8th June 2023

Suffering produces perseverance

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; character; and character, hope.” Rom 5:3-4

Earlier this year, Rev Beth Jackson, Head of Ordination at the BUV Support Hub was thrilled to finalise Elizabeth Johnstone’s ordination process that began more than 12 years earlier. On 25th February, Elizabeth was officially ordained to the ministry of Word, Sacrament, Pastoral Care and Mission by the Baptist Union of Victoria at Seymour Baptist Church by Rev Daniel Bullock.

Liz started her ordination process more than 12 years ago when living in Nelson Bay, NSW. In 2011, just months before she was to be ordained, Elizabeth went in to hospital to have a pelvic mesh implant inserted. It was to be a 15 minute procedure but unfortunately led to 10 years of pain and disability.

Almost immediately after the surgery, Elizabeth experienced pain and could not continue working. She was diagnosed as ‘permanently disabled’ in 2012. After seeing many doctors over years, Elizabeth was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. She accepted her fate and that she would never walk on her own again.


In 2019, Elizabeth learnt about a Senate Inquiry into the pelvic mesh implants and wondered If she, like thousands of other women, was suffering from an allergic reaction to the implant. This was to be confirmed by a specialist in 2020. Additionally, Elizabeth’s neurologist ruled in 2021, that she did not in fact have multiple sclerosis.

Soon after, Elizabeth and her husband Geoffrey decided to self-fund the expensive operation to remove the implant – and what a good decision it was. “I went into hospital in a wheelchair to get the pelvic implant removed and 3 days later, I walked out – the surgeons gave me my life back.”

In November 2021, after moving to Victoria, Elizabeth’s husband Geoffrey took up the pastoral role at Seymour Baptist Church. “I asked the leadership team to recognise the hard work that Elizabeth accomplished to become a pastor and they were only too pleased to sponsor her application to the BUV for ordination.”

Director of Mission and Ministries, Rev Daniel Bullock, and Head of Ordination, Rev Beth Jackson agreed and on February 25th, made a trip to Seymour to officially recognise Elizabeth into Ordination in the Baptist Union of Victoria. The Vine Bapitst church in Alexandra that Geoffrey also pastors, voted Elizabeth in as Associate Pastor. Elizabeth rejoices “I love that I can now do what I studied for all those years ago!”

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