In 1997 the Rev. Andrew Newman, with his wife Margie and three boys arrived from Bundarra to take over the Parish, while the Rev. Martin Trotman took up a position as Chaplain for the Armidale University.
In that year a bookcase situated at the rear of the Church, was dedicated in memory of William Murray Boyd-Law by his family.
Our previous Vicar, the Rev. Lindsay Newby had been appointed as the Very Rev. Vicar General of Armidale. He was invited to Glen Innes to re-dedicate the Memorial Window following its restoration in 1999. The majority of the funds for this project was raised by generous donations and a War Veteran’s Memorial Grant of $1 500.
Pinkett Church was closed in 1998 due to falling attendances but a new home was found for it. The building was moved to the Glen Innes Correctional Centre on the Gwydir Highway. The Correctional Centre was in need of a Sacred Space- a building that could be used by members of various faiths and the old Pinkett Church was ideal for this purpose. Mr Jeff Paul, an Overseer at the Centre with the aid of inmates, transferred and completely refurbished the Church. Mr George Debus, the New South Wales State Minister for Corrective Services & Emergency Services, officially declared the Sacred Space open after an Aboriginal smoking ceremony had greeted the officials who included the Governor of the Centre, Mr John Heffernan, invited guests and inmates. The re-dedication by the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Armidale Peter Chiswell occurred on the 16th November 1998. The plaque found on the internal eastern wall states that the Sacred Space is:
“A facility dedicated to meditation and worship – an oasis of tranquillity in a hostile environment for both inmates and Staff.”
The Rev. Richard Clementson took over the Prison Chaplaincy for a number of years.
An upgrading of the Parish Hall and the maintenance of the Bell Tower required the attention of Parish Council. The kitchen in the Hall received a $5 200 uplift while the quote for the Bell Tower was $45 000. Fundraising was providing 28% of the Church’s income in 1999.
At Christmas time it was decided to floodlight the Church window for a month leading up to the Christmas season. The floodlit Star of Bethlehem positioned on top of the Bell Tower was Mrs Pam Parker’s initiative and was constructed by Mr Colin Lute.
In 2001 home groups were formed on the initiative of the Rev. Andrew Newman. These groups commenced with Alpha Courses thus offering members an opportunity to further extend their Christian understanding.
The Rev. Mark Taylor remained at the Church to assist the Rev. Andrew Newman. Following the Rev. Mark Taylor’s resignation the Rev. John Page was appointed as a part time Assistant Minister to help with the demands of the Parish.
When the Curatage, also known as the Cottage, became vacant it was used for various group activities. One room was allocated to the Anglican Counselling Service.
Another initiative introduced by the Rev. A. Newman was the appointment of Mrs Carol Shannon, Mrs Valerie Geach, Mrs Miriam Dadley and Mrs Una Biddle as Assistant Honorary Chaplains. These ladies continue to perform valuable work in the Retirement Nursing Homes of Roseneath and Glenwood.
In 2002 it was announced that Rev. Martin Trotman had become the Venerable Archdeacon of Armidale.
The cattle scheme was wound up in 2004 due to a number of factors.
In 2005 the Parish was saddened to hear of the death of the Rt. Rev. David Bowden, Bishop of Bendigo, Victoria. Mr Sam Cave was authorised to develop a garden to his memory on the southern side of the Church.
A new sound system was researched and purchased through funds acquired by the catering committees. An extra feature was the placing of a hearing loop. A bequest from Mrs Monica Schweppes allowed for the custom built system to be securely housed. Two Church members, David McCartney and Neil Shannon were able to install the system. To add comfort, pew seat cushions were donated by Mr and Mrs Frank Simes and some also were purchased from accumulated funds of Anglican Ladies Guild.
For many years Mr Reg Blunt has been a lay preacher and has served on Parish Council for many years in varied capacities, taking a lead role as a fete co-ordinator and as the Diocesan Synod representative. For twenty years he held the position of Secretary of the Diocesan Synod. The work of Mr Reg Blunt was acknowledged at an Annual General Meeting.
The ‘Saturday at Six’ service was started in the early part of the Rev. Andrew Newman’s time. Having grown substantially, the ‘Saturday at Six’ initiative was reviewed and it was decided to transfer it to the 9:30am Sunday service.
At this time the Vicarage was again in need of repairs. The question was asked whether to sell the Vicarage and build a modern brick building with the proceeds or raise the finance to upgrade the dwelling. Modern requirements had put Parish Councils under pressure to provide suitable, regulated accommodation. The Vicarage being an Edwardian house of historical, social, cultural and architectural importance is described by the Heritage Officer Mr Graham Wilson OAM as:
“It is one of Glen Innes’ finest buildings worthy of careful conservation.”
In December 2006 the Rev. Andrew Newman and family were appointed to Tamworth. With the house vacant for a period before the appointment of a new minister the Vicarage received a coat of paint and new carpet. The wonderful volunteer input by members of the congregations was in itself an experience. There was no more talk about selling the old building.
Mrs Una Biddle followed up the publication of her first book “Universe” which was a wonderful success with “To God Be The Glory” – a book of religious verse.