Hundreds gathered in the Midlands of Tasmania on Sunday to farewell Patrol Minister Rev Meg Evans who has finished up after 10 years.
Meg’s final service at the Oatlands Uniting Church was a wonderful celebration of her ministry, with many warm wishes extended for her retirement.
Meg was the first minister appointed to the Midlands Patrol when it was established in 2003. Extending across the Midlands and Central Highlands of Tasmania, the Patrol covers the small towns of Oatlands, Ross, Bothwell and Campbell Town and the isolated properties in between.
Looking back on her time in the Midlands, Meg reflected on her work as a “ministry of presence”.
“As more and more services leave these rural areas, the presence of the church is really significant,” she said. “It’s important just to be there.”
“It has been such a privilege to be a part of people’s lives, to have people trust you, and to share in the hard times and the good times.”
As the Midlands Patrol Minister, Meg has led 114 funerals, 33 weddings and 35 baptisms. She haswalked alongside generations of families, through their highs and lows. In her final week, she conducted a baptism for a family she had come to know well. Meg buried the grandfather, married the children and now welcomed their grandchildren, touching four generations in one family!
For many, Meg has been more than a church minister. She has been a welcome visitor in isolated places, an advocate for the community and a trusted friend. Always, she has been a visible sign of the church’s presence in the community.
When Meg first arrived, Tasmania was gripped by severe drought, placing immense stress on local farmers. Under the strain, mental health emerged as a serious concern.
Meg brought together people connected to community to find a solution. The result was Rural Alive and Well (RAW) – a community support program which created networks and structures to help people deal with stressful situations and access professional support. Since it began, RAW has expanded from two Shires to virtually the whole state. Meg was instrumental in getting RAW started and remained involved as a board member for five years.
Southern Midlands Council recognised Meg’s contribution on Australia Day with a Certificate of Appreciation for all she has done.
We wish Meg all the best with her retirement in Victoria and thank her for all she has done for Frontier Services and the people of the Midlands.
Cunnamulla Patrol Minister Rev Dennis Cousens will move to the Midlands Patrol in August.