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Q&A with second-generation priest, cricket fanatic, Iona Community member and home brewer, The Rev’d Patrick King

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Patrick King and find out what Advent means to him, why he is glad that St Augustine’s has a big lawn and about his favourite childhood memory and his inspirational idea for celebrating ‘Being Together: Embracing Joy’ in 2022

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The Rev’d Patrick King is a UK-born priest who recently arrived in Brisbane after ministering in Fremantle, WA. He is enjoying getting to know people across our Diocesan community before he commences in the role as Priest-in-Charge of St Augustine’s, Hamilton in January.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church?

I am a child of the vicarage, so I grew up in the Church of England. My father is a retired parish priest. I spent some of my youth processing that and coming back to faith on my own terms before then pursuing my vocation. I was ordained in 2010 and initially served in parishes in Salisbury and Oxford Dioceses before moving to Australia five years ago to serve in Fremantle as Rector.

The Rev’d Patrick King immediately after his ordination to the Diaconate in Salisbury Cathedral, Michaelmas in 2010

What are your current roles and what does your role involve?

I am looking forward to commencing in the role of parish priest at St Augustine’s, Hamilton in January. In the meantime, I am part-time Associate Priest at Holy Trinity, Fortitude Valley, where I am assisting with services and a couple of projects. I am also getting to know people across the Diocesan community, including other priests in the Deanery, Parishes and other Mission Agencies Commission staff and St Francis College clergy and staff.

What are you most looking forward to when you commence in your St Augustine’s, Hamilton role?

I am looking forward to meeting the congregation and the wider community and walking alongside them in their journeys of faith. The onset of COVID-19 brought into focus our need to engage more in the digital space and so I am looking forward to exploring how we can do this when I start in the parish and see how it might aid our worship, community-building and discipleship.

What have been the key challenges of your ministry so far and how have you worked through these?

Being part of the community in Fremantle during COVID-19 and supporting the parish with online, and then hybrid, worship and discipleship made saying farewell not easy. Useful conversations with my spiritual director, an active prayer life and conversations with parishioners helped smooth the transition.

What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?

There is going to be a lot of listening and getting to know people over cups of coffee and glasses of wine!

2022’s Diocesan theme is ‘Being Together: Embracing Joy’. What are some practical ways that we can celebrate the way differences help to make us whole and the importance of diversity in our unity?

In the Church of England there is The Church Times Cricket Cup. It is the oldest limited overs knock-out cricket competition in the world. The cup is all about clergy from different backgrounds celebrating being on the same team despite their ecclesial differences. I wonder if there is a similar thing we could do here, forming teams across geographical lines, such as Deaneries. It wouldn’t necessarily have to be cricket, but in an Ashes year I think cricket would be a particularly apt choice. A one-day event with a mix of clergy and lay people and genders and so on, would certainly help build on our Diocesan camaraderie in a joyful celebration of togetherness.

The Rev’d Patrick King not threatening the scorers with this hoick at Jesus College, Cambridge in 2010’s Easter Term

What advice do you have for people thinking about entering into ordained ministry?

Spend time following your parish priest or chaplain and see and experience what they do. Keep pushing at doors to see if they open. And, pray hard.

What does Advent mean to you?

When I was a boy scout, we were constantly told to be prepared. In the scouts, this basically meant carrying a pen knife and learning to tie knots. If the context of our faith, we need to be constantly spiritually prepared for the constantly arriving kingdom of God. The season of Advent directs our prayers, worship and lives intentionally towards that coming.

The theme for the third week of Advent is “Being a Spirit-filled people” – what does this mean to you?

We often hear talk of being “Spirit-led”, but I almost prefer this image of being “Spirit-filled”. Of course we are led, guided and nurtured by the Spirit in our lives, but it is that gift of Pentecost, the indwelling, the filling up of the Holy Spirit that strengthens and encourages – less some external ‘other’ force, more God’s presence inhabiting our very selves. Recognising that we are “Spirit-filled” is also to be reminded of our value, our potential to effect change as Christ’s body in the world.

Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?

Having grown up as a child of the manse, it was only at university when I was away from family and church rhythms, that I was able to find relationship with Christ for myself. I rediscovered my faith on a chapel retreat on the holy isle of Lindisfarne when I was at university in the early 2000s. Christ lights the way for me in the same way that the lighthouse on Lindisfarne guards, protects and shows the way for journeying into the unknown.

A young Patrick King playing with his little brother Calum in 1988

How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?

In ministry, it is the daily pattern of Morning and Evening Prayer and lifting things up to God that frame the day for me, and prepare me to encounter the living Christ in everyone I meet, be that in pastoral visits or out on the golf course!

What is your favourite scripture and why?

I currently have an attraction to the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew where we are given Jesus’ lineage, because it absolutely plants Jesus in the centre of humanity with a family tree. It’s tempting to skim over this part of Matthew because it seems like a long tedious list of names, but it’s central to Christology for me.

What person of faith inspires you the most and why?

George MacLeod is up there. He is the founder of the Iona Community. He came from a place of privilege to minister in the tenement blocks of Glasgow during the Great Depression. He had a heart for training clergy so they could care for people. He set up Iona Abbey to get labourers back into work during the Depression, while at the same time creating an intentional incarnational ministry. He also had a huge heart for social justice and the environment. I must be the most far-flung member of the community currently.

What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?

I’m with St Laurence on this one – the people are the treasures of the Church. When we work together we carry out marvellous acts witnessing to the presence of Christ among us.

What are the primary challenges currently encountered by the Church and what is the best way to overcome these for the benefit of our communities?

One of the primary challenges is relevance and our obsession with it. Sometimes we have a great desire to be more relevant and in seeking after that, we can lose or forget what it means to be authentic followers of Christ in the world.

What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?

I spend time with my wife Sarah and I walk the dog. I recently joined a home brewing association and I enjoy a round of golf. I am also looking forward to seeing England regain the Ashes!

The Rev’d Patrick King in his competitive barbecuing days in Perth on a Sunday in Lent in 2017

If you could have a billboard with any text on it, what would it say and why?

“Be kind” because it’s always a good start.

What day would you like to relive and why?

My wedding day! I married Queensland-born Sarah in April in Holy Trinity, Fortitude Valley. I would relive it as it was a fantastic day, but I would make a few changes. Sadly my UK-based family weren’t able to attend in person, and the lockdown in Perth meant that we had lots of guests quarantining in a Brisbane hotel, including the Archbishop of Perth!

Sarah and Patrick King enjoying a drink in the Swan Valley, WA in 2021

What book have you given away most as a gift and why?

It would be Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life by Christopher Jamison because it is one of the most useful books I have ever read.

Where do you do your best thinking?

It used to be when I was mowing the lawn – because it’s one of those satisfying jobs where I can see what is behind me and what is ahead of me so my mind is freed up to make sense of the world. Of late, I have not had a lawn to mow, so my best thinking is done while walking the dog. I am pleased to see that St Augustine’s has a lot of lawn to mow!

If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?

I watch the DVD of the 2005 Ashes!

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

I got swooped by a magpie for the first time. I was told by a local that if you get to know the local miner birds and magpies, they get to know your face and not go for you. It was while saying good morning to one magpie that I was swooped from behind by another. I have also discovered that while miner birds don’t look particularly vicious, they have very sharp beaks and come at you like an arrow.

What makes you nostalgic and why?

Proper Marmite because it’s a taste of the old country.

If you found yourself on a deserted island, what three things would you choose to have with you?

A rake, a sand wedge and a golf ball – I’d use the time to perfect my bunker play.

What’s your best childhood memory?

Learning to sail at age 11 with my dad in the Isles of Scilly, which is considered England’s tropical paradise even though it is only marginally warmer than the rest of the country.

Editor’s note: The Rev’d Patrick King will be commissioned as Priest-in-Charge of St Augustine’s, Hamilton on the evening of Friday 21 January 2022. Please keep an eye on the Announcements page for more information.

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