Former submariner plunges into the Murray

russell powell
Read Former submariner plunges into the Murray

A home town advantage and ministry experience in both the bush and the city has put the rector of Gordon, the Rev Keith Dalby, into the leadership of Australia’s most diverse diocese. Mr Dalby has been chosen as the next bishop of the Diocese of the Murray in the southeast of South Australia. 

10 years in the country and 20 in the city 

“I have spent about 10 years in country ministry and almost 20 years in the city,” Mr Dalby says. “So I feel well equipped to serve a diocese that has both these elements in it. The southern suburbs of Adelaide – which are the fastest-growing in Adelaide – are in the diocese, as well as the whole southeast of South Australia, including the towns on the Murray River from the border almost into Adelaide.” 

The Bishop Election Committee of the diocese chose Mr Dalby to succeed Bishop John Ford as the fifth bishop over the 22 parishes in the diocese, created in 1970. 

“I guess it’s a good fit because it is God’s timing,” Mr Dalby says. “Gordon is in a good place for someone new to take it forward – I have been there for almost 15 years. We love the place, but it is time to go. The other great thing about The Murray is that it is home for us. I have both my sisters living in the diocese and my parents have lived there for close to 25 years.” 

"The Murray is home for us" 

Mr Dalby and his wife Alice have five children. He spent most of his early life in South Australia and began his ministry in Adelaide after serving as a submariner in the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years. 

His theological training was at St Barnabas’ Theological College in Adelaide and, during his time in Gordon, he was awarded an MA in theology from Moore College. 

The opportunities for ministry are great 

He is looking forward to returning home and the variety of the role. “I can go from dealing with everyday city issues to drought, Murray Water issues, and anything in between,” he says. “The opportunities for ministry are great. Bishop Ford has set the diocese on a course for mission and renewal and I am keen to take that forward. 

“I am delighted to be able to continue encouraging the diocese to engage with the wider community and enable them to be more aware of the good news of Jesus Christ.”

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