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Introducing the EFAC Victoria Training Officer
reprinted from the Autumn 2007 edition of Essentials

  Richard Trist started as the second EFAC Victoria Training Officer earlier this year. He spoke with Gavin Ward, the Chair of EFAC (Vic) and Wei-Han Kuan, Editor of Essentials.  
  WHK Richard, you've just been appointed the new EFAC Victoria Training Officer. Tell us about yourself, and where you've been in ministry before this role.
  RT I've had about 20 years in ministry in various places. But let me start at the beginning. I was converted when I finished high school in Sydney, through my church fellowship group. Then I did 4 years at the University of New South Wales, studying science and education; then went teaching for 4 years in Balranald and Griffith.

While I was there I became convicted that I should be moving towards full-time Christian ministry and took up a role as CMS Victoria's Youth Officer, and then started training at Ridley College.

Since I was ordained I've worked as a curate in St John's Camberwell, then my first job as priest-in-charge was St John's Cranbourne, then 4 years at St Hilary's Kew as Senior Associate Minister, then 4 years in the UK as Director of Pastoring at All Souls' Langham Place. And I've spent the last 6 years at St Mark's Camberwell.

  WHK That's a real breadth of experience, isn't it?  
  RT Yes, I suppose that's what's attracted me to this role, because I thought I've had a bit of rural experience as a schoolteacher – so I understand some of those issues. And I've spent a bit of time trying to grow a smaller church in outer Melbourne; a bigger church in inner city London; and then a relatively normal suburban church.  
  WHK Gavin, Richard isn't going to do things exactly the way his predecessor Steve Abbott did. How do you think the Training Officer role is evolving?  
  GW Well, Steve Abbott's ministry was very important in establishing a 'physical' presence for EFAC Victoria.  His support and encouragement for ordinands, curates and those in their first Parish as Priest-in-Charge was a new development for EFAC Victoria. His ability to make connections with clergy in rural Victoria has provided a solid foundation for Richard to build upon.

Richard's role will be slightly different, as he will be able to devote more time to EFAC work and we hope spend more time in rural Victoria and nationally, than Steven was able.

  WHK Richard?  
  RT I see a number of components to the role. I'll be working part-time at Ridley College as the Director of Field Education, which basically means helping students find church placements. But it will give me very good contact with those who are candidates for ordination into Anglican ministry. And hopefully that personal relationship will carry forward into when their curacies and so on. I'll also to help set up peer and cluster groups because I can't do it all myself of course.  
  GW Yes, that connection with Ridley College remains a critical component of the job. Establishing those relationships with ordinands links Richard into the future leadership of the church. But it also enables him to encourage rural clergy and lay people to consider undertaking Ridley's Distance Learning Courses. That will provide a mechanism for them to study and prepare for ministry in their own contexts.  
  WHK What about the Tasmanian connection that I've heard a bit about?  
  GW EFAC Victoria wants to encourage those in ministry, whether lay or ordained, throughout Victoria and Tasmania, so that will also be part of Richard's brief. In particular his role will include encouraging metropolitan evangelical churches to support his position, thus supporting brothers and sisters in Christ in rural Victoria and Tasmania. He will also be available for specific national roles, like our next National Conference in Melbourne in 2008.  
  WHK Richard you're unique in being the only paid EFAC worker in the country – what's the significance of that for you?  
  RT Well it means that there's someone who's a bit of a conduit and networker for evangelical ministry Australia-wide. We've got Glenn Davies as the EFAC Australia chair: he's great but he's flat out with other ministry as well, so it's useful to have a full-time EFAC person. It just means there's somebody being paid to try and encourage evangelical ministry and networks throughout the country. There are certainly many dioceses where evangelicals feel isolated, and so I'm just someone they can have a talk to, put them on a prayer list, give them some contacts, send them some resources etc..  
  WHK Richard, you've just started, what are some of your biggest challenges so far and how can the EFAC community pray for you?  
  RT A couple of challenges. First, just linking into the networks that Steve has already developed, getting around and meeting all the people. Then, secondly, setting up appropriate structures for growth. The work can be huge, so 'How do you do it so that's its not all up to you?' So thinking about how to consolidate those networks. And thirdly, growing them in a way that is sustainable. And I'm also trying to think through my strengths and experiences and seeing what it is that I can bring to this role.

So the prayer is for lots of wisdom and opportunities for good gospel ministry.

  WHK Gavin, any closing words?  
  GW EFAC Victoria is very excited by Richard's appointment! We're looking forward with anticipation to what God will do through Richard's ministry over the next few years. Please support him and this ministry.  

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