The Anglican Diocese of North West Australia, which covers the majority of the state of Western Australia, has chosen the Rev Darrell Parker as its new bishop.
Bishop-elect Parker replaces Bishop Gary Nelson, who had oversight of the largest geographical diocese in the Anglican Church of Australia from 2012 until his retirement a few months ago.
“We thank God for the election of [the] Rev Darrell Parker,” said a statement from the Diocese. “He has extensive experience in regional and remote ministry for 24 years, including 18 years as archdeacon, and ministry among Indigenous Australians. Darrell is firmly committed to the gospel and proclaiming Christ.”
The bishop elect is currently the senior minister of St Paul's, West Tamworth in the northwestern NSW diocese of Armidale.
The two-day election Synod gathered in Geraldton on the last weekend of August to make its choice.
The diocese encompasses about two million square kilometres, with churches stretching north from Dongara – four hours’ drive north of Perth – to Wyndham in the northeastern Kimberley region, and east to the borders of South Australia and the Northern Territory.
As well as long-term residents, ministries serve 6500 seafarers each month through the Mission to Seafarers, based at the ports of Geraldton, Port Hedland and Dampier. Miners and transient workers make up a significant number of the northwest population and there is also a significant ministry to Indigenous people, especially in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
“I love rural ministry,” said Mr Parker, who grew up on a farm in southern NSW. “It’s being part of people’s lives on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis, even if they don’t come to church. You become part of the community in ways you cannot in a big city, and these relationships bring lots of opportunities for evangelism.”
The diocese is also not unfamiliar territory as his wife Elizabeth is the daughter of a former Bishop of North West Australia, Tony Nichols.
“I’m looking forward to being part of a very committed gospel team in the North West that is committed to engaging the world with the truth,” he said.
He will be consecrated in Sydney on February 3, 2023 and will begin in the role in mid-February.