Farewell to old friends, and hello to new ones

As the secular year draws to a close, we’ve had a few personnel changes at the Abrahamic Council.  Jenny Chalmers has stepped down as Christian Co-chair, as she has taken up a position as the Vicar at St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Taupo. Jenny will stay on as a member of the Council, although she will participate remotely most of the time. Taking up the position of Christian Co-chair is Ron Bennett, a Catholic Priest who has been on the Council for the last several years.

Sister Catherine Jones (Catholic) leaves us to take up a posting in London. We will miss her, as she has contributed so much to the Council over the years, and wish her well in her new position.

We also farewelled Father Aprem Pithyou from the Ancient Church of the East (Assyrian Orthodox) earlier in the year, who is retiring from the Council after many years of service. We will miss his gentle smile and keen perspective of someone who comes from a region where our religions meet in complex ways.

Nick Polaschek, a Catholic layperson who has published numerous articles in refereed journals on topics related to the delivery of health services, joins us as our newest Christian member.

We also welcome Marilyn Garson, our newest Jewish member. Marilyn has returned to Aotearoa recently from Gaza, where she worked most recently on a UN programme for creating jobs through business outsourcing. Prior to that, she established social enterprises and worked in economic development in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and American e-commerce.

So we have a number of new faces and new perspectives in the Council.

At this time, we’d like to wish all of our Christian friends a Merry Christmas, our Jewish friends a happy Chanukah, and to everyone a restful break to enjoy the summer in good spirits.