In an exciting development for the Anglican Parish of Parkes, local women Natalie Quince and Liesel Walters have been ordained as a priest and a deacon respectively.
In one of his last official duties before retiring as Bishop of the diocese, Ian Palmer ordained Natalie and Liesel along with Carl Palmer from Wellington, also as a deacon, at a service in Wellington in April.
Both ladies say their new roles in the church are a natural progression in their ministries. Natalie, a former lawyer, cut back to part time work five years ago to concentrate on her work with Anglicare helping to establish St George's Sustainable Living Hub.
Two years later she resigned from the law firm to focus more fully on her ministry.
She was ordained as a deacon in November 2017 and last year served in an honorary capacity in the parishes of Forbes and Cumnock.
She is now licensed as Honorary Priest Assistant in Parkes Parish, with special responsibility for Anglicare in the parish.
Liesel has served as the Chaplain for BaptistCare Home Services in the Central West and at BaptistCare Niola Aged Care Centre in Parkes for the last nine years.
A graduate of the Education For Ministry course and also the Listen Into Life program as a spiritual director, she has served as a licensed lay minister in the Parkes parish for the past decade and is now licensed as an Honorary Deacon Assistant in the parish.
Natalie said her journey has always had Anglicare at its heart.
"I came from a family law background where I was really struggling to see how we could possibly do more for broken families and broken lives and the impact that it has intergenerationally, particularly for children who don't end up with any sense of security in all of the difficulties they struggle with," Natalie said.
"Although I will continue to work in my role with Anglicare, becoming a priest has added another layer to me having more responsibility for the actual congregation and the people within the church."
Liesel said becoming a deacon has been a culmination of a lot of hard work.
"To me it's a gift from the church in recognition of the work that I've been doing for ten years now," she said
"I am passionate about this community, I love it and I love people so for me a deacon's role is perfect for me because I am that bridge between the community and the church."