After two years without a pastor, Ceduna's new Lutheran Parish pastor has been installed in low-key circumstances due to current restrictions.
Pastor Andrew Vanderwal was to be recognised as the new pastor at an installation service this Sunday, however the situation relating to COVID-19 has seen all church services called off indefinitely.
Pastor Vanderwal was installed via letter from the Bishop of South Australia and Northern Territory David Altus, with a celebration of his arrival to take place at a later time.
It means the new pastor can service as best as he can until restrictions are lifted.
A pastor since 2001, Pastor Vanderwal was most recently in Victor Harbor and has spent much of the past two decades on the Fleurieu Peninsula, but also had a stint at Toowoomba in Queensland.
He is hoping to get going as soon as possible in his role.
"I am privileged to be able to serve the people of Ceduna," Pastor Vanderwal said.
"I look forward to getting to know the community when all the current restrictions ease."
Pastor Vanderwal is no stranger to the region, having visited the Far West numerous times on fishing trips, while his son lives in Port Lincoln.
He has arrived in Ceduna without wife Penny, who has remained in Victor Harbor to look after her business.
"She will visit me and I will visit her periodically - it will be a long-distance relationship, but we'll get through."
Pastor Vanderwal will be involved with services at St Paul's Lutheran Church in Ceduna and the Denial Bay Bethlehem Lutheran Church, while the parish is also affiliated with Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Koonibba.
The COVID-19 restrictions means Pastor Vanderwal will slowly integrate himself into the Ceduna community.
He said it was important during this time to be thinking of the well-being of others.
"I can't meet unless under exceptional circumstances, but I am getting to know people and establishing ways to be there for the parish without physically being there," he said.
"I will provide a written message every week to the parish, and right now it's more about encouraging people to be there for each other - they all know each other and I will slowly get to know people.
"We need to be practising social responsibility as per the directives given by government authorities and it is important we seek to consider the needs of others before ourselves."
Pastor Vanderwal said he was looking forward to integrating himself in the parish.
"I want to help the community support each other as best they can and want to enable our church community to be part of that," he said.
"I would like to break down the preconceptions that people who don't know God may have - he is way more forgiving, loving and grace-filled than people might expect.
"I want to share the wonderful news that God loves everyone equally and without favour."