The Reverend Lenore Parker, centre, the first indigenous ordained person in the 146-year history of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, is presented to the people by her Bishop, the Rt Rev Keith Slater. Congratulating her is Yaegl elder and aunt Lillian Williams.
The Reverend Lenore Parker, centre, the first indigenous ordained person in the 146-year history of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, is presented to the people by her Bishop, the Rt Rev Keith Slater. Congratulating her is Yaegl elder and aunt Lillian Williams.

First Aboriginal Deacon ordained

IT has been a whirlwind of firsts for Lenore Parker.

The Maclean-born woman has become the first Aboriginal person to be ordained in the 146-year history of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton.

Reverend Parker was made a Deacon on Saturday in her Maclean parish church and in another first has had her prayer, linking dreamtime concepts with the Christian Eucharist, included in the Anglican Prayer Book for Australia.

“The occasion has been historical for me in many ways,” she said.

“It is the first time the sacred scriptures have been proclaimed to my people in language within the Anglican Church.”

Continuing a journey that she started more than 20 years ago, the newly titled Rev Parker said it has been a combined effort to get to the roots of where she stands today, which has included her parish family, friends and ancestors.

“It has been a journey of honouring the faith of our ancestors,” she said.

While raising three daughters, Ms Parker represented Aboriginal Anglicans and travelled the world speaking at conferences, attending rallies and acting as an indigenous consultant before taking up theological studies through Nungalinga College in Darwin.

The ceremony was an eclectic blend of traditional liturgy, ancient Aboriginal custom, old-style hymn singing, original contemporary music and was shared by her extended family, church hierarchy, elders of the Yaegl people and more than 200 friends.

Rev Parker will work as a non-stipendiary deacon in Maclean Parish while maintaining active links with Aboriginal people across Australia.



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