Wesley Uniting Church

in Forrest, ACT

Our Ministers

Our Wesley ministers have a tradition of excellent preaching. There is usually a team of two full-time Ministers settled in the Parish. We also have a wonderful group of ministers-in-association, ministers-emeritus, lay preachers and worship leaders who bring energy and creativity to our services.

Minister in Placement Rev'd Dr Sarah Agnew

Sarah was ordained in December 2010. She holds a B.Min. from the Adelaide College of Divinity, and a B.Th (hons I) from Flinders University. Her first placement was at Belair Uniting Church. She has particular skills as a storyteller and poet, and as a teacher and facilitator of workshops, and her PhD explored the way performance – oral storytelling – leads to interpretation of biblical texts. Whilst in theological college in Adelaide, she was involved in many fresh expressions/alternative worship projects.
Minister-in-Association Rev’d Elizabeth Richardson

Elizabeth entered church ministry after a career in libraries. She obtained a BTh at St Mark’s College in Canberra and also undertook pastoral studies. She was a lay member of Wesley.  After the death of her husband, Jack, she did lay ministry work, was commissioned as a Lay Pastor and then was ordained in October 2009 – all at Wesley.  The years 2010 to late 2014 were spent at Batemans Bay and Moruya, first in supply and then in placement until her retirement.  Elizabeth has step children and step grandchildren, and other family members, some of whom live in Canberra.

Minister-in-Association Rev’d Dr Bruce A. Stevens (PhD Boston University, 1987)

Bruce is the Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. He was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1980 and served in parish ministry until 1993. He is an endorsed clinical and forensic psychologist, who has written ten books. His latest book is The Storied Self (Fortress Academic, 2018) on narrative gerontology. He has four adult children. 

The Rev’d Apelu Tielu is undertaking six months Supply Ministry pending the arrival of our new Minister next January.

Apelu was ordained as Minister of the Word in Uniting Church in Australia at Wesley on the 16th of July 2011. He served at the Yass UC (3 yrs) and in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ (6 yrs), before returning to Canberra at the end of 2019.  Prior to ministry, Apelu worked as a research economist with the Australian Public Service; taught at the University of the South Pacific, Samoa’s Secondary Teachers’ College, Samoa College and Leifiifi Intermediate School in Samoa.  Apelu studied education and mathematics in NZ; completed a triple major science degree (animal science, plant breeding and economics) at a Jesuit university in the Philippines, writing an honours thesis in economics; did postgraduate studies in economics in Canada and he has an honours degree in theology from Charles Sturt University. He is currently writing a PhD thesis on colonisation and Samoan migration to NZ using themes of migration and exile in Scriptures, also at Charles Sturt through the United Theological College.  Apelu was awarded a number of scholarships including the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship, which he won twice. He was awarded a university medal in the Philippines as the top graduate in his program. He has published a novel, Forever in Paradise, by ANU in 2003; books, papers, book chapters and journal articles on economics, theology and science; and has published articles in newspapers in Samoa, Canada, Australia and NZ.  His journalistic writing got him into trouble in Samoa when a government minister threatened to have him and a younger brother killed. Through the urging of Grace, his wife, he chose to exile to Australia with his family instead of considering other options that were available. 


Active Retired Ministers

Rev'd Alistair Christie began ministry in the Presbyterian Church in 1961 serving as a Student Home Ministry in Gosford, Nyngan and Mona Vale. Completing formation in the United Faculty Sydney, he was ordained in Bourke 1969. This was followed by Molong, in a Joint Methodist Presbyterian Parish prior to Union, Holy Covenant Co-operating (Anglican - Uniting) Aranda, East Belconnen Uniting (Aranda and Giralang worshipping in Schools then the Belconnen Churches Centre), North Woden, Sydney North Presbytery (Presbytery Minister), and finally at Bathurst-Perthville, prior to his retirement in 2005.  He was Chair of Canberra Region Presbytery 1980-82 and 2012; President NSW Ecumenical Council 2000-2002; Moderator NSW/ACT 2002-2004; Chair of Uniting Church National Adult Fellowship Committee 2009-12; and Synod Ecumenical Relations Group; Currently Alistair chairs the ACT Churches’ Council. The latter position involves co-ordinating the Annual Ecumenical Service at the start of the Parliamentary year.  Along with his wife Connie, who died in 1999, he was involved in Walk to Emmaus in Canberra-Monaro and Sydney, introducing the ministry in Riverina, Perth and Auckland, Central West and the introduction to Australia of Alarga, Chrysalis and Kairos.  Living in a retirement village has drawn Alistair into participation in Retirement Village Residents Associations, as President in ACT and Nationally.
Rev'd Ian Diamond was educated at Newington College in Sydney and candidated for the Methodist ministry whilst completing a BA at the University of New England. He then gained a BD at the University of Sydney whilst residing at Wesley College.  His exit appointment was to Lake Cargelligo, and, following ordination, he served as Chaplain at Wolaroi College [now Kinross Wolaroi School] in Orange. He then travelled to the UK and obtained an MA from the University of Lancaster.  Following his return home, he had placements at Ingleburn, Bowral, Broken Hill and Dubbo, retiring in 2005. He also took time out on two occasions to work with the Probation and Parole Service, first on the Central Coast, and later in Dubbo.  Ian has been a Police Chaplain for 27 years and currently has pastoral responsibility for the Monaro Local Area Command based in Queanbeyan.  Ian is married to Kay and they moved to Canberra in 2011. They have two sons, Elliott, a Physiotherapist at Bendigo Hospital, and Campbell, a Music student [Classical Guitar] in Cologne, Germany. 
  Rev'd Gregor Henderson AM retired from active ministry in December 2013, after serving as one of the ministers of the Canberra Central Parish from 2004. Gregor was ordained in 1971 and previously served in parish placements in Shepparton North, Wodonga and Hobart City.  Gregor was General Secretary of the national Assembly of the Uniting Church from 1989 to 2000, then national President of the Uniting Church from 2006 to 2009.  Gregor’s ongoing commitments include occasional preaching and involvement in the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network, the John Flynn Foundation, the Ron Wilson Ecumenical Leadership Fund, the Major Issues and Theology Foundation and the Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem.  In January 2015 Gregor was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia), for services to the Uniting Church and for inter-faith initiatives.
Rev'd Elizabeth Walker was ordained in 1995. Previously she had been an infants/primary teacher, owned and operated her own early childcare centre and been on the staff of the Australian Council of Churches. Her first placement was in Hamilton/Broadmeadow where a highlight was conducting 200 weddings in four years!  Following early retirement Elizabeth fulfilled many supply ministries including Roseville, Gordon, Killara, Lane Cove and Wesley Gardens.  She served the Uniting Church Assembly as Chair of the Doctrine Committee, and Chair of the Theology and Discipleship Agency which covered the areas of Liturgy and Worship, Doctrine, Mission and Evangelism.  As a keen ecumenist she has also been NSW State President and national treasurer for Australian Church Women.  From 1968-1971 Elizabeth’s husband Ed was Director of our Canberra Wesley Fellowship Centre and they lived on the Wesley site with their young family, Michael, Helen and Peter. They have returned happily to Wesley in retirement.