ARARAT - Reverend doctor Tim Gaden has arrived at the Ararat Anglican Church with energy and excitement for what the future holds.
The 49-year-old priest has an academic background and has spent time as the Ballarat Bishop's Chaplain for theological education and also been head of the facility of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at Ballarat Grammar.
Revd Dr Gaden said he has plenty of work ahead of him as he settles into life in Ararat with his wife.
"I came for a tree change, but that sort of sells short the work that there is to do here," he said.
"I think all the churches have an awful lot of trust to build back with the community and I think especially in the last three or four years the news about the church in the paper has not been good.
"I think there is a lot of rebuilding of relationships and trust to do everywhere, including in Ararat as well.
"The church is ageing as parishioners are a pretty old demographic now and a lot of people are worried about what the future holds, so I am keen to work with some of the kids and younger adults in the town to see what relationships we can build there."
Revd Dr Gaden said he is looking forward to continuing the work that the Ararat church has established with Anglicare, which provides support to 70,000 children, young people and families every year through a range of services.
"I think there is more scope for the parish and Anglicare to do things together, so I am looking forward to that as well," he said.
"I think it is time for the church to give back to the community in a way that it hasn't been seen to do that in the last sort of while.
"I am keen to work with the primary schools and other kind of groups to see what type of things the church could contribute to that younger community."
Revd Dr Gaden is a father of two children aged 12 and 14 years old and was ordained at the age 25.
Priesthood is something that runs in the family.
"My father was a Anglican priest and so was my grandfather and great grandfather," Revd Dr Gaden said.
"I tried to do something else for a while, but they say that if it is for you then God gets you in the end.
"You never want to do what your folks do, as a teenager and into my early 20s I didn't want to do anything of what my folks were interested in, but eventually God got his hooks into me and this is what I was made to do."
The Ararat Anglican Church will hold a Christmas carols service on Sunday, December 22 at 7pm, followed by a service on Christmas Eve at 10pm and Christmas Day at 9.30am.
Willaura's Anglican Church will also hold a service on Christmas Eve at 7.30pm.
"I am really pleased to be starting in Ararat especially around this time of year," Revd Dr Gaden said.
"Christmas is a fantastic time to start in a new parish because Christmas is about new starts, new beginnings and new hope."
A service will be held tonight beginning at 7.30pm in Ararat where the Bishop of Ballarat will install Reverend Doctor Tim Gaden to the Ararat Anglican Church.