FA­MIL­IAR WITH ACT OF SER­VICE

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Nicky Mof­fat

A HIGH-rank­ing for­mer army ser­vice­man who served in Afghanista­n and other con­flicts is Caloun­dra Church of Christ’s new pas­tor.

Peter Wil­lis, 56, joined the large con­gre­ga­tion for what he hoped would be at least a 15-year chapter. The move rep­re­sented his life com­ing full cir­cle, he said.

“The rea­son I talk about it be­ing like a re­turn is, you know, the sense of what I thought God was want­ing me to do with my life was ... be­ing a lo­cal min­is­ter,” Pas­tor Wil­lis said.

“It’s like re­turn­ing to my first love, that ini­tial call.

“I’m re­ally thrilled to be back in Queens­land, back in lo­cal church work and back with my fam­ily.”

Pas­tor Wil­lis was 19 when he be­gan his the­o­log­i­cal train­ing with the Churches of Christ, which took him to the US be­fore he grad­u­ated in Bris­bane and be­gan the first of 15 years of lo­cal church work at Boonah, west of Bris­bane, and in Devon­port, Tas­ma­nia.

He had been an Army Re­serve chap­lain for 15 years when he was asked to join the Aus­tralian Army as a chap­lain at age 40.

He agreed and it be­gan a 17-year ca­reer in­volv­ing three de­ploy­ments over­seas and his be­com­ing the sec­ond-high­est-rank­ing chap­lain in Aus­tralia.

The role was ful­fill­ing and he helped many peo­ple, of­ten in sit­u­a­tions of ex­treme hard­ship in­clud­ing around the deaths of friends on the front line.

Look­ing ahead, he hopes the 250-strong con­gre­ga­tion at Caloun­dra Church of Christ will grow.

“The great joy we have in this con­gre­ga­tion is that we’re a strong, sta­ble church but we’d like to be more con­nected into our community,” he said.

The Caloun­dra church has friend­ship groups, 15 cof­fee groups and other chances to get in­volved.

Hear Pas­tor Wil­lis speak at a men’s break­fast on March 9. Phone the church on 5491 7778.

PHOTO: WAR­REN LY­NAM

SHIN­ING NEW LIGHT: Peter Wil­lis is the new pas­tor at Caloun­dra Church of Christ. Pre­vi­ously he was work­ing with the Aus­tralian De­fence Force serv­ing over­seas.

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