Priest Moira follows God’s call to Hunter parish

Since first meeting Mother Moira Evers a couple of new facts have come to light. 

One, she’s not too keen on football anthems at funerals and, two, she doesn’t mind a beer.

Not least, however, is the revelation that Mother Moira was raised a Catholic, spent time as a novice nun and is now an Anglican priest.

“It’s funny how God works,” she said.

Mother Moira, 46, is the new priest of the Anglican Parish of Telarah Rutherford and has recently arrived in the area with her fur babies – Ambrose and Brigid – in tow.

Originally from Sydney, Mother Moira has spent the past two decades in Victoria teaching and, eventually, becoming a priest.

“I have always felt a call to priesthood but of course I couldn’t do anything with it in the Catholic Church,” she said.

“But one day, when I was living in Brighton, I went along to an Anglican ­service and I was very surprised.

“It was high church Anglo-Catholic, it was like going into a Catholic Church – in fact it was more Catholic than Catholic. 

“And I just felt at home so I started going to Anglican mass on Sunday morning while still going to Catholic mass on Saturday night.

“And that call [to God] was reignited, but one of the differences was how the women were involved in the Anglican mass and I thought that was great.”

Mother Moira offered for ordination and was accepted and spent the following four years studying before being ordained in 2007.

“I became the vicar of Footscray, a highly multicultural suburb in Melbourne’s inner west,” she said.

“It was a real mix of poverty and gentrification.”

From there she went to St Alban’s, which was very multicultural and poor.

“There were Sudanese, Indians and Sri Lankans in my congregation, along with people from Iraq, Iranian refugees and original 10 pound poms,” Mother Moira said.

“I always intended to come home to Sydney but I never made it, so when I had this opportunity to come home and be closer to my family I thought I’d grab it.”

Mother Moira was about 15 when she received the call from God to follow a life into the priesthood. 

But her path was not to be an easy one.

“We were practicing Catholics and I was always drawn to this activity on a sanctuary, but back in those days only boys were allowed to serve at the altar and I was never satisfied with that,” she said.

“But I remained drawn to that ministry and sanctuary and I had this overwhelming sense of God calling me to priestly ministry and, at 15, I remember distinctly saying yes to God and knowing I wanted to do this.

“I was a little bit of a feminist in those days and I really thought we needed to have women ordained. 

“I also thought the Pope would change his mind and I would become a Roman Catholic priest, but that’s not going to happen.”

So with no avenue to follow her calling, Mother Moira became a novice nun with the Sisters of Mercy.

“I never felt that was the call for me so I left.”

Mother Moira’s vocation has never shocked her family, but there were concerns about how she would, in fact, become a priest while practicing as a Catholic.

“I’ve always shared this with my family and there were no ­surprises,” she said.

“I think they wondered how it would happen, but when I found my way they were very excited. 

“I think they saw it as a natural progression for me and they wanted whatever would make me happy.

“And it has made me happy, very happy.”

As a priest, Mother Moira said her own life is often immersed in the lives of others ... from birth to death.

“I think it’s an important ­journey to share and, as part of my duty as a priest, I provide that connection to God through prayer and through the liturgy,” she said.

“I love saying mass and saying my prayers every day and it’s really important to keep that connection with the divine and that’s what priests do, they ­facilitate that connection, that’s our profession and it’s what we do 24 hours, seven days a week.”

Not a lot of rest then. 

But it seems Mother Moira is up for the challenge.

“My aim is to reach out into the community and show that we are not a club,” she said.

“I want to project that the hospitality of God is for all people. 

“I’ve had amazing conversations with Muslims, Buddhists and people of no faith and that doesn’t bother me because God’s love is for everyone whoever they are and that’s what I hope we can do here, to reach out. 

“God really does work in ­mysterious ways.”

GOD'S CALL: Mother Moira, 46, is the new priest of the Anglican Parish of Telarah Rutherford, pictured with her "fur babies" Ambrose and Brigid.

GOD'S CALL: Mother Moira, 46, is the new priest of the Anglican Parish of Telarah Rutherford, pictured with her "fur babies" Ambrose and Brigid.