Gordon Kelly

Gordon and Dianne Kelly . . . time for the church to step up.

By Paul O'Rourke

Gordon Kelly has completed a bakery/pastry cook apprenticeship, picked cotton, worked in a funeral home, cooked in restaurants and pastored many churches in several States.

The newest Devonport Chaplaincy Incorporated board member is passionate about practical Christianity, the Church meeting the spiritual, physical, social and emotional needs of hurting people. His board role straddles both Devonport Chaplaincy and Loaves and Fishes Tasmania.

He doesn’t see any difference between the two organisations in his care.

“It doesn’t matter if we are encouraging a student in the playground or feeding a hungry family,” he said.

“Jesus met the physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs of all those who came to him.

“He said when we feed, clothe and care for others, we are, in fact, doing it for Him.

“That’s a pretty clear and compelling mandate.”

Gordon, who with wife Dianne pastors Hope Church and helps manage A New Page Bookshop, joined the board five months ago at the invitation of CEO Andrew Hillier.

“I want to be involved in organisations that bring life and build our community,” he said.

“Andrew’s enthusiasm and absolute commitment to making a difference is infectious.

“And both Loaves and Fishes and chaplaincy are making a profound impact.”

Schools are 'crying out' for help

Gordon, who regularly volunteers at the Devonport High School breakfast club, said schools were “crying out” for chaplains and mentors, giving local churches a unique opportunity to invest practically and financially in meeting a community need.

“Rather than building our brand or inviting people to attend our church program, we are being invited by the community to serve them in a powerful way,” he said.

Gordon said both organisations needed more money to fulfil their mandates.

“I think some people think that because we get Federal Government money for chaplaincy and State Government money for Loaves and Fishes, that we don’t need community support.

'We're doing more with less'

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Chaplaincy funding hasn’t increased for a decade, so we are trying to do more with less.

“Loaves and Fishes has grown exponentially as a result of COVID. The demand for food is astounding. We can barely keep up with the growing demand.

“More money and people, and greater ownership by the church would help both organisations.

“It’s the difference between being sympathetic and encouraging from a distance, and taking responsibility and getting involved wholeheartedly.”

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Born in Western Australia, Gordon grew up in Cooma, NSW before coming to Tasmania in 1987 to study theology where he also met Dianne. They have ministered on the mainland in Mt Isa, and the Central Coast of NSW before finally returning home to lead churches in Stanley and Devonport.

They have three adult children.