By Mick Jensen
Rev. Al Drye is the Anglican Parish of Rakaia’s first full-time appointment in 31 years and he will share his time between churches at Rakaia, Chertsey, Dorie and Barrhill.
Originally from England, Rev Drye has been in New Zealand for 14 years and has been involved in youth and children’s work for the church.
For the last two years he has worked part time for the Rakaia Parish while completing theology studies through Otago University.
Rev Drye said he was now an ordained curate and was excited to be taking up the full time role.
He was currently looking for a house for himself, his wife Naomi, and his seven children in Rakaia.
Three of his children would attend Rakaia School, two Ashburton college, and two others were at university.
Rev Drye said he worked on a farm belonging to Alan Pye at Temuka as an 18-year-old in 1989, before returning to England to complete an agriculture degree.
After a stint as a primary school teacher, he had decided to follow his vocation in the church and after bible college had enjoyed a three year stint as a youth worker in Plymouth, Devon.
“I became a christian at university and that changed my perspective. I still love what the farming life offers, but I wanted to engage more with people, particularly with kids and youth.”
Rakaia was a good fit for him because of his farming background and also his youth work, which the church was keen to see expanded here.
Rev. Drye said when he started at St Marks, Rakaia two years ago the congregation was between 10-15 people and was now between 20-40.
He would offer services at a different church in the parish each week and discussions were also under way to develop an afternoon/evening church in Dorie and Chertsey.
“I’m looking forward to working with community groups and church communities to see how we can help the people of Rakaia more.”
Rev. Al Drye helped direct a nativity play in Dorie on Sunday and will be on hand for a Christmas tree lighting event at St Mark’s on December 19.