Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Church champions great and small make 2019 Honours List

Rev. Prof. Robert Gribben, Noel Adsett and Rhonda Amos (l to r) were among 30 UCA members in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List. Rev. Prof. Robert Gribben, Noel Adsett and Rhonda Amos (l to r) were among 30 UCA members in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List.

More than 30 Uniting Church members, lay and ordained, working in a wide range of councils and agencies are among 1400 people recognised in the 2019 Australia Day Honours List.

Three people were specifically honoured for service to the Uniting Church.

Rev. Professor Emeritus Robert Gribben of Pilgrim Theological College in Melbourne received an AM for “significant service to the Uniting Church in Australia, to ecumenical relations and theological studies.”

Rev. Prof. Gribben is well known for his lifelong commitment to ecumenism. A former General Secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches (1989-94), Robert also chairs the ecumenical relations committee of the World Methodist Council. He’s also renowned for his liturgical studies and served as the first Secretary of the Australian Consultation on Liturgy. Among his many roles, Assembly members are well acquainted with Rev. Prof. Gribben as Chair of the F J Cato Charitable Trust, which sponsors the Cato Lecture at every triennial Assembly.

Noel Adsett of Aspley in Brisbane received an OAM “for service to the community through the Uniting Church in Australia”.

Mr Adsett is a lay leader, educator and historian with close ties with St Andrew's Uniting Church in Brisbane. He’s has written more than 150 booklets based on soldiers who were lost in World War 1 whose names are listed on St Andrew’s honour boards. Mr Adsett also chaired the Queensland Synod’s Ministerial Education Board and is a former Presbytery Chairperson.

Rhonda Amos, who has played the organ at her local church for more than 50 years, also got an OAM “for service to the Morpeth Uniting Church” in the Hunter District of NSW.

Ms Amos told her local newspaper the Maitland Mercury that it was her family, friends and community who nominated her for the accolade. While she told the Mercury she was initially “crook at them”, Ms Amos said that now she is very humbled by the recognition.

At least 19 other people associated with the Church or its Agenices were acknowledged for their work in their respective fields.

Broadcaster Julie McCrossin of South Sydney Uniting Church received an AM for “significant service to the community, particularly through LGBTIQ advocacy role and to the broadcast media.” McCrossin was arrested by police at the first Sydney Mardi Gras in 1978 and has often used her media profile as a platform to appeal for justice for LGBTIQ people.

“Fighting for change was a psychological necessity in that era. Many people took their own lives because of the hostility of family, psychiatry and faith groups,” Ms McCrossin told AAP.
“Speaking out in the media and asserting that homosexuality was a normal part of human sexuality was a life-saving experience. And it still is,” in response to her award, also pointing out that “while the Uniting Church welcomes LGBTIQ people, there is an ongoing battle to be accepted and welcomed into most faith communities.”

Ms McCrossin also told AAP that the current demands for new legal protections for religious freedom “are a fight back from conservative forces in our community who oppose the acceptance of sexual diversity,” she said.
“It should no longer be possible for gay and lesbian teachers to be sacked from religious schools, or for students to be expelled or made to feel abnormal for being gay or transgender. This is the next big fight in Australia.”

Ms McCrossin also joined the debate about the current Australian Honours system. Only 37% of recipients are women and there are increasing calls to overhaul to system.

“We have to update the [Honours] system so we ensure we have representations of the full diversity of the Australian population,” said Ms McCrossin

Other UCA recipients included Peter Bicknell, the Chair of the UnitingCare Australia’s National Committee from 2006-2017, and former Federal MP and Chair of the UnitingJustice Reference Committee Professor John Langmore, who both received AMs.

John de Wijn QC, who attends The Village Church at Mt Eliza on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula also received an AM. Mr de Wijn's awardwas for significant service to youth through Scouts at a state and national level, and to taxation law.

Rev. Dr Alan Stubbs of Thornlie in WA received a posthumous OAM for service to veterans and their families. The former Defence Force Chaplain had a long and close relationship with the Vietnam Veterans Association in WA.

A full list of all Honours recipients including their biographical details is available on the Governor-General’s website.

Other recipients with a connection to the UCA or its agencies include the following. (If you know of any others please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Dr Roger Konrad Wilkinson AM, Everton Park QLD For significant service to medicine as a cardiovascular surgeon, and to the community. Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Clayfield Uniting Church: Church Elder, 15 years. Member, Church Council, current. Lay Preacher, since 2017. Parishioner, 25 years.

Dr Ian Lintern Airey AM, Coorparoo QLD For service to the community through Wesley Mission Queensland. Service includes: Member, Wesley Mission Queensland Board, since 2011. Chairperson, Wesley Mission Queensland Council, since 2015. Member, UnitingCare Queensland Board, 2002-2011. Chairperson, Aged Care Board of Wesley Mission Brisbane, 1994-2000. Member, Albert Street Church Choir, since 1990.

Mrs Joy Lorraine Godfrey OAM, Redcliffe QLD For service to the community through charitable initiatives. Coordinator, Giving from the Heart program at Redcliffe Uniting Church since 2013. 

Ms Barbara Doreen Guy OAM, Kirwan QLD For service to community health. Lifeline (part of UnitingCare Queensland). Service Lead and Trainer, Townsville, since 2009. Telephone Crisis Support Coordinator, current. Co-ordinator for Community Recovery, current.

Mr Peter Geoffrey Henderson OAM, Eight Mile Plains QLD For service to the community. Councillor and Treasurer, Presbyterian Methodist Schools Association, 2009-2015. Former Director, The Wesley Hospital. Former Member, Uniting Health Care Board. Former Director, Blue Nursing Brisbane Central. Former Assistant Director Finance, Uniting Church in Australia Queensland.

Ms Andrea Powys Staines OAM, Tallai QLD For service to business, and as a role model for women. Non-Executive Director appointments in private sector including UnitingCare Queensland, since 2016. 

Mr Terence Grant Birtles OAM, Spring Range NSW For service to the community through a range of roles. Community Uniting Church in Australia Canberra City Uniting Church: Chairperson, Church Council,

Mr Russell Kingsley Foxe OAM, NSW For service to the community through charitable organisations. Chair, The Kogarah Storehouse (a Uniting Church initiative) since 2002. Board Member, since 1992. Also Chair and Member, MLC Burwood Council.

Mrs Coleen Lucille Houston OAM, Hay NSW For service to the community of Hay. Bishop’s Lodge Historic House and Heritage Rose Garden, Committee Member since 1985. Coordinator, Lodge Spring Market, ‘for 10 years’. Rose Society of South Australia. President, Chaffey Rose Club (Branch), since circa 2013. Hay Uniting Church Elder, current.

Mrs Margaret Gwendoline Kennedy OAM, Armidale NSW For service to the community of Armidale. Re-established Armidale Drama and Musical Society, 1990-2007. Teacher, Sandon Public School, 1981-1990. Founder, Armidale Eights Square Dance, 1974-1983. Coordinator, Uniting Church Youth Group, 1974-1981.

Mrs Gillian Margaret Lomath OAM For service to the community of Mullumbimby. Coordinator, Mullumbimby Food Box, current. Committee Member, Mullumbimby HIgh School Students Ex-Students Association, current. Volunteer, Cancer Council of Brunswick Valley, 2009-2017. Member, Brunswick Valley Uniting Church.

Mrs Jane Thornton OAM, Killara NSW For service to the community through social welfare organisations. Uniting Board Member, since 2014. Member, Mission Governance Collaboration Committee, since 2018. Chair, Capital Advancement Committee, since 2017. Member, Capital Advancement Committee, since 2014. Member, Governance and Church Collaboration Committee, 2017 – 2018. Member, Mission and Church Collaboration Committee, 2016 – 2017. Member, Governance Committee, 2016 – 2017.

Mrs Marion Ruth Meischke OAM, Gundaroo NSW For service to education. Casual Teacher, Gundaroo Public School, 1987-1995 and 2000-2006. Founding Music Teacher, Jerrabomberra Public School, 2002-2015. Volunteer, Uniting Church Community Centre, Gundaroo, since 1988.

Mrs Ann Margaret Connan OAM, Frankston South VIC For service to children. Leader, Kids of the Uniting Church in Australia Program, since 1986. World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women • President Emeritus, since 2016. World President, 2011-2016. • Backpack Project, since 2007. Uniting Church Adult Fellowship • Australian President, 2000-2003. • Victorian State President, 1998-1999. The Council for Christian Education in Schools • Volunteer Teacher, 1986-2013. • Paid Trainer of Volunteers, 1987-2006.

Mr Andrew Frank Jessop OAM, Craigieburn VIC For service to the community. Hume City Council • Mayor, 2016-2017, and 2001-2002. • Deputy Mayor, 2000-2001. • Councillor, since 1997. St Thomas Uniting Church, Craigieburn Secretary, since 2017. Council Member, since 1988. Ministry Team Member, since 2014. Coordinator, Men's Group, more than 10 years. Orana Uniting Care. Former Chair. Former Board Member.

Mr John Leonard Hudson OAM, Camberwell VIC For service to the community of Hawthorn. Community Manager, Boroondara Farmers Market, since 2008. Voluntary Auditor, Auburn Uniting Church, current.

Mr Raymond Henry Luscombe OAM, Shepparton VIC For service to the community of Shepparton. Toolamba Cemetery Trust. Chairman since 1996. Volunteer Caretaker, 25 years. Shepparton Uniting Church Chairman, Church Council, 2015-2018. Elder, current. Volunteer, Opportunity Shop, current. Waranga Uniting Church Council Chair, 2007-2011. Representative, Toolamba Uniting Church, 1977-2011. Toolamba Uniting Church Secretary, 1968-1985. Elder, 1971-2011. Sunday School Teacher, 1957-1962. Youth Group President, 1960-1962. Youth Group Secretary, 1956-1959.

Mr Neil Malcolm Lamond OAM, Geelong VIC For service to tennis. Tennis Geelong: Member, since 1965. Senior Competition Recorder, since 1990. Secretary, 1987-1988. Treasurer, 1977-1987. President, 1974-1977. St. Albans - St. Andrews Uniting Church Geelong: Elder, current. Church Council Member, current. Offering Recorder, current. Part of the bible reading roster for Sunday worship, current. Working Bee volunteer, current. New ministries selection committee member, current.

Mr Ian Gordon Taylor OAM, Stawell VIC For service to the community of Stawell. Volunteer Driver, Stawell Meals on Wheels program, current. Volunteer, Stawell Riding for the Disabled, many years. Volunteer Projectionist, local Town Hall. Former Member, Stawell Young Farmers Association; Stawell Progress Association. Stawell Uniting Church - Newsletter Editor, since 2014. Maintains the Church Contact Directory, current. Organiser, DVD Home Ministry, current. Helps maintain the Church Memorial Rose Garden.

Mrs Margaret Ann Taylor OAM, Stawell VIC For service to the community of Stawell. Riding for the Disabled Inaugural Member, since 1988 and involved with the establishment of the Centre. Level 1 Riding Coach, since 1993. Head Coach, since 2005. Life Member, 2014. Trainee Coach Mentor, many years. Has owned and cared for a number of the horses used by the Centre. Stawell Uniting Church - Church Elder, current Host and Coordinator, House Church (at her home Callawadda), many years. Involved with the weekly church newsletter, and maintains the Church Memorial Rose Garden, ongoing. Eventide Retirement Home Stawell • Volunteer, over 15 years. • Coordinator, weekly church service (through the Stawell Uniting Church) over 20 years.

Mrs Ann Dorothea Buchan OAM, Hahndorf SA For service to medicine as a neurological physiotherapist. Mrs Buchan worships at Burnside City Uniting Church.

Mr Ronald Colin Sargent OAM, Goolwa SA For service to the community through a range of organisations. Goolwa District Lions Club. President, 2005-2006; since 2018. Mylor Uniting Church - Church Elder. Member, Synod Property Committee. Former Youth Group Leader.

Mrs Joan Clare Zanker OAM Mount Barker SA For service to the community of Mount Barker. Mount Barker District Council - Councillor, 1983-2010 including eight years as Mayor. Joan is a long standing member of the Mt Barker Uniting Church and has given many volunteer hours of service.

Ms Pantjiti Unkari McKenzie OAM Docker River NT For service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory. Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council. Former Custodian Manager and Producer, Ernabella Video and Television. Film and documentary maker, 1984-2004. A UAICC-UCA member.

Mr Ian McNeil Lindsay OAM Helena Valley WA For service to education. Former Deputy Principal at Scotch College, a Uniting Church WA school.