A 40-year journey reached a new beginning with Julie Mackay-Rankin’s ordination as Minister of the Word, and induction as Pastoral Care Manager at The Wesley Hospital. During her ten years at The Wesley, Julie has touched the lives of many past patients and bereaved families.
From 1977 Julie’s call to Ministry was through hospital chaplaincy, particularly in caring for people whose lives are coming to an end in palliative care and oncology. As Pastoral Care Manager at The Wesley Hospital, Julie now supports a team of 50 chaplains who offer support to all patients and their families, and staff.
“It’s about shepherding people, not directing them, but to be beside them as they work through whatever they need to work through, so they are not alone,” reflects Julie.
“Change brings grief. There’s always loss when someone’s health is jeopardised, or when they’re going through birth, and obviously at the end of life - that’s where perspective comes in and people learn what’s really important. It’s an incredibly privileged role.”
UnitingCare Group Executive of Health Michael Krieg, The Wesley Hospital General Manager (Acting) Cheryl Clayton, Director of Corporate Services Fergus Pollock, Executive Assistant Rosa Deane and Clinical Nurse Manager Kerrin Houston, participated in the service of Ordination and shared the news with colleagues:
“Congratulations Julie and thank you for all the work you and your team do to care and support our patients, families and staff. Your work is such an important part of all that we do” - Cheryl Clayton.
Reverend Julie Mackay-Rankin’s response to ordination as a Minster of the Word:
I suspect I hold some kind of record in relation to the time it takes to respond to a call to ordained ministry - 1976 was a long, long time ago. It was in 1976 that I experienced a call on my life to serve and care for God’s people, but it was to be another 43 years before I could fully respond to that call.
A genuine call on our lives does not and will not, go away, for God knows each of us by name and that each of our names is written on the palm of God’s hand. Often, however, this call needs to be put on hold when circumstances detour us from the path we were meant to follow.
One of the many detours in my path towards ordination occurred in 2009 when my son, who was serving his country, was accidentally killed. This was when this fulfilling a call from God needed to be put on hold. God had not finished calling but I was graciously allowed the space to grieve.
In time, the call re-emerged and here I am now; the call is fulfilled through the persistence of those around me, the love of my beautiful family and the daily reminder from God who says ‘yes, you are good enough’ in the times when I don’t feel worthy of this call.
So, your age, your past, your circumstances or simply a lack of confidence in your own capacity, will not deter God from speaking into your life.
I’m not advocating shelving a call for over 40 years, but if that is the case for you, it is never too late to test and discern, with the Church, where God may be leading you.
My friends, do not be afraid of a call from God to serve, because all we are asked to do is to listen, to discern, to trust and surrender to the call. God will take it from there and show you the path that has already been prepared for you.