Eastern Eyre Peninsula Anglican church has a new woman priest, following the ordination of Hellena Thom at Cleve on January 28.
Reverend Thom is a well known local woman having raised her family with her late husband, Reg, and both have been dedicated members of the Cleve Anglican Church.
Mrs Thom became a licenced lay preacher several years ago and from then helped serve many church services at Cleve, Cowell and Kimba.
She agreed to commit herself further to the church as a priest and has studied since to qualify.
On January 28, she was ordained in the Cleve District Hall by Willochran Bishop John Stead.
The Cleve District Hall was hired for the ordination as the organisers were unsure whether the small Anglican church was big enough to house the unknown number of people attending.
The hall was all but full with more than 70 people, plus a group of about 15 priests including 12 Anglicans from throughout South Australia, plus local priests from other denominations were present.
The local Anglicans had prepared the hall with suitable COVID-19 seating distances and decorated the hall with flowers and lighting from the temporary alter. The organ for the occasion was transported from the local Anglican Church to the hall and played by former local Marie Irrgang.
A general church service was conducted, after which Mrs Thom was presented to the Bishop to be ordained. Bishop outlined details of duties Rev Thom should conduct and called on other priests to lay their hands together on and help bless Rev Thom for her new calling.
After the dedicated service, the Bishop delivered to Rev Thom a copy of the Holy Sacraments, a chalice and a paten, saying "take authority to preach the word on God, and to minister the holy sacraments in the congregation where you are appointed. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained. Be a faithful minister of the word of God and of his holy sacraments."
In her new duties, Reverend Thom conducted the communion part of the service for all those present and said she felt honoured and it was quite an achievement considering the number of people.
After the service, a luncheon was held at Cleve Hotel where people congratulated Reverend Thom personally.
She said she would continue serving the Eastern Eyre Anglican parish, including all Christian services such as holy communion which was not available without a visiting priest for some time.