CANBERRA, Australia (Mennonite Mission Network) — A second-generation Anabaptist, in a society where re-baptizers are rare, will get her feet wet by helping lead a Canberra, Australia, Baptist congregation.
On August 17, Moriah Hurst was inducted into pastoral ministry at Canberra Baptist Church. Hurst, a recent graduate of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., is an international service worker with Mennonite Mission Network. Mission Network also is connected with Hurst’s parents, mission associates Mark and Mary Hurst.
Hurst previously served the congregation as a youth worker.
The Rev. Rowena Curtis, senior minister of the Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne preached the induction sermon. (Audio is available on Canberra Baptist’s Web site.) Hurst served as a student pastor at Collins Street Baptist as a Goshen College Ministry Inquiry Program participant.
“Mennonites are a treasure of the Australian church – few but precious” said Curtis. She encouraged Hurst, and other church leaders, to “take up the towel” of servant leadership, but not to ignore real feet, smelly feet, her own feet and ordinary feet.
Curtis told the story of the 16th century Anabaptist martyr named Jacob, who had to face a local friar to explain why he, a simple chandler and weaver, could read the book of Revelation and understand what it said. Friar Cornelis mockingly asked, “At what university did you study?” Jacob answered: “Christ thanked his heavenly Father that he revealed and made it known to babes, and hid it from the wise of this world.”
God, Curtis said, speaks to and through people with ordinary feet.
Doug Hynd brought greetings to the church on behalf of the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand and directed remarks toward Hurst.
“I give thanks that you are bringing to your ministry here both your personal gifts and those of the Anabaptist/Mennonite tradition in which you have been formed,” Hynd said. “I am particularly delighted that in your call to this church there is a coming together in witness and ministry of two Christian traditions, the Baptist and the Mennonite, that share much in common, but that in Australia have had little occasion to engage with and learn from each other.”
Besides her half-time role with the congregation as associate minister, Moriah will be responsible for Irene’s Place: A House of Discipleship and Peace, a new young adult venture providing an experience of discipleship and peacemaking for Australian and international young adults. AAANZ is hoping to use the Canberra project as a model for discipleship programs in other cities around Australia and New Zealand.
James Barr, Canberra Baptist’s senior minister said, “Moriah is known and respected in this community. We have a warm appreciation of her gifts and her capacities.”
Hurst moved to Australia with her family in 1990. Her brothers, Matthew and Micah, both are employed at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.; Matthew Siderhurst is assistant professor of chemistry and Micah Hurst is a resident hall director.