Rev Mary Petersen
Rev Mary Petersen died on Saturday 6th May after a long battle with Leukaemia. She served as Minister at St Andrew’s for 11 years, from 2004-2015, and won the hearts of the fellowship and of many in the community. Mary’s selfless caring touched lives. Mary gave unstinting help and support, often at the expense of her own energy and resources.
A trained primary school teacher, Mary loved working with children. In 1990 she was appointed National Co-coordinator for Bible-in-Schools in New Zealand, travelling extensively with that work for ten years. It was in that role that we first met Mary. In 2001 the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand appointed Mary as the National Coordinator for Children and Families, a role which she kept for three years. She also undertook work on behalf of various Presbyteries around New Zealand.
Mary had moved to her parent’s home in Tairua when Stan and Pauline Stewart left the Parish, and she came to us for interview to fill the vacancy. Although she had studied theology and worked extensively in church affairs, Mary had never been ordained as a parish minister, so Presbytery agreed that she be ordained as a LOM – a Locally Ordained Minister for our congregation.
During her ministry with St Andrew’s Mary continued the Mainly Music programme for pre-schoolers, started by Stan and Pauline Stewart in 2002. Scores of children came to those sessions and Mary baptised many babies, as well as conducting weddings and funerals.
Mary instigated the Monday Meals,
free of charge for anyone in need of a hot meal,
which still continues today. She also
served as Chaplain for the RSA in Mercury Bay, as
school chaplain at MBAS, and of course, she taught
Bible-in-Schools at Mercury Bay and Coroglen. While
she was with us we often had the added blessing of
Mary’s sister Val, helping with Monday Meals and
with Mainly Music.
and Mary at Day Camp 2015