This week Rev Mitch Fialkowski will begin work as the Frontier Services Murchison Patrol Minister, providing practical support and pastoral care to people across 500,000 square kilometres of the mid-west of Western Australia.
Based out of Meekatharra, Mr Fialkowski will spend much of his time travelling in his four-wheel-drive to visit station families, mine workers, remote communities and small townships across the region.
Mitch is moving to the Murchison from the Katherine Patrol in the NT.
“It’s going to be a change in the scenery, but my mission – as a Patrol Minister – will still be the same,” he said.
A core part of his job will be simply spending time with people who are a long way from other support networks.
“People always need someone to talk to, particularly someone outside their family and friends who can listen and won’t condemn them; someone who can let them talk about the issues until they find their own answer.”
“Being a Patrol Minister is about helping people realise that even though you are a long way from a church, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a belief.”
“It is about bringing Church to people in all its different forms, whether it’s playing Santa for the children, or coming to conduct a baptism or marriage for people, wherever people are, regardless of their church background.”
Mitch, a grandfather of four, has been a Patrol Minister with Frontier Services since he started in Katherine in 2006. He has made the move across the country with his three cats in tow, Angel, Buster and Junior.
“I’m looking forward to coming to a different part of the world I’ve never seen,” he said. “In Katherine, most people are involved in the cattle industry, here it is sheep and cattle, so I will have to learn ‘sheep talk’.”
“People are people and you make friends wherever you go. You have to become involved in the community and I hope to do so here.”
Mitch is also an Army Reserve chaplain and a St John’s Ambulance volunteer.
Top: Rev Mitch Fialkowski assists Barry Utley on Patrol in Katherine.