Young men create new model for Anglican Church in Maitland

FRESH MODEL:  An expanding East Maitland congregation has embraced Deacon Will Johnston and Archdeacon of Maitland Father David Battrick efforts at St Peter’s church.	Picture by CATH BOWEN
FRESH MODEL: An expanding East Maitland congregation has embraced Deacon Will Johnston and Archdeacon of Maitland Father David Battrick efforts at St Peter’s church. Picture by CATH BOWEN

In an age where those of the cloth are rare and fledgling priests even more so, David Battrick and Will Johnston stand alone.

In their respective roles as Australia’s youngest archdeacon and deacon, the men have forged a new model within the Anglican Church to create a multi-generational approach to spreading their faith.

“The things we do here now have been done in much the same way for over 100 years. But, alongside that, we are doing some new things,” Archdeacon of Maitland, and East Maitland parish priest David Battrick said.

“We are multi-generational now in a way we haven’t been before and it’s really exciting because we are introducing this new model.

“We are bucking the trend and going against what a lot of churches are doing because growth needs to be led, and if you want multi-generational growth you need a multi-generational growth team.”

Joining Father Battrick, 38, is Deacon Will Johnston, 22.

“We want to set up a place where people who are unchurched or de-churched can come and really look and discover what it’s all about,” Mr Johnston said.

“And I think being young and not always involved in the church I have a unique opportunity to speak to people to show them the message we have and to show them this is nothing to be afraid of.

“In fact this is something that can give them life.”

Also part of the new-look team is Elizabeth Robinson, who has taken on the role as family ministry worker within the parish.

“At the very least we want to make people feel like they are welcome, because if people wander along and there is only grey hair they don’t feel like there is a place for them,” Ms Robinson, 28, said.

“People who are searching need to find people they can connect to.”