Rick Morrell: honoured to be part of the journey

Rick Morrell, after 23 years in ministry leadership working with young people in the Uniting Church WA, will be leaving his role as co-ordinator of the First Third team to begin a position with  UnitingCare NSW and ACT.

Rick gave up a promising career in civil engineering to answer a call to candidate for the Order of St Stephen as a youth worker in 1981. Since that time, he has mentored and journeyed alongside   hundreds of young people as they meandered their way through faith and life. In 2009, Rick started a process of transition from youth worker towards ordained ministry. While he never intended  to leave WA, having been born and bred here, the call to ministry is one which can’t be ignored.

“If I’m going to be true to becoming ordained then I also need to be true to the notion of call,” he said. “And when the call comes, the call comes.”

Rev Hollis Wilson, convener of the First Third Working Group, said that Rick has been on a lifelong journey with ministry.

“His sense of call to ministry has been woven throughout much of his life’s journey,” Hollis said. “Rick’s impending ordination in October has really involved 23 years of ‘formation’ that has  equipped him to skilfully fulfil a wide range of roles within the Uniting Church.

“In November, Rick will take up the position of director of mission for UnitingCare NSW and ACT. This appointment is an affirmation of the varied gifts and skills that Rick has exercised here in  Western Australia and it is with sadness for us and elation for NSW and ACT that we congratulate Rick and send him on his way.”

Rick has been involved in all aspects of ministry with young people in the Uniting Church WA, including camps, retreats, National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC), workshops, training and  more. His proudest moments include the formation of First Third Ministry in 2008.

“The decision of the Synod and Presbytery to commit to a ten-year window of First Third ministry was a great point of leadership, and somewhat prophetic, because it has enabled us to think  outside the traditional models and to explore with substantial freedom new approaches, and thinking in new ways, about ministry – particularly to people under 30-years-of-age,” he said. “The  key to that has emerged, that First Third is really an intergenerational strategy which cannot be ignored in any model or paradigm that we choose to follow.

“Arriving at that point has been one thing that I would take away as a significant achievement.”

While he is sad to leave the role and ministry which he has shaped and moulded for years, he is confident that the First Third Team will carry the light and continue to share the concept of First  Third ministry with the church.

“There’s now a team of people who can really articulate the First Third concept,” he said. “I’m really confident in that and really proud that they’ve been able to pick that up – and it will only grow because it’s a developing theory and a developing theology.

“I’ve always delighted in seeing young people grow in themselves and in their faith journey and it has been an honour for me to have been part of those journeys.”

Rick’s ordination service was held on Saturday 24 October, 11.00am, at the Cottesloe Civic Centre, overlooking the ocean.

Top image: Rick Morrell was presented with a silver bullet at the 2015 Synod meeting. He has always said that he didn’t have one.

Heather Dowling


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