Both my wife Sheridan and I were born and educated in Newcastle. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, first Adamstown then New Lambton. When 12 I owned the faith my parents had given me. At 16 I moved to Hamilton and over subsequent years took on various roles in PFA including organising one PFA Summer Camp.
Against my choice I learnt the piano. I enjoyed 6 years in Sea Scouts, and played club and school League. In my final year at High School I was a prefect and house captain, I earned a school Senior Sports Award for representing my school in swimming, League and athletics. After the HSC I commenced an apprenticeship in refrigeration mechanics but left 2 years later to enter the Presbyterian ministry. I gained an Arts degree from Newcastle University then a divinity degree from Moore Theological College.
During my Theological training I married long time girlfriend and best friend, Sheridan. Sheridan attended the same Sunday School at New Lambton but we did not know each other. Five years later she visited Scots Kirk Hamilton with some friends and I invited them to the PFA. While her friends left after a few months Sheridan stayed. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour at an Easter camp in 1979.
My first appointment was to Gilgandra Presbyterian Church, a large active church in a small country town. This was a fantastic parish to be sent to. We enjoyed the rural experience (bunny chasing, cray dabbing, shearing, Gilbert and Sullivan. I learnt some useful lessons about church ministry and made many dear friends.
In 1992 I accepted a position as a Chaplain at Scotch College Melbourne working with Graham Bradbeer where we tried to make Jesus attractive and Christianity relevant to the boys, staff and wider community. Being involved with young people and having permission to teach them about Jesus was a great privilege. We enjoyed worshipping at Croydon Hills (with Richard and Rosemary OBrien) and later Canterbury Presbyterian (with Grant and Anne Lawry) churches while in Melbourne.
In 2003 we returned to the Hunter, this time to the East Maitland parish with an older congregation. They were very kind and supportive and God was gracious, the parish was much stronger when we left than when we arrived. I was also able to spend time with my mother before she died and also donate bone stem cells to my brother. Unfortunately this procedure was not successful.
I enjoyed many aspects of school ministry and when an opportunity to work at Scots came up I applied. But school work is now out of my system and I return to parish looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of an inner city ministry. I love water sports, Lindt chocolate and science fiction.
After leaving Kotara High, Sheridan spent 10 years at Westpac. In 1993 she commenced degrees in Teaching and Education. It seemed we were unable to have children so she decided to be a Primary school teacher. In February 1997 Jane was born (ten years later than planned) with great rejoicing. Five and a half years later, Andrew a total shock for us, though not for Jane, who was praying for a sibling was born. This year Sheridan worked as a teachers assistant at the Early Learning Centre at Scots College which she enjoyed. Sheridan loves reading, finding excuses to use fairy lights, cluttering level surfaces, Darrell Lea rocky road and family and friends. She would love to learn the guitar, get more exercise and increase her cooking repertoire to offer edible hospitality.
We have moved 12 times in 25 years and Andrew has moved every year of his life. We are now tired of a gypsy existence.
I am a Christian by compulsion, an evangelical through conviction and a Presbyterian by convenience. I am also happy to be a fool for the Gospel.
St Peters was filled for John Buchanans induction
on November 23, 2010.