And now the Reverend Hilary Singleton is the new priest-in-charge of the Anglican Parish of Byron Bay.
As only the second female priest to work at the parish, Reverend Hilary took up her new post last week.
She and her husband Paul and their two adult sons are formerly from Burringbar where Reverend Hilary served in the ministry for the Kingscliff parish for six years.
Reverend Hilary was ordained a deacon in October 2004 and a priest in May 2006.
“Paul and I and the kids have been coming to Byron Bay regularly for visits for 30 years,” she said.
“I am very happy that we are now living here.”
Born in East Yorkshire in England 56 years ago, she left school at the age of 16 and started working.
In 1971 she travelled through Europe, the Middle East, India and Nepal and in 1978 through Central and South America.
In 1980 she came to Australia to ‘have a look around’.
Reverend Hilary met her future husband on the platform of the Burringbar railway station and in 1982 they were married in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney.
Reverend Hilary’s road to her spiritual life is quite long.
“When I was a young girl I was not religious at all and it was not until a school friend invited me to church when I was about 14 that I really started getting involved with the church,” she said.
“But, then I took off on my travels to see the world and it was not until I was in Australia that I became an active member of the Anglican Church.”
Reverend Hilary’s mentor and trainer was the former priest at the Anglican Parish of Byron Bay, Father Gary Priest, who has now retired.
While Reverend Hilary calls herself a thoroughly modern priest, she also embraces the traditions of the church and Christianity.
“I want to share the love of God and the richness of Christianity with all my parishioners,” she said.
“I want everyone, young and old, to share the spiritual journey. I welcome everyone of all social standings.”
Reverend Hilary said she also hoped to connect with the community and wanted the church to embrace community projects, especially those involving young people.
She said she was also looking forward to having lots of young people and children in the church and was hoping to revive a Christian meditation group.
“I have a sense of social justice and the environment is my passion and I am looking forward very much to the challenges my new job will bring,” Reverend Hilary said.
Reverend Hilary was welcomed to the parish last week with a special ‘Commissioning to Ministry’ event.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.