The Very Reverend Michael Davies
The Rev. Canon Michael Davies was born in Sydney on 27 September 1968, the fourth son of five children. His early education was punctuated with a number of changes, starting school at the Wahroonga Bush School, then a year at Sydney Grammar Prep St Ives, after which saw him move to the German Swiss International School in Hong Kong. Finally, Michael and his older brother John were sent from Hong Kong to complete their schooling as boarders at The Armidale School (TAS), from where he matriculated year ten in 1984.
After several positions working in the health care industry in Sydney, he began his tertiary studies at Newcastle University. It was during his time studying classics and history that Michael heard and answered the call to priestly ministry. After a number of years discerning his call, Michael was successfully admitted into the fulltime ministry formation and Bachelor of Theology programme at St John’s College, Morpeth in 1996.
In 2000 Michael was ordained a deacon in the February, and then a priest on Saint Andrew’s day in November of that same year, at Christ Church Cathedral Newcastle. In the two years that followed his ordination Michael moved from his training parish of Christ Church Gosford to St John’s Taree, where he learnt the humbling value of several SRE classes in the local primary schools.
After his time in Taree Michael applied for and was granted the incumbency of the Anglican Parish of Merriwa. Merriwa is a rural parish and is the western most parish in the Diocese of Newcastle and is closer in distance to Dubbo than Newcastle city centre. Owing to the seven years Michael spent at TAS, his two years of jackarooing experience, and time at Tocal Agricultural College directly after finishing school equipped him well to minister to the diverse community in Merriwa. Throughout his time in Merriwa Michael was witness to the ravages of drought and its effect on the land and its people.
At the close of his fifth year in the parish Michael felt the need for a change, and in the August of 2007, he was commissioned as Rector of the Parish of East Maitland. The majestic St Peter’s Church is an exquisite example of Edmund Blacket’s Neo-Gothic architectural style. Due to the age, size and condition of the building, Michael and his parish council successfully secured a number of government grants to aid in the preservation of St Peter’s.
A highlight of his time in East Maitland was the strengthening of ecumenical ties between the various churches in coming together annually as a community for an Easter Sunrise liturgy. It was during his time at St Peter’s that Michael met his now wife Alexandra Banks. It was this burgeoning relationship that spurred Michael to explore sector ministry at the Mission to Seafarers, Newcastle.
Michael’s position at the mission was as an associate chaplain, his role was to train lay volunteers for ship visitation, be available for the pastoral care of seafarers and volunteers, and oversee the transportation of seafarers from the port to the Seafarers Centre and Newcastle City. His time in this position was fruitful, however after two years Michael discerned that the moment was right for a return to parish ministry, his true passion.
Returning to parish ministry, Michael was appointed the Rector of the Anglican Parish of Woy Woy in 2014. His time in this parish has seen him further develop his gifts in ministry, namely, preaching, teaching, pastoral care, liturgy, and the discernment of gifts in the laity. In his time in Woy Woy, Michael has needed to respond to a number of difficult pastoral matters. The most challenging being the outcome of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In light of the royal commission, and the need to consolidate resources, the parish council, in consultation with the diocese, decided as a matter of fiscal responsibility to close and sell St Andrew’s Umina Beach so as to contribute to the redress scheme. The process of consultation, the pastoral care of grieving parishioners, the closure, sale, and rebranding of the parish and its remaining centre took approximately eighteen months.