The Rev. Clifford Rothero was appointed to the Parish in 1951 and was made a Canon of St. Peter’s Cathedral, Armidale the day following his induction. He was at that time one of the youngest Canons in the whole Church of England. The Venerable Archdeacon Rothero was a driving force as Vicar of the Parish for a period of 18 years.
It was during his ministry that the vestry room at the back of the Church was dismantled and the old floor removed. The youth group of the Parish re-floored the nave with tallow wood and this was a massive undertaking. The Sanctuary was then extended and enlarged by removal of the choir stalls. The ‘white wall’ was previously behind the lectern and in front of the Prayer Desk. It was about two feet (60cms) high with an opening a little off centre for access to the Sanctuary.
According to one of the long serving members of the congregation, “A purpose of the wall was to hide the legs of the ladies of the Choir who used to sit in three pews running east to west on the northern side. With decreasing choir members the removal of the wall received little opposition. He was considered to be rather outspoken and hence not too hugely popular with everyone, but a greater psychologist would be hard to find. He considered that a strong male attendance was essential in the congregation. He had the wonderful gift of relating the current affairs to the Scriptures.
Some of his observances cropped up regularly in his sermons, making the topic of the day easier to remember. Here are a few of these: Go to Church first and the rest of the day is yours. It’s not a matter of how much you’ve got, but what you do with it. It’s not so much a matter of what happens to you but how you let it affect you.
The Lord never expected us to be a lot of pious frumps. It is not that money is the root of all evil, but the love of money. “Whatever Will Be Will Be” –a Doris Day song- is the most blasphemous song ever written. Whatever will be will NOT be – life is what you make it”.
In 1956 the Venerable Archdeacon became the first Vicar of Glen Innes to fill the post of Archdeacon of Armidale, succeeding the Venerable Archdeacon E.H. Stammer in that position. Later in 1964 he was appointed Vicar General. As a member of the Liturgical Commission he was charged with assisting in the preparation of the Australian Prayer Book. Ill health was experienced during his retirement yet he remained a great worker for Church unity.
The Examiner reported on the 4th December 1979 that an appeal for a stained glass window be launched in memory of Archdeacon Rothero. The Examiner stated that: “Christian love shone out of him and the warmth of his welcome, his whimsical humour, together with his dislike of cant and stuffiness were his lovable characteristics.” In 1977 the Venerable Archdeacon Rothero passed away and his ashes were interred in the southern garden adjoining the Church.