After three years of lending a hand and a listening ear, Rev Ian Tucker has finished up as Frontier Services Cobar/Nyngan Patrol Minister this week.
As part of his ministry, Ian has supported the Cobar and Nyngan Uniting Church communities and played an important role in providing pastoral care to people across the region.
He has been there through thick and thin, caring for people in small communities and on properties, making connections and friends with people from all walks of life.
The Cobar/Nyngan Patrol extends from Bourke in the north to Hillston in the south, and from Emmdale in the west to Nevertire in the east. Ian has also been SES Chaplain for the Far West Region of NSW.
“It’s been a most interesting time,” said Ian. “I’ve met some wonderful people.”
He has shared moments of great joy and celebration with people
but also times of tragedy, having been called on to offer his support after fatal road accidents and suicide.
“It is all part of the deal,” said Ian. “I’ve been here through drought and through heavy rain. At the same time, there are many changes for people on rural properties and some people that have been through a pretty rough time. My role is just to be with people, to allow them to express their deepest concerns – the good, bad and ugly.”
“There is a real need and a real role for the church to provide this support.”
Personally, Ian said it has been a time of renewal. In July last year, a minor surgery operation uncovered a major heart problem, and Ian underwent emergency open heart surgery. He has bounced back and is in good health.
“Until then I thought my health was fine, but thanks be to God, I was placed in the hands of a skilled anaesthetist, who found a major problem, so far undiagnosed. I was ever so grateful that God had placed me there at that time.”
“Many, including myself, were amazed at the speed of my recovery. I’m exceedingly well and doing all manner of things,” he said.
Many members of the community gathered to farwell Ian at services held in Cobar and Nyngan over the weekend.
Ian is moving to the NSW South Coast as a chaplain with UnitingCare Ageing for two aged care services in Shellharbour and Unanderra. He will continue his work as a SES chaplain at the state headquarters in Wollongong and preach at Uniting Church services in Sydney when required.