The Ven Neville Selwood holds a service at the Holy Cross
Anglican Church, in St Kilda, Dunedin, to mark 50 years
since becoming an Anglican deacon. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The action of a padre during World War 2 helped inspire a
former accountant to become an Anglican deacon.
The Ven Neville Selwood (88) led a service at Holy Cross
Anglican Church in Dunedin yesterday, a service which marked
his ordination as a deacon 50 years ago.
Before that ordination he was working as an accountant at an
Invercargill-based firm where he was studying theology by
correspondence, and was involved in youth programmes and
"I was only ordained at 38, so I am a bit long in the tooth
to have just got to 50 years," Deacon Selwood said.
The catalyst for that move occurred some years before when he
was serving with the No 75 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand
Air Force, and a wing commander and his bomber crew were
killed over France.
"Morale had dropped pretty low. But at a briefing, the acting
wing commander said: 'Good luck boys, hope to see you at
breakfast, and by the way, the padre is going to be up there
with you tonight'."
"Sure enough there he was with his parachute harness on, and
it made me realise here is a fellow who hated what we were
required to do, but he put his life on the line to show that
he cared for us."
Deacon Selwood said it took him years to relate that selfless
act with those of Jesus, so he decided to become a deacon.
"Looking back it was a big change for my family, as we were
used to a sort of lifestyle.""But if you dream to do
something, press on with it."
His first parish was in Balclutha, before he moved with his
family and served Northeast Valley and Mornington before his
semi-retirement in 1988.
He was involved with parishes in Central Otago before
returning to Dunedin 12 years ago, where he has assisted at
the Holy Cross parish and at Montecillo Veterans Home "I just
take things one day at a time," he said.