By Penny Mulvey
Former President of the Uniting Church, Rev Professor James Haire AM, has been awarded Australia’s highest honour, the Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia in this year’s Honours List.
Prof Haire was awarded the AC ‘for eminent service to the community through international leadership in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, the promotion of religious reconciliation, inclusion and peace, and as a theologian’.
President from 2000-2003, Prof Haire then took on his current role, that of Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University, in Canberra. His CV is extensive, including 13 years as a missionary and academic in Indonesia, sent by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. His contributions to interfaith dialogue developed during his time in Indonesia are significant.
Retiring Executive Director of UnitingCare NSW/ACT, Rev Harry Herbert, has been awarded Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, ‘for significant service to the community through leadership and advocacy roles in the area of social justice and welfare’.
Eight VicTas Uniting Church members have been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia: Juanita Field of Katamatite and Invergordon Uniting Churches, for service to the community through church and women’s organisations; David Graham, elder and chairperson of the Altona-Trinity congregation, for service to the community; Dr John Horton, elder of Birchip Uniting Church, for service to medicine and to the community; Donald and Nisia MacRaild, of Valencia Creek, for their work in establishing and coordinating the Vanuatu Prevention of Blindness Project; Bruce Price, member of the Ballarat Central Parish Council for service to the community of Ballarat; Betty Byrne of Burnie UC (and Burnie Baptist Church) for services to the community of Burnie; and Alan Rae of St Martin’s UC Beaumaris, for service to the community, particularly through Rotary International.
The Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce, AC CVO, Chancellor of the Order of Australia, affirmed the importance of the Australian Honours System.
“They elevate the concept of giving to others. They heighten respect for one another, and they encourage Australians to think about the responsibilities of citizenship in our democracy,” Ms Bryce said.
Crosslight joins family and friends in congratulating these Uniting Church members for their awards, a tangible acknowledgement of the esteem in which they are held within their local communities. Anyone can be nominated for an award.
For further information go to www.itsanhonour.gov.au.