Darren Garlett, newly appointed director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia. [Photo: Adventist Record]

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First Indigenous Pastor Named Aboriginal Ministries Leader in Australia

New director is a well known and respected leader among native communities.

Pastor Darren Garlett has been named the new director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries (ATSIM) for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC).

Garlett is a Whadjuk/Mineng Nyoongar from the southern region of Western Australia and is the first indigenous minister to be appointed as ATSIM director in Australia. After joining the Adventist Church in 1993, Garlett studied Christian Ministry and Theology at Nungalinya College in Darwin, Australia. His experience there was used to assist in developing the ATSIM Bible College in Western Australia, now known as Mamarapha College. Garlett was one of the first students enrolled to study at Mamarapha in 1997 and was among the first graduating class in 1999.

“We are looking forward to the new role. Sure, we have big shoes to fill, but it’s always been God’s work, and we will be faithful to the task he has called us to do.”

“ATSIM is a dynamic ministry that covers this vast continent of diverse first nations people,” said Garlett. “It’s an exciting ministry, and to be called to lead it is very humbling to know that the Adventist Church recognizes that we have qualities that can contribute to this awesome work.

“We are looking forward to the new role. Sure, we have big shoes to fill, but it’s always been God’s work, and we will be faithful to the task he has called us to do.”

Garlett’s appointment comes after Steve Piez, who served the Church in the ATSIM role for 18 years, including 11 as director, announced he was taking personal leave.

“I am very pleased with the appointment of Pastor Garlett as our new national ATSIM director,” said Piez. “Darren has become well known and is loved and respected by the Australia-wide ATSIM community. It’s a proud day for ATSIM, and I believe that it is fitting that Pastor Garlett has been tasked with leading this work.”

Garlett has ministered in various locations around Australia and was most recently ministry coordinator at Mamarapha College and national ATSIM advisor.

“ATSIM work in Australia is a strong and vibrant ministry, and is growing rapidly right across the land,” said AUC president Jorge Munoz. “It is a historic time in the work of ATSIM in Australia, and we are excited to see what God will do through the leadership of Pastor Garlett. We invite our church to pray for him, his wife Cathy, and their family as they begin this new ministry.”


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