The Anglican Church’s new priest, the Reverend Danni Clark, has had a colourful start to her time here in Bundaberg.
With brightly coloured hair and a huge smile, Danni is already making her mark.
“I’ve quickly become known as “the priest with the hair”, but I don’t mind that,” she said.
“It wasn’t an intentional thing with brightly coloured hair but it’s good in a way as it helps some people to find a way to connect and can be a good conversation starter.”
Danni grew up in rural England and attended theological college in the UK.
The family, husband David and daughters Nona, Saskia, Romilly and Bibiana, moved to Australia in 2014.
Danni was ordained in 2018 and moved to Bundaberg in January.
Warm Bundaberg welcome
“Everyone has been warm, welcoming and delightful.
“As assistant priest or curate to the priest in charge, the Venerable Keith Dean-Jones, I’m tapping into his vast depth and breadth of knowledge and experience over 43 years.”
Danni said her focus is on bringing people together in the community.
“I think I bring a different way of working with the community as I have a different life experience and journey to faith to others in our parishes.
“It's been a great source of pride and joy in the first few months here to be part of the community outreach that the Anglican Church offers.
“We have services on Tuesday and Sunday at Bargara and are thinking of expanding the service during the week and maybe holding a ‘dinner church' where the focus is on people and connection.”
Danni believes the food relief services offered at Christ Church with a soup kitchen on Thursday and sausage sizzle on Saturday and washing and laundry services are very worthwhile.
“The basic hygiene services that we have allows people to have a shower and use our laundry to wash and dry their clothes,” she said.
“It’s sometimes forgotten or underestimated how important it is to provide dignity to the homeless.
“Every homeless person here has a story.
“They were all little babies once and then life just happened to them – some of it beyond their control – that led them to this point in time.”
While human contact has been very welcomed, the wildlife has been a “bit of an eye opener” for Danni.
“The funniest thing happened at our morning service at Christ Church on Monday.
“It’s a formal ‘high church’ service here and we were at a very reverent part of the service and I took the lid off the chalice and a big gecko jumped out onto me.
“It startled me and I jumped and everyone in the congregation laughed.”
Meanwhile, her dog “Tippy” has become acquainted with the local kangaroos at the beach at Burnett Heads.
“Tippy got very excited and snappy but thankfully I still had him on the leash otherwise he might have wanted to pick a fight which I’m sure he would have lost.”
Danni’s husband and four daughters are still living in Brisbane while one of their daughters completes Year 12.
“It would have been too disruptive to move schools this year but I am very much looking forward to them joining me here in this beautiful part of the world.”
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