(These Australian Christians have generously contributed to this site by invitation. They have written their own responses to Jesus’ words, writing as individuals, not as representatives of particular Churches or organizations. They do not necessarily endorse other views or links connected to this site. Responsibility for all other content on the site remains with the author, Geoff Francis.)
Diane Adams has been involved in ministry since 1970 with Fusion Aust Ltd, the Australia wide, and now international Christian Youth & Community organisation. (www.fusion.org.au) Her husband Bob, who died in 2003, played a key role in Fusion’s development, especially in youth work training and media, and together they have been part of Fusion’s work in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, working alongside mainline churches and Christian and secular community organisations who have a heart for marginalised young people and their families. Diane currently resides and works in accounts administration at Fusion’s national base in Poatina Tasmania (Headline 37)
Dave Andrews, his wife Ange, and their family, have lived and worked in intentional communities with marginalised groups of people in Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal for more than thirty years. Dave is particularly interested in radical spirituality, incarnational community and the dynamics of personal and social transformation. Dave and Ange are currently a part of the Waiters Union, an inner city Christian community network working with Aborigines, refugees and people with disabilities in Australia. Dave has published a collection of inspiring biographies; “People of Compassion” (TEAR Australia 2008) www.daveandrews.com.au; www.waitersunion.org (Headline 44)
Bruce Baird AM was Australian Trade Commissioner in New York before entering NSW Parliament in 1984. He held various senior ministerial posts in the State Liberal Government, including leading the successful bid for the Sydney Olympic Games. In 1998 he was elected to Federal parliament as the Member for Cook, where he served until 2007. In 2009 he was appointed Chairman of the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council by the Labor Government. He has written on “Double Citizenship” – Headline 46.
Rod Begbie lives in Melbourne with his wife Susie and daughter Tilly. He teaches English as a Foreign Language part time, and spends the rest of his week looking after Tilly, writing music, and reading as much as he can. He has belonged to and worked for various small church communities over the years, and is currently searching for another. He comments on Headline 13.
Neil Bell and his wife Faye, moved to the Northern Territory in 1974 to teach in the remote indigenous Utju community, west of Alice Springs. As principal of the Areyonga School, Neil was involved in the Pitjantjatjara/English bilingual education program, and learned the Pitjantjatjara language himself. He was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly as the Labor member for MacDonnell, where he served until 1997, holding various shadow portfolios. After leaving parliament, he practiced as a lawyer in Kalgoorlie, Alice Springs and Melbourne, and advised a number of indigenous corporations in various jurisdictions. Neil comments on reconciliation (Headline 10).
Peter Breen is a radiographer and was ordained in the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia in 1986. He served in parishes in Bundaberg (1985-1995) and Brisbane (1996-202.) He is the founder and current chair/director of Jugglers Art Space Inc., a community arts organisation in Brisbane. Peter is motivated by the values of spiritual and cultural inquiry, creativity as basic to humanity, welcome, social justice and community. (see www.peteskibreen.wordpress.com, http://www.jugglers.org.au/). (He writes on “Light of the world,” Headline 8 & Serious obedience, Headline 29)
Brad Buchanan works in the magazine publishing industry. He has been a pastor in a Melbourne church, and taught Bible and coached basketball at Flinders College, Carrum Downs. He writes on true wealth (Headline 19) and false prophets, (Headline 28).
General Eva Burrows AC (1929 – 2015) was the 13th General (world leader) of The Salvation Army from 1986 to 1993. This period included the end of the Cold War, when the Salvation Army was able to re-enter the countries of Eastern Europe. Trained as a teacher, her career as a Salvation Army Officer included service in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, London and Scotland. She became known as “The people’s General.” (Headline 50)
Malcolm Campbell entered the Uniting Church Ministry in later life, after working as a teacher and an educator of teachers. He worked for 9 years in Vanuatu, overseeing the work of Presbyterian Church Schools. He writes on God’s generosity (Headline 25.)
Professor Graeme Clark AC led the Melbourne University team that developed the “Bionic Ear”. In 1967 he left his practice as an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon to pursue research into helping the profoundly deaf. In 1978, he performed the first human cochlear implant. Professor Clark is Laureate Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Melbourne, and the former Director of The Bionic Ear Institute in Melbourne. He comments on “Moving Mountains”. (Headline 39)
Denise Cooper-Clarke is a graduate of medicine and theology with a Ph.D in medical ethics. She is a voluntary researcher with ETHOS (Evangelical Alliance Centre for Christianity and Society), an adjunct Lecturer in Ethics at Ridley Melbourne, and a tutor in medical ethics at the University of Melbourne. She is a Fellow of ISCAST (Institute for the Study Of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology). She comments on “God’s rules don’t change!” – (Headline 9)
Tim Costello AO After training in law and theology, Tim was involved in the inner Melbourne community of St Kilda for ten years, serving as Baptist Minister, lawyer, activist, elected Councillor and Mayor. He then served as Minister at the Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne, where he developed Urban Seeds of Hope, a Christian outreach service for the urban poor. For 13 years, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, and is now Executive director of Micah Australia. (www.micahaustralia.org) Tim is one of Australia’s leading voices on social justice, leadership, ethics and global poverty, playing a significant role in the public debates on gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse. He has authored several books. His latest book, a memoir, is “A lot with a little.” (Hardie Grant Books, 2019) He writes about Justice, mercy, integrity. (Headline 48)
John Cranswick (1926-2007) was a GP in Eastern Melbourne. He and his wife, Joy, worked in rural medicine for the Church of South India for 15 years, where John trained medical graduates to practice in areas of greatest need. He has written on “Two basic rules”. (Headline 47)
Sir William Deane AC served as Australia’s 22nd Governor-General from 1996 to 2001, following 14 years as a judge of the High Court of Australia. In his five-year term as Head of State, he won wide-spread respect and affection for his leadership, particularly at times of national mourning such as the Port Arthur shooting and the Interlaken tragedy. He “combined compassion and spiritual and emotional clarity with intellectual vigour.” (Tony Stephens; “Sir William Deane – The things that matter.” Hodder 2002, p 2.) Sir William comments on “The Ultimate Test”. (Headline 51)
Costa Englezos has lectured in business and accounting at RMIT School of Accounting and Law and at La Trobe University. He developed the Business Student Mentor Program, and created the SLAMS (Student Learning Advisor Mentor) program at RMIT University Faculty of Business. He comments on “The Invitation,” (Headline 32) and “The Sign of Jonah.” (Headline 35)
David Enticott is currently the pastor of the Rosanna Baptist Church in Melbourne’s northeastern suburbs. He has previously worked at the Mitcham, Clarinda and Mordialloc Baptist churches and was the Dean of Students at Whitley College. David’s early Christian upbringing was at the Mentone Baptist Church. He enjoys writing and has had a number pieces published in the Melbourne Age and the Footy Almanac. In 2008 David completed a master’s thesis that examined the sermons of the Baptist preacher F.W. Boreham. David comments on Headline 20.
Geoff Francis, the author and editor of this web-site, is a retired General Practitioner in Melbourne. Geoff and his wife, Jenny, are members of Edge Church, East Doncaster. (Headlines 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 34, 36, 38, 42, 52)
Joanna Francis worked in Herat, Afghanistan during 2003 as a project manager for War Child UK, an International Aid Organisation. She has been a core member of Amnesty International Victoria’s Children’s Rights Team. In 2005 and 2006 she managed child protection projects with UNICEF in East Timor. (Headline 40)
Archbishop Harry Goodhew AO was Anglican Archbishop of Sydney from 1993 to 2001. He has wide experience of ministry to both victims and perpetrators of injustice. He writes on Headline 41 concerning mistreatment of children. (Headline 41)
Nell Hodgson (1920-2009), retired nurse, grandmother and poet, lived in Morwell, Victoria, with her husband Norm for many years. They were active in the Salvation Army corps, and many community activities. They developed a prayer network, “Prayer Power for the Valley”, encouraging Christians from all the Churches in the Latrobe Valley to pray together for their community (Headlines 26 & 33)
David Juler was a lecturer in English language and literature, and teaching studies in the Faculty of Education, Burwood Teachers College, (now Deakin University.) In his retirement his interests include reading, gardening and oil painting. (Headlines 23 & 45)
Elizabeth Kendal has 16 years experience as a full-time international religious liberty analyst and advocate, including 7 years as Principal Researcher and Writer for the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission. She is now an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Arthur Jeffrey Centre for the Study of Islam at the Melbourne School of Theology. She comments on Jesus’ teaching on persecution; Headline 7.
Merril Kitchen OAM trained as a medical scientist. In 1973 with her husband Paul, she worked in Nazareth Hospital, Israel. Since then she has maintained a long association with the hospital, (Nazareth Hospital) and associated projects; the Nazareth Village, (a reconstruction of first century Nazareth that shows how Jesus would have lived), and the Mar Elias Educational Institutions. She has also pursued a life-long passion to build understanding between Christians, Jews and Muslims. She began theological studies in 1986, and served for 10 years as Principal of Churches of Christ Theological College in Melbourne. (She has written on “Love your enemies” – Headline 14.)
Jason Lau is a Melbourne based photographer. Coming from a fine-art background, Jason Lau has been creating art and cinematically inspired work through the photographic medium for over 15 years. Jason comments on “ Prayer – just between you and God.” (Headline 16)
Kevin Maddock has worked as Field Director with Prison Fellowship Australia (Victoria,) coordinating volunteers who visit prisoners, and pastoring the Five 8 Program, a mentoring network for prisoners and ex-prisoners. Kevin himself started visiting prisons regularly in 1979 while farming in North East Victoria. He started a spiritual journey with the thought, “If the Good News isn’t relevant and life changing here in the prison then it is not relevant anywhere.” He started to see lives changed as men sought and found forgiveness through Jesus; and as they discovered God’s grace and peace in action in their lives. He is still on that journey. (Headline 31)
John Menadue AO has held many senior positions in Australian public and private life, including Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, (before and after the dismissal of the Whitlam Government), Ambassador to Japan, and CEO of Qantas. He was the founding Chair of NewMatilda.com, an independent weekly online newsletter which was launched in August 2004. He is the founder and fellow of public-interest think tank, the Centre for Policy Development and is the Patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre in Sydney. His autobiography, Things You Learn Along the Way was published in 1999. (Headline 12)
Steve Messer has worked as a secondary teacher in Nhill, Warragul and Drouin. He was pastor of Warragul Community Church for 8 years, and is now associate pastor at Packenham Baptist Church. He leads “Steve Messer’s Strange Country”, an award winning electric-acoustic band. The band’s sound fuses elements of country, bluegrass, blues and gospel, and presents songs “rich in life’s joys and struggles, hard times, high hopes and the triumph of faith.” Steve’s own song “Maybe today” tells how the hope of Jesus’ second coming is making a difference in the lives of people around the world and especially where it’s dangerous to be one of his followers. (This is the subject of Headline 49.)
Alan Nichols AM is a journalist, writer and Anglican Minister. He has a long history of involvement in social care in Australia and overseas. He has been director of The Mission of St James and St John, and has worked with refugees in Thailand and Ruwanda. He has served as a consultant to Government and other organisations on Ethics and Social Policy, including health care and refugee issues. (Headline 4.)
David Price OAM practised as a general surgeon in Mornington until his retirement. He has also worked in Thailand, Nepal and the Middle East. He is passionately involved in issues of peace and the environment. He has written about “Peacemakers”. (Headline 6)
Davin Price is an Electrical Engineer designing control systems for bulk handling machinery. Davin leads a men’s Bible study at EDGE Church, and shares in the teaching program of the Church. He also writes and directs entertaining yet challenging drama. He writes on “Choose the right path.” (Headline 27)
Peter Sanders is a Uniting Church minister, in Melbourne. He has worked for 14 years as the coordinator of hope springs, a crisis support service providing help for partners, families and friends of people affected by mental illness. The service is based at the Rosanna Uniting Church. (Headlines 15 & 22)
Bruce Saward is an accountant, and partner of Melbourne accounting firm Saward Dawson. “He regards lateral thinking and the ability to think outside the square as an important part of his role both as a consultant and a leader within the firm.” Bruce has maintained an active involvement in church leadership and community groups over many years. He writes on “God and Money” – Headline 21.
Tom Slater worked as a primary teacher before pursuing his passion for Chrictian camping with Scripture Union. He established the year-round school camping program at Camp Coolamatong in East Gippsland. Tom became the founding president of the Camping Association of Victoria in 1983, and has written three books on camping including The Temporary Community (1984) and The New Camping Book (1990). He has served as the Victorian Director of Scripture Union, and the National Director of Australian Evangelical Alliance. (Headlines 17 & 30)
John Steward is an agriculturalist who has worked with small groups of community development workers from over 50 countries. He has lived overseas for 15 years, and managed staff and programs for World Vision in Australia, Indonesia and Rwanda. John served in Rwanda in 1997, where he was engaged in reconciliation activities and programs in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. Since then he has continued to visit and mentor healers and peace-builders. He is the author of From Genocide to Generosity: Hatreds Heal on Rwanda’s Hills (Langham UK 2015) telling stories of the healing power of forgiveness. John has developed video resources as study guides for use with the book, available on his website www.2live4give.org (John comments on Headline 18 “Forgive those who hurt you.”)
Roy Williams is the author of God, Actually (ABC Books, 2008), a reasoned defence of Christianity. He attended Sydney University in the 1980s, winning the University Medal in law, and went on to a twenty-year career in the legal profession. He was a litigator at one of Australia’s leading firms, Allens Arthur Robinson. Stricken by a life-changing illness in 2004, he took time to recuperate before deciding to become a writer. God, Actually has been a best-seller in Australia, and has recently been published in Britain and North America by Monarch Books. (Headline 24)
David Wilson has been a teacher and practitioner in theology, psychology, counselling, and urban mission over the last 45 years. He was the Principal of Kingsley College for 18 years and on their faculty for 25. David lived in the CBD of Melbourne for 11 years, during which time he was a Melbourne City Councillor (2004 – 2008). He served as the CEO of Urban Seed, a Christian Community Development Agency. Now in active retirement, he is the Director of The Barnabas Connection, a director with the Centre for Building Better Community, and a Board member of Voice of the Cities Inc. He is married to Debbie, has four adult children, and sixteen grandchildren. (firstname.lastname@example.org) David writes about mercy and purity. (Headline 5)