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By Rowan Forster

Life in Officer’s outskirts is vastly different from Parkes and Geelong, where Presbyterian Minister David Martin has previously called home.

A newcomer to the Cardinia region, he moved into a Tivendale Road property owned by the church late last year.

Mr Martin is starting a Presbytarian Church meet at his home.

But he doesn’t want to stick to old traditions – instead fostering something new and meaningful in the Officer area.

It isn’t as much about strict adherence to faith as it is about teaching the younger generation the right life lessons.

He is recruiting people for his New Life church group, which he plans to operate out of his Tivendale Road property.

“It’s called New Life because I want it to breathe new life into the religion, and try and present something new and less traditional to encourage more people to get involved,” Mr Martin said.

One of the biggest shocks Mr Martin has realised so far, is how friendly the local residents are.

“Everyone is up for a chat and they’re all so welcoming, it’s lovely,” he said.

“It’s nice to finally settle down in a place that embodies those rural and country values, but also continues to grow.”

Despite moving to a new town and starting fresh, Mr Martin has already made a significant number of friends – including some who are helping with his Presbytarian Church bid.

“Everyone is so enthusiastic to help out and lend a hand,” he said.

When Mr Martin isn’t working on his buddling New Life project, he is embracing the country lifestyle on his 10 acre property.

In previous weeks, he has even doubled up at a handyman – renovating his garage to provide a play space for youth who partake in his program.

“I’ve painted the walls and done a lot of sanding on the surfaces so I can really beautify it,” he said.

“If it can get more kids socialising and participating in proactive activities, then I’ll feel accomplished.”

He hopes it will have positive effects for the community.

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