Tribute to Father Gary

Reverend Helen Ferguson PSM

GARY Priest commenced his ministry in
the Anglican church in Broken Hill as a
Catechist, Brother Gary, during 1968.

He left Broken Hill at the end of 1968
to undertake the next step in his ministry
journey, to train for the priesthood.

He overcame the challenges of dyslexia
and after being ordained to the priesthood
and working in Balranald, Fr Gary
returned to Broken Hill in February 1979.

After a short stint of shared ministry
between the three Anglican churches,
a new Parish of South Broken Hill was
formed on 1 January 1981 with Fr Gary
Priest as the first rector.

Fr Gary’s outreach was very effective
and young families filled the pews.
His ministry brought spiritual growth
for many people and he was instrumental
in various missions.

This included the opening of Saint
James Mart. Besides helping with parish
finances, the Mart was an important form
of outreach, meeting the needs of the
community through the provision of preloved
clothing.

Ever the evangelist, Fr Gary discussed
his vision of God’s life-giving water flowing
out from Saint James Church into the
community – based on Ezekiel Chapter
47 in the Bible – with leading artist and
good friend Pro Hart. The mural is now
an ever-present reminder of the call of
God upon the Anglicans of Broken Hill.

During his ministry, Father Gary
stimulated much enthusiasm at St James
with his bubbling personality and the
joy and sincerity with which he lived out
his faith.

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His was a work of outreach, evangelism
and new beginnings. In 1984, Fr Gary was elected Sub-Dean
of the Cathedral Church of Saint Boniface
in Bunbury WA. He and his family left
Broken Hill in May 1984. After his time
in Broken Hill and Bunbury, Fr Gary was
rector of St James By the Sea in Kingscliff
on the northern NSW coast and then the
Anglican church in Byron Bay. Later, in
semi-retirement, he worked at several
churches in Adelaide, with his home base
being at Blackwood.

Father Gary left this life peacefully on
Sunday 7 November 2021 and his funeral
was held at St Peter’s Cathedral in Adelaide
on Monday 15 November 2021. He is now
resting for eternity with his Lord and
Saviour and leaves his wife Robyn and
their three children. VALE Gary Priest,
man of God, family man, friend.

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