Former Catholic priest now in charge of Anglican parish

Former Catholic priest now in charge of Anglican parish

A former Catholic priest has taken the reigns at St John’s Anglican Church in Hervey Bay.

Reverend Allan Paulsen had an atypical start to a career in the ministry, originally being ordained as a Catholic priest in 1978 before resigning and going on to hold a number of corporate management positions in fields as varied as aviation, manufacturing and corrective services.

He was baptised into the Anglican church in 2005 and completed a Master of Theology the following year before broaching the topic of returning to the priesthood with church leaders.

Fortunately, Reverend Paulsen’s Catholic ordainment was recognised by the Anglican church and the new minister began as an associate priest in Brisbane before taking a position at Tambourine Mountain that he held for the next six years.

A tumultuous start to the new year at St John’s Anglican Church has not dampened his enthusiasm about starting as parish priest.

Rev Paulsen was at the Doolong Road church when a car smashed through the front of the building early in January, and was just settling into his residence after a commissioning service on the January 11 when wild weather brought extensive damage to the Fraser Coast region.

Despite the unfortunate series of events, they have only bolstered Rev Paulsen’s commitment to his new parish which he chose because of its reputation as an area with a “lovely community spirit”.

“There’s a lot of ministry going on and it’s a parish that’s already got a lot of life and commitment to the church,” Rev Paulsen said.

“I’m also excited about the proximity to Fraser Coast Anglican College because, like all churches today, getting young people involved is a challenge, so I’ve been talking to the principal to see how we can work together to make a linkage for the betterment of the whole community.”

The father of three said corporate experience, as well as his background as a Catholic priest, has only added to the services he is able to offer the parish.

“My background has helped me in dealing with people who have had difficulties in life, as well as dealing with adults to help them use their skills to better their lives.

“I’m certainly looking forward to Hervey Bay because it strikes me as having a lovely community spirit – strangers say hello to you in a way that doesn’t happen in other places.”

Rev Paulsen replaces former Bundaberg priest Reverend Robert Perry who has retired.