Download the latest list of Taskforce members as a pdf here: Taskforce Board Members August 2016
The Right Reverend Philip Huggins
Bishop of the North West Region, Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. Chairman, Brotherhood of St Laurence. Chair, Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee, Melbourne
Ordained in 1977, Bishop Huggins has held clerical appointments in regional Victoria, Melbourne, and was Assistant Bishop in Perth and Bishop of Grafton, NSW.
He is Chair of the Anglican Diocese’s Social Responsibilities Committee and Multi-Cultural Ministry Committee, and Chair of the Board of the Brotherhood of St Laurence. He is Co-Chair of Christian World Service Commission (ACT for Peace), board member of St Laurence Community Services, and member of the Australian Churches Anti-Gambling Taskforce. He is on the Board of the Centre of Dialogue (La Trobe University), and the Australian Intercultural Society Advisory Board. He actively contributes to multi-faith and multi-cultural issues both locally and internationally.
The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt
Chair, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce. Dean, St John’s Cathedral. Chair, Brisbane Anglican Diocese Social Responsibilities Committee.
Dr Catt is Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane. He is committed to forming life-giving relationships within the community and across the diocese and city. His interests include Christian Formation, liturgical innovation, the interaction between science and religion, and narrative theology. He is a member of a number of environmental and Human Rights organisations and has served on Anglican Social Justice Committees at both Diocesan and National level.
Ms Hutch Hussein
Senior Manager, Ecumenical Migration Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence
Ms Hutch Hussein is the Senior Manager for Refugees, Immigration & Multiculturalism at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. She undertakes advocacy on refugee policy and oversees the Ecumenical Migration Centre and African Australian Community Centre.
Social work trained, over the past 14 years she has worked with at-risk young people, family violence victims and in the field of adult mental health and settlement of newly arrived refugees. Hutch has also worked for as a Ministerial Adviser in the Victorian State Government in the portfolios of Education and Women’s Affairs.
Prior to her BSL role, she was Deputy CEO & General Manager of Advocacy, Innovation & Marketing at Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre.
Born in Australia to Turkish-Cypriot Muslim parents, Hutch regards herself as a cultural Muslim and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work and is also a recipient of the Vincent Fairfax ‘Ethics in Leadership’ Fellowship.
Centre Manager, Assyrian Resource Centre. Assyrian Church information
Carmen Lazar is a well-known Assyrian community representative. Carmen migrated to Australia in 1971 with her parents and two sisters. She is respected and valued among community services networks.
Current: Manager and Community Settlement Officer, Assyrian Resource Centre that includes the Assyrian Australian Association which is in receipt of funding from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for Settlement Grants Program (SGP) and for Diversity and Social Cohesion Program (DSCP) / Member of the Fairfield Migrant Interagency (Fairfield Council) / Principal of Assyrian Diqlat School (from 1996 to present) which is the Saturday Assyrian school that operates in two schools: St Johns Park High School and Fairfield High School with a total of 220 students / Member of the Refugee Task Force of the National Council of Churches in Australia / Act for Peace Commissioner of the National Council of Churches in Australia / Deputy Chairperson of the Consumer and Community Participation Network at Fairfield Hospital / Member, Fairfield Housing Task Force and Fairfield Community Police Action Group / Member, Immigrant Women’s Network Group for the prevention of violence against women. / Community Support for Women Volunteer (once a month), Villawood Detention Centre
Past: Board Member, Federation of Community Language Schools NSW, Department of Education / 2012, Management Degree from Charles Sturt University, and Diploma in Community Services / Publisher, Assyrian Language text books (total of seven books) / Employee Relations Officer, SKILLED Group Ltd. / Team Leader Accounts, Fairfax Group Ltd.
Achievements/awards: 2012 -2013 People of Australia Ambassador / 2012 Community service Award from the Assyrian Australian National Federation / 2008 Australia Day Achievement Award / 2008 Life member, Assyrian Australian Association
Chair, Baptist Social Issues Committee
Rod Benson is an ethicist with the Tinsley Institute at Morling College in Sydney, and Public Affairs Director for the NSW Council of Churches.
As well as providing research, lobbying and media support for Baptist churches and pastors in NSW/ACT and around Australia, and representing Baptists in various contexts, Rod has a personal interest in refugee issues, religious freedom, climate change action and gambling reform.
He is also a radio commentator, with short political commentaries each Sunday on radio.
Multicultural Pastor & Consultant, Baptist Union of Victoria
Rev Meewon Yang grew up in Korea where she was raised an active Presbyterian, and came to Australia in 1989. She was ordained as a Baptist Pastor in 1997, and soon after began working with the Baptist Union as a Multicultural Adviser.
She is now a Multicultural Pastor, caring for pastors and congregations in Victoria’s 70 migrant ethnic Baptist congregations from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds.
Meewon has been a passionate advocate for asylum seekers and refugees. She established the Refugee Airfare and Assistance scheme, pioneered a chaplaincy role at an asylum seeker house set up by Brunswick Baptist Church, and then helped to establish the Sanctuary asylum seeker transitional housing project run by Baptcare.
Meewon established the Multicultural Working Group within the Baptist Union of Victoria to provide empowerment and wider leadership to its multicultural work. At a national level she chairs the Australian Baptist Ministries national network of leaders responsible for refugee and migrant ministries.
In 2012 Meewon completed her Masters Degree which looked at models of Multicultural ministry. She is a regular adjunct lecturer at Whitley College and within the MCD University.
Dr Lucy Morris was appointed Baptistcare’s CEO in late 2008. She has held leadership positions in the WA community sector since emigrating from the UK to Australia over 20 years ago. She has also worked in the drug and alcohol field, and as a journalist and PR consultant in the UK.
Lucy’s educational qualifications include a 1st Class BA Theology Honours Degree and a Master of Philosophy Degree both from Manchester University. She achieved her Ph.D. in 2007 at Curtin University following 3 years of research into ‘Leadership, ethics, values and spirituality in NGOs and the integration of personal and organisational belief systems’. This was published in 2007 and was followed by a second book in 2009 on the role of women in charities.
Lucy is active in her local church, St George’s Anglican Church in Dunsborough and was ordained as a Deacon in December 2013. She is currently on the journey towards ordination as a priest in November 2014. She is an active advocate for women’s issues and offers a feminist critique of leadership, spirituality and ethical governance of the community sector. Her work also explores the issues of consumerism and the impact of capitalism; and she is passionate about the social justice issues of human trafficking, slavery and refugees. She is currently Chairperson of the national peak body Baptist Care Australia and on Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Service’s Gender Sub-Committee. She is Deputy Chairperson, of ACSWA, Aged and Community Services WA. She has been on a number of community boards over the years both as a member and as Chair. Lucy is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame Australia; and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Her hobbies include reading, writing – as she continues to publish journal articles, co-authoring on a number of issues, and presenting at conferences. She writes her own blog through Baptistcare. She enjoys occasional walks on the beach, catching up with friends, and working in the community.
Executive Officer, Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane
As Executive Officer of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane, Peter Arndt is also Convenor of the Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network. He participates in a number of reference groups associated with the management of Government-funded refugee support programs and the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation. He also works in advocacy on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, climate change, protection of outworkers, the death penalty and human rights in Sri Lanka and West Papua.
Brigid Arthur is a Brigidine Sister who trained both as a Primary and Secondary teacher. She taught and was Principal of schools for many years. Brigid has a degree in Arts (Melbourne University) and educational and Mathematics/Science degrees from Australian Catholic University, La Trobe University, Monash University and Melbourne University. Brigid studied at Fordham University in New York where she graduated with a Masters degree in Religious Education. She has studied theology at Yarra Theological College.
Brigid is the joint coordinator of the Brigidine Asylum Seekers’ Project. This work has been at both a hands on level – helping asylum seekers and refugees with accommodation, and other practical support, and in advocacy – trying to change the present policies and procedures used in Australia to deter asylum seekers coming to this country.
Brigid is a member of the Board of the Asylum Seekers Project and a member of the refugee Advocacy Network.
General Secretary, NCCA
CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN AUSTRALIA
Mission & Community Engagement, Churches of Christ in SA & NT
Mark is the Co-ordinator for Mission and Community Engagement with Churches of Christ in SA & NT. For the past 15 years Mark has pastored churches in Ferntree Gully, Vic and Blackwood, SA. Currently a director for the Stirling Theological College board where he is currently studying a Masters in Theological Studies. Mark is also on the adjunct faculty for the Uniting College in Adelaide, a member of the board of reference for Urban Neighbours Of Hope & Stop the Traffik and co-ordinates Surrender Conference in SA. Mark is a passionate advocate for asylum seekers and for more than 12 years has been working closely with asylum seekers and refugees in detention, campaigning on their behalf and assisting with community integration while in their final stages of processing.
General Secretary, Queensland Churches Together
Born and raised in Queensland, Richard was ordained an Anglican priest in 1977, and has served in parish ministry, theological education and ecumenical ministry activities, including as a broadcaster on Christian radio. Richard is now General Secretary and was previous President of Queensland Churches Together. He is Chaplain to Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall, with responsibility for Diocesan and Provincial matters and Residentiary Canon of St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane. He also serves as a member of the Ministry Education Commission and the Anglican Committee for Ecumenical Affairs.
In addition to his years of parish ministry, he has also served as Vice Principal, Dean of Studies and Lecturer in Biblical Studies at St John’s Theological College, Morpeth NSW and as Regional Representative for ABM in Queensland. Richard holds a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Queensland and a Masters in Professional Communications from the University of Southern Queensland.
Acting Executive Director, Act For Peace
Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Misha has extensive experience living and working in the regions from which people flee as asylum seekers and refugees including Palestine, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam and Cambodia. She was formerly the CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, and has also worked for the Australian Government’s aid agency AusAID, at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, and has led Asian Development Bank and US Government aid programs in the Asia-pacific region. She has a Masters degree in Environmental Law and post-graduate qualifications in development studies, monitoring and evaluation.
Formerly, as a Registered Nurse and Midwife, Misha worked in black townships in South Africa during apartheid and in several Australian indigenous communities throughout the 1990’s. In 2000 she was awarded the Australian Service Medal by the Australian Government for active duty in the Multinational Peacekeeping Mission to Bougainville. In 2007 she was awarded two medals by the Government of Vietnam for services to development. Misha was elected as a Board Member of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid in 2011, the peak body for Australian NGOs which operate in the international aid and development sector, and is also currently an elected Councillor in the City of Yarra.
Director, Lutheran Community Care, SA
Helen is Director of Lutheran Community Care in South Australia and Northern Territory and is a member of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce. She is a member of the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Commission on Social and Bioethical Questions and has worked within the South Australian Council of Churches, contributing to the Theology and Welfare in Conversation group. Originally trained as a teacher, she most enjoys listening to the stories and experiences of people and learning from them.
Commissioner, Christian World Service.
Sieneke is currently a Commissioner of Christian World Service and is an experienced program manager in international development and emergency management, with experience across Quaker Service Australia, Caritas Australia, and Oxfam Australia, having lived and worked in Cambodia, Indonesia and East Timor. She’s also a new Australian, having been born and educated in Holland, a grandmother and a Quaker.
Major Sandy Crowden
Territorial Social Justice Secretary.
Indigenous/Cross Cultural Ministries Consultant
A Scottish born Australian, Sandra has served as a Salvation Army Officer for 28 years. During this time she has held appointments in Victoria and the Northern Territory; as well as in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Her service has been varied and has included Pastoral Leadership as well as Administrative and Teaching roles. A mother and a grandmother, Sandra longs to see all people given the opportunities to flourish.
Captain Nesan Kistan
Territorial Multicultural Coordinator, NSW Regional Police Chaplain, Auburn Corps Office
Nesan grew up in Apartheid South-Africa acutely aware of the challenges facing people from different cultural and national groups. For last nine years, he has worked tirelessly in the Auburn LGA supporting, refugees, Aslyum seekers and new arrivals who have arrived as skilled migrants or under Australian humanitarian programs. This diverse and cultural melting pot has been his workplace and home teaching him life lessons from this growing global village.
National Director, Uniting Justice Australia, Uniting Church in Australia Assembly. Chair, Christian World Service
Past President UCA
Rev Drayton’s first career was as a Geophysicist in the Simpson Desert. He was ordained as a Methodist Minister, then Ministered in Illinois and Salisbury, South Australia. He moved to the NSW Synod as Executive Director of the Board of Mission, UCA. When he was appointed National President of UCA, he visited detention centres and worked actively with Government to seek better conditions and protection for all asylum seekers. In 2009 he was appointed Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University. His focus has become advocacy for Iranian refugees.
Minister of Religion, the Uniting Church in Australia
ACRT Group at AGM, November 2015