There’s a famous quote by Fred Rogers that’s repeated when times get tough: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realising that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
My childhood friend Katherine is one of the most selfless of those helpers. And, over the weekend, her community efforts were rewarded when she was announced as the new Anglican Dean of Newcastle.
The news came up on my Facebook feed late on Sunday night: Acting-Bishop of Newcastle Dr Peter Stuart revealed Canon Bowyer had unanimously been accepted as the next Dean and Parish Priest of Christ Church Cathedral.
“I’m very honoured,” Canon Bowyer told the Newcastle Herald. “I was very humbled and surprised when Bishop Peter called me. “This year we’re celebrating 30 years of women as ordained in the Diocese of Newcastle in clergy leadership and its significant, I think. It’s a great privilege to be able to be called to this position in this year. I love Newcastle. It’s a great city.”
I love Katherine, she’s a wonderful woman. The news brought tears to my eyes. She will do great things in her new role. The world desperately needs more people like her in positions of influence.
We were only around 11 or 12 years old when we first met at Belair Primary School. It wasn’t her caring that drew me to Katherine – although she was a lovely kid – it was her quirky humour. We bonded over Doctor Who and various other sci-fi flights of fancy. We were kindred spirits and I found much joy in our friendship.
When she moved to the Central Coast a few years later, we were intent on keeping in touch. I’d regularly travel to visit her on weekends. I went to her wedding in her 20s and followed her motherhood journey.
In later years, when I moved to Sydney and she became a priest, our contact grew more sporadic. But Facebook has kept us in touch and we squeeze in the occasional catch-up.
Here’s a snap with our old school crew a few years back:
Congratulations Katherine. You’re one of the good ones. I’m so very proud to have been your friend for almost 40 years and to see your amazing life journey unfold.
And I can’t wait to be there for your official installation into your new role.
Song of the day: “I am woman”