St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Geraldine has a new minister.
The Rev Alistair McNaughton has moved to the South Canterbury town from Kaikoura with his family to take up the role.
Mr McNaughton said after seven years at St Paul’s Church in Kaikoura he had decided to move to take up the role to provide a slightly less rural life for his three children.
He said the family had already been thinking about moving from the North Canterbury town before the 7.8-magnitude earthquake in November 2016.
The earthquake damaged roads into the town, with the only access via an inland route from Hanmer Springs until December last year, when the coastal state highway route from Christchurch to Picton reopened.
Mr McNaughton took up church ministry in his mid-20s with a background in youth and social work, as well as nursing.
“[I had] a sense of God’s calling.”
Although he was working in a Presbyterian church, he said he viewed himself as a Christian rather than specifically a Presbyterian Christian.
However, he liked the sense of Christian spirituality in the Presbyterian Church and the process it took to become a minister – as well as the denomination’s “accountability” for their staff.
Mr McNaughton, his wife Catherine and their three children had only arrived in Geraldine last week but he was looking forward to becoming part of the community, as well as doing some hunting and tramping.
Mr McNaughton replaces the Rev Ian Hyslop who retired in 2015 after 20 years at the church. He took his first Sunday service at the weekend.