On Sunday 9th September, the closure service for Rev Dr Hawea Jackson was conducted at Deniliquin Uniting Church. Representing the Presbytery were Rev Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley. Hawea, along with his wife Janice and family, has been in placement at Deniliquin since November 2012, for most of that time also with responsibility for the Southern Newell congregation. This was Hawea’s first placement in Australia, having come from ministry in Niue and theologically trained in Dunedin, New Zealand. In the last 12 months, Hawea has been accepted as a recognised minister in the Uniting Church of Australia. His next placement will be with the Rotuman congregation in Sydney.
Following the service, Hawea’s extended family hosted Deniliquin congregation members (and Myra Cowell from Finley Uniting Church) to a luncheon in the church hall. Speeches of appreciation were made by a number of people, including Pauline Allitt, Chairperson of the Deniliquin congregation, Bruce Driver, a congregational elder and Ian Bathgate, who presented the Jackson family with gifts. Added entertainment came from the younger male members of the Jackson family, who presented a lively Niuean haka! We learned that 10 members of the extended Jackson family will continue to reside in Deniliquin having made their home there. So, it seems very likely that Hawea and Janice will maintain their links with this very vibrant Deniliquin congregation. May God’s blessings rest with Hawea and Janice in their new placement and sincere thanks to the Deniliquin Uniting Church for the care and support that they extended to their minister over many years.