CLARENCE Valley celebrates the first Grafton woman to be accepted into the role of Archdeacon this morning as Reverend Gail Hagon of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton takes on the most senior position in the life of the church.
"While I accept my new role with honour, in some ways I'm not about hierarchical structure," Rev Hagon said.
"I am passionate about what I do and what I believe in."
This is not the first time Rev Hagon has been a trailblazer.
In 1995 Rev Hagon was the first woman in Grafton to become a priest and soon after became the first to take charge of her own parish, which required the reverend and her family to relocate to Wauchope.
At the time Rev Hagon told The Daily Examiner she didn't believe that gender was an issue and she continues to maintain that position.
"It's like most professions, for some people it's not a gender thing and I have found many to be very accepting," she said.
"Others can't get past the barrier. But personally I feel loved and appreciated by my parish. I believe every- one brings gifts and I treasure the gifts I have been given."
Rev Hagon said one of the key areas of focus at the moment for the church was finding new ways to connect with the wider community.
"We need to redefine our place in the community and ask how we can serve the people best to enhance community life," se said.
"I think for me it's about getting to know people and exploring where God is for them."
A service will be held at Grafton Cathedral from 9.30am today with Bishop Keith Slater commissioning three archdeacons, including Rev Hagon, and four mission-support officers who will be scattered throughout the diocese.
Everyone is welcome.