Minister awarded study scholarship

The Rev Graeme Munro. Photo by Sally Rae.
The Rev Graeme Munro. Photo by Sally Rae.
The Rev Graeme Munro, of Oamaru, leaves next month for a three-month sabbatical in England - and he cannot wait.

Mr Munro (64) has been awarded a scholarship by the Cheshunt Foundation, which enables ordained ministers or lay people involved in the ministry to undertake a sabbatical term at Westminster College, one of the colleges that makes up the University of Cambridge.

Although he has travelled to Australia many times, he has never been as far as England - ''I'm very much an amateur,'' he quipped - and he was looking forward to the experience.

The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand had a relationship with Westminster College that went back many years.

Many of his colleagues, including former Columba Church minister Russell Thew, have studied at Westminster for a term, sometimes even a year, and they still spoke ''so highly'' of their time there.

Mr Munro took two and a-half months' study leave in 2001 and did most of his thesis for his master of ministry degree.

This would be quite a different experience as it would not be academically focused, he said.

He intended to look at ''refiring the retiring in an age of choice''.

It seemed retirement was a very exciting time in a person's life, but it did involve change.

In many of the churches, the congregations were getting older, but their contribution was as valuable as ever.

Sometimes, when people retired, they thought they had ''done their dash'' and others could step up. The age of choice really was retirement, he said.

As for his own retirement, Mr Munro said it was ''on the horizon'', but the exact date had not yet been determined.

He was ordained 36 years ago and still loved his chosen career.

''I don't actually think that there's a better job. It's a great privilege to share in people's lives.''