Looking forward to her role as a church leader

Paula Levy's calling came later in life

Paula Levy's calling came later in life

Welcomed: Becoming a Presbyterian minister came later in life for Paula Levy, 50, who was ordained as a minister and inducted as the new leader of Mangapapa Church this month. Picture by Paul Rickard

Being able to have a lunchtime coffee on the beach is one of many things Mangapapa Church’s new leader loves about Gisborne.

Paula Levy was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister and inducted as the new leader of Mangapapa Church on the same day earlier this month.

Mrs Levy takes over from Stewart Patrick, who retired in February after 12 years with the church.

The church community has a real philosophy of team — so Mrs Levy is a team leader rather than minister.

Mrs Levy loves to help people find hope and purpose.

At 50, her calling came later in life.

“I’ve always loved working with people. I have been a youth pastor in Wanganui and did my theological training 20 years ago.”

Mrs Levy says she is focused on listening and learning as she settles into her new role.

“I feel like Gisborne is a very friendly place.

“Although it will take us a while to become part of the community, we feel warmly welcomed and look forward to bringing up our children here.”

She and husband Roger have three children aged 14, 13 and 8 — who all love sport so have settled in well to the outdoor lifestyle here.

It was a move they gave careful consideration to, as it was the second big move for them and their children’s schooling.

The family lived in Vanuatu for seven years. Mrs Levy worked as an English teacher at a theological college. Mr Levy is a bit of a handyman — he can fix almost anything and built a kindergarten with the local community while they lived there.

They lived very remotely, about an hour away from the nearest town, had only three hours of power a day and mostly cold showers for seven years.

It was while there they started thinking about “what next?” as a family.

They returned to New Zealand and lived in Palmerston North, where Mrs Levy did her training and two-year induction period — “like a minister with L plates”, she describes it.

They visited in December and felt the Gisborne community, and that of Mangapapa Church, was a good fit for them.

One of the many things she loves about the church is its community heart and that it is for all ages. Right now the age range is from 1 to 94.

Being able to have a lunchtime coffee on the beach is one of many things Mangapapa Church’s new leader loves about Gisborne.

Paula Levy was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister and inducted as the new leader of Mangapapa Church on the same day earlier this month.

Mrs Levy takes over from Stewart Patrick, who retired in February after 12 years with the church.

The church community has a real philosophy of team — so Mrs Levy is a team leader rather than minister.

Mrs Levy loves to help people find hope and purpose.

At 50, her calling came later in life.

“I’ve always loved working with people. I have been a youth pastor in Wanganui and did my theological training 20 years ago.”

Mrs Levy says she is focused on listening and learning as she settles into her new role.

“I feel like Gisborne is a very friendly place.

“Although it will take us a while to become part of the community, we feel warmly welcomed and look forward to bringing up our children here.”

She and husband Roger have three children aged 14, 13 and 8 — who all love sport so have settled in well to the outdoor lifestyle here.

It was a move they gave careful consideration to, as it was the second big move for them and their children’s schooling.

The family lived in Vanuatu for seven years. Mrs Levy worked as an English teacher at a theological college. Mr Levy is a bit of a handyman — he can fix almost anything and built a kindergarten with the local community while they lived there.

They lived very remotely, about an hour away from the nearest town, had only three hours of power a day and mostly cold showers for seven years.

It was while there they started thinking about “what next?” as a family.

They returned to New Zealand and lived in Palmerston North, where Mrs Levy did her training and two-year induction period — “like a minister with L plates”, she describes it.

They visited in December and felt the Gisborne community, and that of Mangapapa Church, was a good fit for them.

One of the many things she loves about the church is its community heart and that it is for all ages. Right now the age range is from 1 to 94.

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