By Dorothy Preece.
Rev Mary Petersen died on Saturday, 6 May after a long battle with Leukaemia. She
was 74. Mary served as Minister at St Andrew’s Church for 11 years, from 2004-2015. She
lived in Tairua and will be remembered by many people in Mercury Bay.
A trained primary school teacher, Mary loved working with children. In 1990 she was
appointed National Co-ordinator for Bible - in- Schools in New Zealand and for ten years.
she travelled extensively with that work. In 2001 the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa
New Zealand appointed Mary as the National Co-ordinator for Children and Families, a role
which she kept for three years. During her ministry with St Andrew’s Mary continued
the Mainly Music programme for pre-schoolers, started by Pauline Stewart in 2002.
Scores of children came to those sessions and Mary baptised many babies, as well as
conducted many weddings and funerals. Mary instigated the Monday Meals programme, free of charge for anyone in need of a hot meal, which still continues today.
She also served as Chaplain for the RSA in Mercury Bay, as school chaplain at MBAS, and of course, she taught Bible-in-Schools at Mercury Bay and Coroglen. Rev Mary was ill for a long time, but in
February this year she found the strength to return to St Andrew’s to lead the Sunday morning service in celebration of their 125-Year Anniversary, a very special homecoming. Mary died at her daughter’s home in Raglan, and her passing will be mourned all round New Zealand.
The funeral will be held at Twentyman's Chapel in Thames on Monday, 22 May at 2:00pm.
Caption: Remembering Rev Mary Petersen.