Many Uniting Church members are involved in volunteer and philanthropic programs that enrich their local community. They dedicate countless hours living out the biblical call to serve the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society.
Their hard work and generosity have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Kenneth Harrison, congregation member at Mark the Evangelist Uniting Church, was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM). He was recognised for significant services to the community through financial support and senior roles with horticultural, social welfare, medical and cultural groups.
Mr Harrison is the current chairman of the Royal Botanical Gardens and ambassador at the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, where he develops corporate philanthropic leadership. He was also an honorary director at Oxfam from 1990-2004 and foundation governor of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Foundation.
Kathleen Johnston was recognised with an AM for her philanthropic support to medical research, aged care, social welfare and charitable groups, including Prahran Mission.
Several Uniting Church members from Victoria and Tasmania were awarded a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Rev Dr Robert Gallacher was recognised for his service to the Uniting Church, particularly in religious art education. Dr Gallacher was the founder and coordinator of Uniting Church Icon Schools from 1995-2015. The program has approximately 50 members from different denominations who meet monthly at Auburn Uniting Church to learn about iconography.
Dr Gallacher was also national secretary of the Christian Unity Working Group from 2001-2004 and co-chair of the Anglican Church of Australia/Uniting Church in Australia Joint Commission for nine years.
Marie Robinson, who has volunteered at UnitingCare Outreach Bendigo since 2006, received an OAM for her service to the community of Bendigo and people with a disability.
Other Uniting Church members from the synod awarded with an OAM included Margaret Harmer, Irene Harrington, Carol Porter, Ronald Harris and Dr Stewart Gill.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove offered his congratulations to the recipients.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have been recognised through the Australian Honours system,” Sir Cosgrove said.
“The recipients now join the company of more than 40,000 women and men whose actions have enriched our community and our lives. Their qualities – compassion, dedication, generosity, selflessness, tolerance, and energetic ambition – inspire and motivate us.”
If you know someone connected with the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania who was recognised but not mentioned in this article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for the full Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Image courtesy of Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria.