The Reverend Bob Rutherford, who is retiring after giving his last sermon in the Lismore Uniting Church on Christmas Day, with his daughter Annette and wife Gail.
The Reverend Bob Rutherford, who is retiring after giving his last sermon in the Lismore Uniting Church on Christmas Day, with his daughter Annette and wife Gail.

Final sermon after 41 years

IT WAS the end of an era at the Lismore Uniting Church yesterday morning with the Reverend Bob Rutherford delivering his last sermon in the Christmas service.

Rev Rutherford is retiring after 41 years, including eight at Lismore.

“It’s a bit sad that I’vegiven my last sermon. It was pretty emotional today,” he said.

“It’s hard to say goodbye to the people who you’ve had in your church for the past eight years.”

More than 130 people came to hear Rev Rutherford’s last service, and many parishioners said he would be greatly missed.

He officially retires on February 28, but is on leave until then.

After a well-earned break, he is planning to take up a part-time position as a chaplain with the Rural Fire Service.

At St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore, four-month-old Isabella Barrett attended her first Christmas service with her ‘nanna’, Heather Barrett, of East Lismore, and Gabrielle Cunningham, of Lismore.

“She’s getting baptised next month, so we wanted to bring her along and show her what it’s all about,” Ms Barrett said.

“This is my third Christmas service. I took my goddaughter to the Christmas Eve one and then I went to midnight Mass.

“I just love Christmas. I can’t get enough. It’s such a special and sacred time of the year.

“I’m really happy to be bringing my first grandchild to church today.”

Lismore Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett said that despite concern there was a ‘lack of faith and lack of religion’ in the community, Christmas ‘still pierces the heart of the human spirit’.

“Christmas still inspires,” he said.

“We know that the year would not be the same without it.”

Bishop Jarrett also spoke about climate change, and said people must have faith that God would help.

“There is a tendency for human beings to think that they will be okay,” he said.

“There is nothing like a common fear to spur people into action, to do something before it’s too late.

“The big message is that we can’t save ourselves. Rescue must come from a higher power, not material but spiritual.

“This beautiful world is given to us by God.”



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