Former vet enjoys life behind altar

BEFORE he was behind the Anglican Church alter, Reverend Rod Winterton roamed the country preg-testing cattle and generally attending to sick animals.

Rev Winterton has spent the majority of his life practising as a vet and said it wasn't until later in his life he decided to work for the Church.

“I initially went out to central Queensland to help prepare shipments of live cattle – it wasn't for slaughtering though, it was for breeding,” he said.

“After that I went to Canberra for a couple of years and was involved in mixed practices from Yass to Cooma – this is tropical compared to there.”

The transition from vet to priest happened 10 years ago, when Rev Winterton was ordained with the Anglican Church.

He said while he had entertained the idea in his late 20s, it took a while to develop.

“I didn't always have a strong connection with the church,” he said.

“I went to Sunday School and was an alter boy from 10-18, but I got cranky with the minister one day and walked out of his sermon.

“I found the Church to be out of touch when I was an 18-year-old. My idea of God was the God of love and we were getting fire and brimstone.”

Rev Winterton said while he became disconnected with the Church, he maintained his connection with God.

A few years later, he briefly thought of becoming a Franciscan until he met and married his wife, Dianne.

The pair became involved in the family church and Rev Winterton realised the strength of his faith when his first two children were born.

“I became a full-time priest from 2004 onwards, and was part-time for three years before that,” he said.

This isn't the first time Rev Winterton has called Warwick home. During his studies in 1973, he spent a six-week stint in Warwick, working for Miller, Wells and Guard.

Now, eight weeks into the job as chief rector at the parish of St Mark's, Mr Winterton said he was starting to find his feet in the city.

“I'm starting to get to know people and get to know the community,” he said.

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