anglican focus

The news site of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland: nourishing and connecting our faith community

Q&A with musician, cradle Anglican and new AYCF Director, Elissa Cotroneo

Spotlight Q&A

Meet Elissa Cotroneo and find out about Anglican Youth Children and Families news, and her thoughts on the Voice to Parliament, plans and goals, faith journey and secret skill

Print article

Where do you currently live and where do you worship?

I’m currently living in East Brisbane, right near the Brisbane River. I worship at St Bartholomew’s, Mount Gravatt.

How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?

Since birth! Like many others, I was born into an Anglican family and baptised into the Anglican faith. I have worn a few hats over the years including altar server, musician, children’s lay minister and Ichthus Camp director.

Congratulations on your appointment as the new Director of Anglican Youth, Children and Families. What does your new role involve?

Thanks! My new role involves two main components. The first is managing and organising AYCF’s Ichthus Camps, retreats and other events happening within the Ichthus camping ministry. The second is keeping my finger on the pulse of youth, children and young adult ministry events and opportunities happening across our Diocese.

Elissa and Erica

Elissa recently took over the role of Director of AYCF from Erica Skerman (December 2022)

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

My faith in God encourages me and gives me energy to do life. Despite life’s change and fluidity, I know that God is unchanging. I find peace and comfort in that knowledge, and I hope I can encourage others with that knowledge, too.

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

I am hoping to boost community engagement with AYCF and help to make people aware of what we do. This mainly involves spreading the word about Ichthus Camps and any other events that AYCF helps to run throughout the year.

Elissa Cotroneo

Elissa Cotroneo was commissioned as the new Director of Anglican Youth Children’s and Families’ ministry on 5 October 2022 in the Chapel of The Holy Spirit at St Francis College. She is pictured with The Rev’d Dr Ruth Mathieson (Executive Director of the Ministry Education Commission), Fiona Hammond (Project Officer for FormedFaith) and The Rev’d Richard Browning (Director of Mission at the Anglican Schools Commission).

What is your most memorable Ichthus Camp experience?

We sing a lot of awesome worship songs at camp. I witnessed one particular camper go from really shy and disinterested in worship on the first day of camp to singing at the top of their voice, waving their hands and doing all the actions by the last day! How uplifting for a worship leader to see!

Elissa Cotroneo and Peter Kleinschmidt

Elissa Cotroneo and Peter Kleinschmidt practising worship songs on Primary Ichthus in 2019

What is your favourite scripture and why?

My favourite passage is Hebrews 12.1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I draw lots of hope, encouragement and perseverance from this message.

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

My parents have always inspired me with their faith and supported me with my own. I am blessed to be surrounded by a community of friends who also love Jesus.

Alanah Milne and Elissa Cotroneo

Alanah Milne and Elissa Cotroneo at 2022 Senior Ichthus, right after camp “messy games”

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?

I’ve been fully embracing this theme in 2022 by surrounding myself with people who bring me joy. I love bringing people together over good food and laughter because it always reminds me that above all else, people need each other.

Why are the two Uluru Statement From the Heart reforms, including the Voice to Parliament, so important?

These reforms are crucially important because they call for structural reform, including constitutional recognition, and they will provide Australia’s First Nations peoples with a permanent forum of representation.

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?

The ability to form meaningful connections and assist others within our community is a great strength. The Church must continue to support those who are struggling, have lost their way or who don’t know the love of Christ.

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

I like to go and grab a really good coffee from one of my regular coffee spots, or spend time with my family.

Elissa Cotroneo playing guitar

Elissa enjoys playing her guitar at home

What is your karaoke go-to song?

‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor. My brother and I used to sing this all the time on PlayStation Sing Star.

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

She’s on the Money: take charge of your financial future by Victoria Devine. This fantastic book aims to increase financial literacy among girls and women, and helps them to “take charge of their financial future” by offering saving and investment strategies.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In a shady spot at the beach on a boiling hot Queensland day.

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

I would do some baking or cooking or go for a long walk.

Elissa Cotroneo hiking in Tasmania in 2022

Elissa Cotroneo hiking in Tasmania in 2022

What is your secret skill?

I’m really good at reverse parallel parking!

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?

Mangoes! But only the Kensington Pride ones.

More Spotlight Q&A stories

Loading next article