QUC Intentional Interim Ministry Placement (IIM). For more info click here.
I grew up in Sydney and was involved in the church throughout my childhood: attending Sunday School, being confirmed, learning the catechism, and participating in youth group all figured in my upbringing. I learnt classical piano as a teenager and undertook a degree in music after I left school. I still enjoy listening to classical music, although my musical tastes have broadened over the years.
In the year that the Uniting Church was formed, I started theological studies, and this set the course for four decades of ministry which have followed. Around the same time, I married and over the next decade my wife and I became the parents of three children—who are now adults, each with their own children. I was ordained in 1980.
I spent almost five years in the USA as a graduate student in theology, and completed my PhD in 1988. After two periods of ministry in congregations (one semi-rural, the other inner city), I was appointed to teach Biblical Studies at UTC in Sydney. For two decades, I taught candidates for ministry and lay people and helped to shape a generation of UCA ministers. I served some years as Academic Dean and some years as Vice-Principal. It was a wonderful privilege.
After that, I served in a regional role on the mid-north coast of NSW, with mixed Congregation and Presbytery responsibilities, and then, most recently, I moved back into theological education, as the Director of Education and Formation and Principal of Perth Theological Hall in WA. Now, I am at Queanbeyan.
I’ve been active in the wider church as a member of committees on doctrine, education and interfaith relationships. I am active in the councils of the church and last year I attended Presbytery, Synod, and Assembly, all in the same year!
I’m one of many people in society who has experienced divorce, and I have been greatly blessed to have been married now to Elizabeth for 25 years. She also has three adult children, so between us we have six children and ten grandchildren (with another one due mid-year). Our family is scattered, living in Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, and Perth. Elizabeth was ordained in 1994 and currently serves as minister for the Tuggeranong Congregation. We have done a number of things together in ministry, including our shared placement on the mid-north coast.
My faith is important to me, and I try to ensure that it influences the way that I live. I grew up as a “member of the church” but now prefer to see myself as a “disciple of Jesus”, seeking to live out the values of the kingdom of God in my life through acts of faithful discipleship. Elizabeth and I try to live a life which has minimal impact on the environment: refusing plastic, growing our own food, shopping locally and seeking to be faithful stewards of the whole creation. It is a discipline that always needs attention.
Justice is at the heart of my faith; I try to live with a faithful response to the prayer, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Elizabeth and I have taken part in vigils and actions led by Love Makes A Way, seeking justice for those who seek the safety of refuge in our country. We have worked with Aboriginal young people and their elders and are strongly committed to reconciliation with our First Peoples. We have been active members of Climate Change Australia, seeking justice for our environment. We believe that Australian society ought to be structured in a way that ensures those living in poverty are provided with adequate support to live in this “lucky country”.
These are values that are central to the Uniting Church ethos. Your Congregation’s vision statement, “the whole of creation reconciled and renewed”, expresses these commitments very clearly. Your work within the local community attests to your desire to live out these commitments in practical ways. I am looking forward to sharing with you in these forms of discipleship and ministry.