
During his ministry, Mr Cook served as a police chaplain, offering pastoral support for people on both sides of the law. He worked with officers who faced trauma in the line of duty and cared for the pets of people in prison.
Ms Edwards described Peter as a humble man, who never sought recognition or reward.
“He preached the work of Jesus and did the work of Jesus here in Henty,” she said.
“He is one person who made a big difference in our district and was always supported by his beautiful wife Dianne.
“His ministry will long be remembered.”