ARARAT - Colin Honey isn't your average minister and his congregation at St Andrews Uniting Church in Ararat wouldn't have it any other way.
The new minister flies gliders, drives an old MG, plays music, enjoys good wine, and spends his holidays in the world's top university teaching bioethics.
Reverend Honey said there is still plenty to learn about Ararat - but so far he likes what he's seen.
"I've had just as many surprises as confirmation of forecasts since I conducted my first service in March," he said.
"It is a bigger and more vocal community than I expected, with a depth of history.
"You can't underestimate the importance of the town as a regional centre and tourist destination on the way to the Grampians."
Reverend Honey said Ararat is different from his past experiences, as the people involved in their community end up devoting a lot of their time to it.
His last parish was at Yarraville in Melbourne: he was named Citizen of the Year for his work with people of other faiths and cultures.
"I'm surprised at the variety of activities on offer and the amount of people that apply for positions of leadership. I was shocked to see so much competition when a vacancy arose on council," he said.
Reverend Honey said he would begin working to strengthen the relationship between the community and the church and praised the enormous amount of effort people already put towards achieving what are positive outcomes for not just themselves but their town.
"The cooperation between the churches is something to behold. I had the Catholic and Anglican priests as well as representatives of the Church of Christ and Salvation Army all come to my induction," Reverend Honey said.
"That was just proof of the fact that people involved in religion in this town are open to Christians of all denominations and to sharing their lives with other faiths."
Reverend Honey has encouraged everyone in the community to continue to be vocal with their views.
"Often the most interesting Christians are those that are radical and sceptical, on the fringe themselves, because anyone can be a holy Joe," he said.
Reverend Honey said a struggle the church faces is encouraging more young families to become involved.
"The reality is if a child has a choice between football and church on a Sunday morning they are going to pick their sport," he said.
Reverend Honey began his working life as a television producer at Channel 7 and has maintained his interest in broadcasting.
"I enjoy communicating, but first you have to get to know people. No-one needs to be told how to suck eggs," he said.
"We don't need anyone 'telling' us. I hope to learn lots; from the other churches, from community leaders, from people who love life and love Ararat," he said.
Reverend Honey's family came to the Bendigo goldfields from Cornwall in the 1860s and then selected land near Rochester.