New Anglican vicar has a love of the outdoors
It’s not every day a church gets a vicar who is also an ironwoman.
But All Saints Church in Ponsonby is no ordinary Anglican church and its new vicar Diana Rattray is a perfect fit.
She spent three months last year on a cycle tour of Europe while on sabbatical and says the experience of living out of tents on 15 euros a day helped her get back to basics.
“It was fantastic. You can see and experience the country in a different way,” she says.
With a friend, Rev Rattray biked through the French, Swiss and Italian alps and the Pyrenees, a journey which tested her endurance.
“I thought the hills in Christchurch were big until I saw these,” she says.
Rev Rattray was officially welcomed into the church in an initiation ceremony last Wednesday night.
She started work at the church just four days after driving up from Christchurch where she was associate dean at the Christchurch Cathedral.
She says the work there was an exciting mix of parish duties and tourism.
With more than 700,000 visitors going through the cathedral each year, she says she is looking forward to working alongside the people again in a smaller parish.
“The cathedral was a community but in a different way,” she says.
“I’m a parish priest at heart.”
For Rev Rattray the move to Ponsonby is also a return home in some ways – she grew up in Auckland and had her first job as a delivery truck driver on Mackelvie St.
Later she moved to Christchurch where she completed a psychology degree at Canterbury University.
Although she had always had a church connection through family, it was not until she was in her early 20s, while working as an administrator in a large Christchurch Anglican church, that she began to think of the church as a career choice.
“I started to think it through for myself.”
She has lived in Christchurch for the last 20 years where she has developed a love for the South Island outdoor lifestyle and plans to get involved with as many local sports events as her time will allow.
For now though, her first priority is sitting down with the parish and listening, she says.
“That interface with the community is really important to me.
“It’s a partnership. The parish here has a depth and breadth to it that I really like.”
Multi-talented: Rev Diana Rattray plans to fit as much sport as she can into her busy schedule.