The Ordination Of Rev. Dr. Rosalie Clarke

June 15, 2020


Steps To Ordination 

written by Rev. Helen Paine 

Rosalie’s journey started long before that. Born and raised in Apartheid South Africa, Rosalie felt a sense of call by God in her early years at a Catholic school. At that time though she was unable to express the feeling as a call to ministry.

As a young adult in her early 20’s she told her mother that there was something God wanted her to do but still could not articulate that as a call to ministry or ordination. It was then that Rosalie was very involved in change in the community in post-apartheid South Africa. She spent much time working with the disadvantaged and with black South Africans. It was during this period that she became disillusioned with Church and ministry.

When she arrived as a young married woman in Berowra in 1999, she was content to sit in the back of the church and remain unnoticed. Over the years she found herself becoming more involved in the church.

On the 18th Jan 2009 Rosalie heard a clear and distinct message from God “to go to UTC and become a Minister in the Uniting Church”. Over time Rosalie has been involved with several denominations. So those words were important, and they have sustained her on her journey. During 2009 Rosalie completed a Period of Discernment with a “God sent” mentor another Rosalie. On the completion of her POD Rosalie with the support of the congregation at Berowra applied to Candidate as a Minister of the Word with the Uniting Church.

She attended the Synod Selection Panel gathering in 2010 and was accepted as a candidate. As she left her faithful congregation at Berowra, they prayed with her and laid hands on her. The shirt she is wearing tonight is the shirt she wore then. It holds many memories and blessings.

In 2011 Rosalie commenced Formation at UTC with a cohort of new candidates, myself included. These were times of study, reflection, of listening to and sharing stories as well as the rush of having essays in on time and meeting the formation requirements of the NSW&ACT Synod.

We had fun, we shared hard times and we wondered what on earth we were doing there….

After 2 years in the Formation Program Rosalie sensed a strong pull back to South Africa. She knew there was hurt, pain and unresolved issues that needed to be worked through if she was to minister effectively in the church.

Whilst in South Africa Rosalie continued her study and Formation at the Methodist Seminary of Southern Africa in Pietermaritzburg.  She completed her degree in Theology and was awarded the Charles Sturt University Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence.

She explored different areas of ministry in South Africa participating in Godly Play and Prayer Guide Training. She sought out Spiritual pathways and studied the Ignatian tradition of which she has become a Guide practitioner.

She commenced her PhD. For Rosalie ministry has always been about a Ministry in the crossing and I’ll let Rosalie tell you a little more about that shortly.

During this time Rosalie found much healing and restoration. Along with this she grappled with her vocations wondering how they all worked together …..mother, partner and ministry….This was for Rosalie a wilderness time… for many reasons unable to return to Australia to complete her formation in the time required by the church she withdrew her candidature from the Synod of NSW & ACT. The Formation committee accepted her withdrawal but strongly encouraged her to reapply when she returned.  It was in this wilderness that Rosalie had a strong message from God to look out for the water carriers as they would lead her to ordination.

Over the years Rosalie and I kept in touch, sometimes through FB, sometimes through messenger…

As Rosalie considered her return to Australia and to reconnect with formation, we had numerous conversations and it was in one of these that I asked her if she would consider coming to the Northern Synod. When she showed an interest in that possibility, I put her in touch with the then Presbytery Minister, Rev Felicity Amery. After some conversation Felicity said there might be a placement at Living Water. This, in itself, was a confirmation of God’s call for Rosalie as she recognised that this congregation with the special name was the water carriers she had been looking for.

Rosalie came, she pastored Living Water, she completed her PhD and her formation program and with the blessing of the Presbytery is here today presenting for Ordination.

As friend, colleague, and convener of PRC I wish you every blessing for the continuation of the journey. May God who has been faithful continue to open doors and lead you on.