‘FAITH THE BEST GIFT’: Warwick reverend scores top honour
FOUR years ago, Reverend Ansie Liebenberg will be the first to admit she had no care to move from South Africa to Australia, let alone Warwick.
Now in 2020, she’s been praised statewide for her community outreach, in a Rose City role she calls a “privilege”.
Even when coronavirus hit and the odds were stacked against the Warwick Uniting Church, the leader took the chance to use innovation and digital means to keep the Killarney, Freestone and Warwick communities connected through Facebook services and recordings.
“We’ve had an amazing year connecting with community. Covid, in a way, was a blessing in disguise for us,” Rev Liebenberg said.
“It gave us permission to let some traditional things go and force us to embrace the changes and new ways of doing things.
“To see people in their 80s use Facebook (and) YouTube blew my mind.”
It was the result of “hard work” from Rev Liebenberg, according to Warwick Uniting Church chairman Sue Campbell.
“She works extremely hard and makes big connections through the whole community,” Mrs Campbell said.
“She tries to connect as many people to faith as she can.”
Rev Liebenberg had also overseen the renovation of the Freestone church and the re-strategising of the Warwick leadership team in recent years.
It was those tireless efforts that went above and beyond that led to her being award the prestigious Spirit of Synod Award on Sunday.
The Queensland award recognises those who embrace Synod priorities and are effective leaders.
Rev Liebenberg said she’d never had a “bigger surprise” and hoped the recognition demonstrated the value of faith in everyday life.
“I think communities like Australia are increasingly secular, and there’s a need for strong foundation and faith to hold onto in times of trouble. It’s the best gift you could give any generation,” she said.