Fr. Bruce Charles
Fr. Bruce grew up in the British Colonies: the Solomon Islands, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Zambia. He was educated in Hong Kong at the Kowloon Junior School and then at Scotch College Melbourne as a border. He completed a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s. He studied: history, ancient history, English, law and philosophy. It was during this time that he abandoned plans to be a lawyer and, whilst being forced to reflect upon the foundations of his life values, made a commitment to seek the truth. This led to further studies in philosophy, Eastern philosophy and religion, and various forms of metaphysics. After coming to the conclusion, that God exists, he learnt to practice various spiritual disciplines such as meditation and prayer. In due course he returned to his Christian foundations and studied theology.
After serving as a catechist in the parish of Castlemaine, he was ordained deacon in 1981 and then priest in April of 1982. As an assistant priest in the parish of Castlemaine he was also in a shared Ministry with the Uniting Church.
His second curacy was in the parish of South East Bendigo and then he became rector of Donald – Birchip in 1985. In 1991, he and his family moved to the parish of Newborough, in the diocese of Gippsland. In 1998, he and his family moved to the parish of Wonthaggi– Inverloch, where he served for 11 years before becoming Rector of the parish of Moe, in October of 2009.
Throughout his ministry, Bruce has tried to hold the tension between a deep commitment to the contemplative journey of prayer and meditation, the journey inward and the passion for social Justice, the journey outward. The latter fostered by his childhood in the British colonies and experiencing from a very young age, the extremes of wealth and poverty in human life.
Having been involved in the rural crisis in the Wimmera – Mallee in the 1980′s, the community response to the privatisation of the then State electricity commission and its effects in the LatroBe Valley in the 1990′s, he has been a consistent advocate for the marginalised in society. He now faces the dual challenge of developing a community-based Ministry in the parish of Moe ( Moe being in the top 5% in Australia for social disadvantage ) and assisting the southern Sudanese refugee community integrate into Australian society, and working with them to better the life of those that they have left behind in southern Sudan. One of his and the parish’s greatest challenges is to comprehend the gap between life in southern Sudan and the Kenyan refugee camp, with life in Australia.