12th Assembly 2009

Key people at the Assembly


President: Alistair Macrae

President-elect Alistair MacraeAlistair Macrae was born in 1957 and spent most of his childhood in Sale in rural Victoria. He has degrees in Arts, Theology and Philosophy from Melbourne and Dublin.

Since ordination 25 years ago he has served in rural, regional and inner city congregations (Mt Beauty, Portland and West Brunswick). He served as Moderator of the VicTas Synod (2000-2003) and is currently Executive Director of the Uniting Church Centre for Theology and Ministry in the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. He is on the Board of Wesley Mission Melbourne and chairs its Social Policy Committee. He was an inaugural member of the Victorian State Government’s Community Support Fund, and served on the Advisory Committee of the Community Alcohol Action network of the Australian Drug Foundation.

His interests include sport of most kinds (he played nearly 300 games of Aussie Rules football), cooking, reading, running, renovating, gardening and hanging out with family and friends.

His faith passions include the call to discipleship and sustaining that journey, authentic forms of Christian community and exploring how to confidently share the Christian faith in non imperialistic ways.

He believes that the current challenges facing the church also provide the most exciting opportunities for faithful Christian response in many centuries; and that if the Uniting Church can focus on core issues of mission, we are well placed to respond creatively, compassionately and contextually to our culture’s desperate need for the hope, challenge and beauty of the gospel.

Alistair is committed to building creative bridges between prayer and activism, religion and politics, respect for the individual and the importance of community. He is married to Clare, a writer, and they have four children, three of whom live at home in West Brunswick.

General Secretary: Terence Corkin

Rev Terence CorkinBorn in England in 1956, Terence came to Australia at the age of two and grew up in Sydney. Terence studied Arts and Law as well as his course in Theology in preparation for ordination. Terence became connected to the Christian Church in his high school years. Making his links with the Church in this way has made him very sensitive to the ways in which congregational life can help and hinder people connecting with the church, and coming to faith. After ordination Terence served as a Minister in rural NSW for twenty years - twice in congregational ministry and finally as a Presbytery Minister.

His rural experience has provided him with a strong conviction about the place of the local congregation, in particular the life of its members, in the proclamation of the gospel. The local congregation is pivotal in Terence's understanding of the mission of the Church.

Apart from ministry within the life of the church Terence has always seen it as essential to express his discipleship in the life of the community. He advocates that the Gospel is about the renewal of the whole of creation and that Christians should strive to give expression to this renewal in the world today. Exercising ministry as Assembly General Secretary enables Terence to support the church in a very broad way.

His main hopes for his time as General Secretary are to strengthen the sense of common purpose across all parts of the church's life; and to help the Uniting Church to understand what it means to live the radical model of a church of inter related councils.

Worship Convenor: Chris Budden

Chris BuddenChris Budden is the Minister of North Lake Macquarie Uniting Church in the Newcastle (NSW) area. He is married to Wendy and they have six grown-up children.

He is a member of the present ASC, the chairperson of the 2009 Assembly Worship Committee, and chairperson of the ASC task group on the Constitution. He is also a past chairperson of the Doctrine Working Group, and past General Secretary of the NSW Synod. He has a good working knowledge of the wider church, the Basis of Union and the polity of the church, and the Regulations. He writes regularly for the daily Bible study guides ‘With Love for the World’ and ‘Words for Today’.

Chris has a long interest in the church’s relationship with Indigenous people, the nature of contextual theology in Australia for people who live on invaded land, the relationship between citizenship and discipleship, and how the church gives witness to the claim that Jesus actually makes a difference to life. He is an adjunct member of faculty at UTC, and an associate researcher in the Public and Contextual Theology research centre at Charles Sturt University.

Cato Lecturer: Dr Daniel Smith Christopher

Daniel Smith Christopher. Image courtesy Global Ethics & Religion FormDaniel Smith-Christopher is Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Peace Studies, Loyola Marymount University, LA. Daniel has a doctorate from Oxford University, England, in Old Testament Studies. An active member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), he served for two years in volunteer peace research in Israel/Palestine from 1986 to 1988, and maintains an active interest in peace issues, particularly the Middle East. 

Daniel has particular interests in how cultural and ethnic backgrounds influence the reading and interpretation of Biblical texts. 

He has published 18 scholarly articles and eight books.

Bible Studies: John Squires & Elizabeth Raine

Elizabeth RaineJohn Squires and Elizabeth Raine are Uniting Church members who teach Biblical Studies, play music (classical, modern and ancient), enjoy interfaith dialogue and like to develop creative liturgies in their local congregation. They are passionate about teaching biblical studies in a way that both allows the biblical texts to speak from within their own contexts, and also invites people to explore the issues raised by the biblical texts in conversation with contemporary life.

Elizabeth has taught Biblical Studies at Coolamon College for many years and is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at United Theological College (UTC) and an Academic Associate in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University (CSU). She was ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in 1994 and has since been a congregational minister, a school chaplain, a parish administrator, and a tenants’ rights advocate. She is currently Minister-in-Association at the Chester Street Epping congregation.  

John SquiresJohn is Vice-Principal and Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at UTC and Senior Academic Associate in the School of Theology at CSU. He was ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in 1980 and has served in parish ministries in semi-rural and urban settings, in both Australia and the United States.  

Elizabeth and John are both members of the Uniting Church’s national dialogue with the Jewish community. They enjoy performing different styles of music and writing ‘creative dialogues’ which open up the biblical worlds in new ways. Together they have developed a series of Biblical Culture Days in which selected Jewish festivals or early Christian congregations form the focus for a day-long recreation of biblical culture – incorporating feasting, singing, dancing, entertainment, riddle stories, debates and discussion, as well as their characteristic lecture-by-dialogue style. The photos show John and Elizabeth in their Biblical Culture Day characters (Boaz and Deborah) as well as some of the people who attended and participated. The Bible Studies will provide a glimpse into this form of educational experience.

Administrative Secretary: Robert Key

Robert KeyThe NSW/ACT Synod has appointed Robert Key to the role of Administrative Secretary for the 12th Assembly’s Local Arrangements Committee.
Robert and his family are members of the Leigh Memorial Congregations of the Parramatta Mission.

Robert’s work experience includes 25 years in the banking industry. During this time he held a number of branch banking and administration roles including the responsibility for the assessment of staffing levels in the branch network, staff training and promotion, and was a Bank Manager of a medium sized suburban branch.

After resigning from the ANZ bank in 1987, he took up the position of Manager Property Services within the Board of Finance and Property (now known as Uniting Resources) within the Synod administration of the Uniting Church in Australia.

In 1999, Robert was appointed and commissioned as the Synod Associate Secretary within the Secretariat of the Synod Office. Part of his responsibilities included oversight and organisation of the annual Synod meetings and the convening/ secretarial role of a number of Committees of the Synod.
Having formerly retired from this position in July 2008, the Synod Standing Committee saw merit in appointing Robert to the 12th Assembly.