New Ministry Journeys – Ordination and Beyond (part 2)


Can you describe what your journey to ordination was like?

I have been married to Rachel since 2004, and God has blessed us with two children, Emelia, 17yrs and Samuel, Jnr, 12yrs. My family has been an important part of my journey, praying together and discerning God’s direction in every decision we felt God was leading us to.

As a young boy, God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12 to move to a land where God wants him to go has been my theological point of reference. I felt called into the ordained ministry in Ghana, where I was involved in mission, discipleships and evangelism ministry, leading congregations and planting churches. I became a pastor in the Methodist Church (accredited local preacher), taught as a teacher and completed a degree in Psychology in Ghana. I journeyed alongside many congregations as their leader and served many Christian organisations in Ghana since 1992.

In 2012, my family and I felt the call to a ministry overseas. I came to Australia in 2014 without my wife and children to pursue theological education. As a Methodist, I was looking for a Methodist Church to be part of, and in the process of searching, I felt connected and called into the Uniting Church. I joined the Wesley Uniting Church and was accepted as a full member in May 2015.

The call into ordained ministry as a Minister of the Word has been my passion. However, due to my visa conditions at the time, I was not accepted into the Uniting Church to begin my journey to the ministry. Notwithstanding, I served the church by volunteering and serving as an elder.

In Ecclesiastes 3, there is time for everything; assured me that God is on the journey with us, and if it is God’s own, the right time will come when God will provide for me and also for my family. In 2016, I was sponsored by a company to work with them as a chef, and they agreed to sponsor my family to join me in Western Australia in 2017. I worked for this company for over four years and got my permanent residence visa. As the call into ministry as Minister of the Word was my passion and prayer, after getting my visa I went to see one retired minister who led me through the process and consequently I was accepted to begin my period of discernment in early 2020. Whilst in my POD, I did a Diploma in Theology and Ministry with Adelaide College of Divinity and completed my POD on 1 August, 2020. I was accepted as a candidate for ministry in October 2020, and in early 2021, I resigned from my work as a chef to pursue my theological education and formation journey.

During my formation, I undertook academic theological studies at Vose/Morling College and completed my Bachelor of Theology degree in early 2023. Whilst in formation I completed field placements in South Perth and Billabong Uniting Churches and had the opportunity to lead and worship with many Uniting Churches within WA. On 18 March 2023, the Presbytery of WA voted to affirm my call as a Minister of the Word. On 24 November 2023, I was ordained at the Wesley Uniting Church in the City. I have accepted a call into Rockingham Uniting Church and am currently a minister journeying alongside this congregation.

How did it feel on your ordination day?

I felt blessed and affirmed, but deep down within my heart, I felt a divine presence during the service, confirming that God is on this journey with me.

What’s a typical day in the life of your current placement?

Pastoral visitations, planning worship for my congregation and two aged care facilities in our neighbourhood, Bible studies meetings, weekly prayers.

What has surprised you so far about ministry?

The congregation profile does not always represent the true picture of their community. Moreover, I have come to realise the uniqueness of each congregation.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

I am looking forward to prayer and community discernment to build a community of God’s people who would be missional-minded and welcoming.

Do you have any hobbies or special talents?

Spending time with family, walking, singing, and reading.

What’s your favourite quote or expression?

Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is no condemnation for all those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Rev Samuel Annan


Can you describe what your journey to ordination was like?

I am married to my husband Sione Lea’aetoa who is also a Minister with Uniting Church. We are of Tongan descent and have been blessed with three children, two girls, Silesa 16, Susana 14 and our son Lemoto Joshua 11.

My journey to ordination was not an easy one, there were lots of reflective moments. Acknowledgment of the sacrifice of time and effort to make this journey, with dedication to my university theological studies, training with the church, fulfilling my duties as a mother and a wife of a minister was the main challenge for me, as our children were quite young, and time was so precious. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who loves and supports me dearly and we work as a great team caring for our children and for each other.

A significant moment for me is the day that I said yes to the call. After period of discernment, I attended my interview and received the news that I was successful to become a Candidate, I knew in my mind there was no going back now.

How did it feel on your ordination day?

I felt it was a blessing to finally get to that day. It was special to receive the support and love from my extended family, friends, loved ones, and the wider church and particularly special to see my children singing on the day. For me, it was a time to reflect on the sacredness of the call into ministry and the meaning of ordained ministry.

What’s a typical day in the life of your current placement?

In my work at King Edward Memorial Hospital a typical day involves seeing women admitted with pregnancy difficulties and loss of their baby to discuss their options of whether they want to take their baby’s ashes home, or to inter the ashes in our memorial garden at KEMH. A typical day also involves providing pastoral and emotional support to our staff, patients encountering neo- natal and peri- natal loss as well as supporting their families as they face their loss and grief.

One of the hardest moments for me, is when parents come to pick up their baby’s ashes. As they leave the hospital I often sit in my office and watch out the window to all the people on the street, knowing that passers-by don’t realise the sadness of this time for them.

In my work with Royal Perth Hospital and Bentley Health Service, a typical day involves relentless visits to the Intensive Care Unit, as people reach their end-of-life journey. I witness the overflowing grief of a family not wanting to part with their loved ones, but who are going to say their final goodbye. Also, I sit with patients and staff who are facing challenges, feeling lonely or isolated or having less family support. Some patients talk about end of life and want to ask existential questions such as “what does life after death look like?”

What has surprised you so far about ministry?

What has been surprising to me in my ministry, is the hope that people are seeking in life. So much grief and sadness can drown people and hope feels nowhere to be found. In the hospital there are so many people walking in and out, and many situations don’t have a good outcome. I love the opportunity to support every person I come across, even if I do not say anything but to give a listening ear and being present in their desperate moment.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

In these early years of my ministry, I love observing and learning from experienced people, keen to listen and develop skills for ministry. I personally look forward to furthering my skills and my practice in areas that will help me support people better. I am currently undertaking further studies around Counselling/Psychotherapy and Mental Health. I believe this study will equip me to serve and support others appropriately and in a meaningful way.

Do you have any hobbies or special talents you’d like to share with our readers?

I love travel with my family, craft, watching documentaries and reading about historical events and places.

What’s your favourite quote or expression?

“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” Mother Teresa

Rev Ana Lea’aetoa

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