Fr Ruwan was appointed the Parish Priest of Whittlesea and Kinglake Ranges in September 2016, and has come to the parish with 25 years of experience of ordained ministry. He believes his primary calling is to parish ministry where God's people can be pastorally cared for and nourished by God's Word and love to live meaningful lives.

Fr Ruwan says: “The invitation to be the parish priest of Whittlesea and Kinglake Ranges came "as an answer to my prayer to God to give me a people with whom I could share God’s love and care in the ordinariness of life, and especially where there’s grief, relationship breakdowns, issues in family relations and a general search for direction and purpose in life.”

The church walls means very little to Fr Ruwan, and his service is to the whole community.

Fr Ruwan is available to the whole community and you to be: the shoulder for you to cry on; the ear to  listen to your worries; the pair of eyes to recognise and love you as a person bearing the image of God. Fr Ruwan is available to take hold of your hand and support, love, and journey with you in life. 

The Whittlesea-Kinglake Returned Servicemen's League (RSL) appointed Fr Ruwan their Chaplain in 2016 to care and support our veterans who have given their lives for the defense of our home, Australia, and the liberties we enjoy.

Before his appointment in the Emirates, for a decade, he was the Parish Priest of St. Alban’s Anglican Church, North Melbourne, and the Lecturer in Pastoral Theology and Asian Religions at Trinity College Theological School of the University of Divinity.


Between 2009 and 2011 he was the Senior Chaplain of RMIT University with a team of 13 interfaith ministers of religion.


Previous to his ministry in Melbourne, Fr Ruwan has served six parishes in New Zealand where he was ordained to the Holy Orders in 1992 by the Archbishop of New Zealand and Polynesia and the Bishop of Wellington: His Grace the Most Reverend Brian Davis. Between 1997 and 1999, he also taught Asian Religions at Victoria University of Wellington.

Prior to coming to Whittlesea, Fr Ruwan served St. Margaret's Anglican Church in Eltham for twelve months as locum Priest, and immediately prior to that he was the Senior Priest of the of the Anglican Church in the United Arab Emirates which is made up of five large Anglican and 375 other congregations from a vast number of Christian denominations numbering a membership of about 200,000 expatriate Christians. There, under the authority of and as the representative of the Bishop of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, he also had the distinguished role of being the Church’s Ambassador to the Rulers of the Emirates and the Diplomatic Missions.

The Reverend Dr

Ruwan Palapathwala 

Fr Ruwan is a qualified in life-direction and Life-Purpose coaching and counselling, and wants to offer this service free to anyone in Whittlesea and Kinglake seeking life coaching and counselling.

His credentials include a Diploma in Counselling, Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Theology and Education. He also holds the Doctorate of the Victoria University Wellington New Zealand. 


Over the last 25 years, besides his ministry in parishes in New Zealand and Australia, he has taught in several institutions of higher learning, represented the church at many national and international forums on interfaith concerns, practical and pastoral theology. He has also presented academic papers at many international conferences and published widely on pastoral theology, the intertextuality of the Holy Books, the theology of Paul Tillich, globalisation, interfaith dialogue, Buddhism and Christianity, terrorism, suffering, and ageing and spirituality in later life.

At present, his main research interest are: later life, death, dying and the afterlife with a special focus on near-death and shared death experiences (which point to our true Home and eternal life in God).