Reverend Canon Pat Scaife has come out of retirement this year to minister in South Taranaki's churches from Hawera to Waverley.

The churches have combined services these days with congregations mostly
on the "small side'' but that doesn't bother Pat.

"Sometimes there might only be five of us including me. But it doesn't matter because we all look for the fullness in life together.''

Pat was just a small girl of 8 when she ''got the calling'', she said.

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"Which was a waste because females couldn't be priests in those days.''

In fact it was many decades later before Pat could follow her dream and become a leader in the Anglican church.

As Acting Dean of the South Taranaki Ministry and the Archdeacon of Waitotara (Stratford to Waitototara) she spends much of her time on the road taking services in small churches and ministering to parishioners in their homes.

She is a woman whose personal faith is strong and unrelenting. Pat has degrees in history, has been a teacher, and has had a career in the army.

She laughs when she said her first years in the army was in the days when women were not considered fighting material or not considered at all really.

"We were herded together in a separate unit, we were never allowed to fraternise with the men. If we got married we were not allowed to live in married quarters on the base. Women were not considered at all in those old army days in the 1960s.''

Even after she came out of the army Pat still belonged to the territorials where she eventually became a Quartermaster and a Major.

Her dream of becoming an ordained priest grew stronger over the years.
And in 1977 she was ordained into the Anglican Church.

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She looks back at the history of religions where deacons were appointed to ensure fair distribution to each ethnic group.

"So I feel about socialism as practised in the 20th and 21st centuries much as Gandhi felt about Christianity."

In a weekly newspaper column she wrote: "Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself, Ghandi said was a wonderful standard, pity Christianity never achieved it."

Sadly Christ's church has fallen short, she said.

"Too often splitting into cliques and power groups, so in the socialist states whether Soviet, Chinese or North Korean, power elites prosper while the majority starve."

Pat questions what would Jesus' budget look like?

"Well I know what it wouldn't look like."

There would certainly be no shifting taxation largely from income to expenditure (GST road tax etc) she said.

"And that the highest tax ratio is paid by the poorest, who must spend every cent to survive, and cannot dodge GST by pushing purchases through their business. Instead they are tempted to join those who work in the black economy."

Pat emphasises there should be huge praise for those who seriously provide a step up for the needy from their own pocket, in voluntary trusts and staff welfare.

Adding to her fair and right lists she wrote there should not be a bonus for departmental heads hired to cut staff and services, while overloading those staff who remain.

"And the growing need to care for our elderly should not depend on paying staff so little that they cannot afford to house or feed their family.''

Pat is adamant that Jesus' call to love our neighbour as ourself suggests a budget based on the common good, including a living wage, children's adequate long term housing to enable a stable neighbourhood upbringing and education, and parents paid adequately in one job, to parent their children well and be home at key times.

This week her column is her take on the current popular debate doing the rounds on Free speech/Hate Speech.

"I'll enjoy writing my view. I am one God botherer who is very interested in this debate.''