Who are we?

We are an ecumenical, mainstream organization, established in 2008. We aim to strengthen social justice and ethical structures in Australia; to promote social justice as a core Christian value; and to further public education on ethics, current social justice issues and the Christian perspective on them.

Please read the Message from the Chair: Bishop George Browning

The CES is a Canberra-based organisation that is an Associate Member of the ACT Churches' Council Inc and a working group of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council. Our major activity to date is to hold public forums to bring to the attention of the community particular ethical and social justice issues.

CES forums are generously supported by the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.

CES welcomes participation in its work by all those who share its aims. Church membership or affiliation with any Christian religion is not required to do this.

News of CES 2015 Annual General Meeting

The 2015 AGM was held on Monday 10 August 2015. Thorwald Lorenzen is to continue as president for another year. The new Executive comprises Bishop George Browning (Chair), David Hunter (Vice-Chair), Jeremy Dawson (Treasurer), Robyn Coghlan (Secretary). Other committee members are: Bill Bush, Ingrid Moses, Werner Padarin, Clive Rodger, Stephen Pickard. Subsequently John Nevile was appointed to the committee, and continues to represent CES at the NSW Ecumenical Council.

News of CES 2014 Annual General Meeting

The 2014 AGM was held on Monday 4 August 2014. The new Executive comprises Bishop George Browning (Chair), Ivan Roberts (Vice-Chair), Jeremy Dawson (Treasurer), Robyn Coghlan (Secretary). Other committee members are: John Nevile, Bill Bush, Ingrid Moses, Werner Padarin, David Hunter, Bernadette Layton, Clive Rodger.
Subsequently, Right Reverend Stephen Pickard agreed to join the committee. Ivan Roberts left Canberra and the committee at the end of the year, after which David Hunter became Vice-Chair.

News of CES 2013 Annual General Meeting

The 2013 AGM was held on Wednesday 31 July, 2013. The new Executive comprises John Nevile (Interim Chair), Ivan Roberts (Vice-Chair), David Palmer (Treasurer), Robyn Coghlan (Secretary). Other committee members are: Bill Bush, Jeremy Dawson, Werner Padarin, David Hunter, James Cox.
Bishop George Browning took over the position of Chair as of 1 January 2014.

News of CES 2012 Annual General Meeting

The 2012 AGM was held on Wednesday 3 October, 2012. The new Executive comprises John Nevile (Chair), John Goss (Vice-Chair), David Palmer (Treasurer), Robyn Coghlan (Secretary). Other committee members are: Bill Bush, Jeremy Dawson, Heather Mclaren, Werner Padarin, Ivan Roberts.

CES annual reports are available: 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 2014-15

Why the CES?

The motivation for CES was a growing concern that a narrow range of personal moral issues, largely concerned with sex and the beginning and end of life, have increasingly come to be portrayed as the totality of the “Christian view”. Scriptural imperatives to love your neighbour and to care for the downtrodden and the “stranger in your midst” are increasingly ignored as core Christian values by the media, the general public and, sadly, by some Christians. We aim to promote a more accurate, balanced view of Christianity and to emphasise that social justice is an essential part of Christianity.

Central to our interpretation of an ethical society is the idea of the common good, which requires consideration of the well-being of all in the community, be it the local community, the national community or the world community and regardless of race or religion. This common good extends to all life forms within the biosphere and includes our responsibility to future generations who will have to live in the world we leave behind.

We add value

We recognise that there are many organisations working in the social justice field, both religious and secular.  We do not wish to duplicate their work.  Rather we see ourselves as adding value by bringing a Christian ethical perspective to discussions.

Please read our Charter (pdf) (html)

Our President:

The Reverend Dr Thorwald Lorenzen became President of the CES in 2015.

Formerly the Senior Minister of the Canberra Baptist Church, Thorwald Lorenzen is currently Professor of Theology and Principal Researcher at Charles Sturt University. He also lectures regularly at Whitley College, University of Divinity in Melbourne. For two decades, he has been active in the Human Rights Commission of the Baptist World Alliance. He was Professor of Systematic Theology and Social Ethics at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Switzerland for more than twenty years.

Our Past Presidents:

James Haire

The Reverend Professor James Haire, former Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, was President of the CES in 2014.
Professor Haire is Professor of Theology of Charles Sturt University (CSU), and Director of the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre (PACT), based in Canberra. He was Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (National Australian Christian Centre)(ACC&C) until 2013.

More details about Professor Haire

Unfortunately Professor Haire had to stand down due to ill-health.

George Browning

George Browning, former Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, became President of the CES in 2012.

Bishop Browning was born in the UK and migrated to Australia at the age of 18 to work on the land.

He was ordained in 1966. Of his 45 years of ordained ministry, 25 have been spent as a Bishop, first in Queensland and then as Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn from 1993 – 2008.
Social justice issues have been a passion throughout his ministry. In 1986 Joh Bjelke Petersen ordered him back to NSW because of his outspokenness! He subsequently appeared in one of Geoffrey Robertson’s “Hypotheticals” with Premier Joh. He has led 6 Youth Pilgrimages to places as diverse as the slums in Manilla, the HIV AIDS hospital in Soweto, Reconcilaition programmes in Rwanda, the Danakil Desert of Ethiopia, indigenous development programmes in Lima Peru and the West Bank of Palestine.

He chaired the Canberra Bushfire Recovery Appeal following the Bushfires of 2003.

In 1998 he chaired the environmental section of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops and since 2005 has been Convener of the Anglican Communion Environment Network.
In 2010 he completed an honours thesis through Charles Sturt University on the topic: Sabbath and Sustainability: Genesis 2: 1-4a and the Climate Change debate.

Gregor Henderson

The Rev Gregor Henderson, immediate past President of the Uniting Church in Australia and one of the ministers of Wesley and St Aidan’s Uniting Churches in Canberra, was CES President from 2010 until 2012.

Gregor has wide ecumenical and international church experience. He has served in parish ministries in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT. He was national general secretary of the Uniting Church for 12 years from 1989. He is one of very few Australians who’ve served two terms on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, from 1998 through to the present. For three years he was executive director of the Clergy Exchange International Foundation. He has served on committees and assemblies of the Christian Conference of Asia. He has been heavily involved in the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) ever since its establishment in 1994. He has visited many churches overseas, especially in Asia and the Pacific, and been significantly involved in church life in the Philippines, North Korea, Indonesia, Fiji and Tonga.


Gregor is also involved in inter-faith relationships in Australia, particularly with Jewish and Muslim groups working for peace in the Middle East, and he relates regularly with many leaders of other faiths in south-east Asia and worldwide.


Over many years Gregor has been a frequent visitor to Parliament House as a member or leader of Uniting Church, ecumenical or inter-faith delegations, advocating with our political leaders on issues such as Aboriginal affairs, poverty, aged care, multiculturalism, climate change, human rights, overseas aid, Palestine and Israel, nuclear disarmament, peacemaking.


Join us

CES is a not-for-profit organisation and its main source of funding is from donations at forums.   Supporters can also assist financially by becoming members of the organisation.  For a small annual fee, members help cover the costs of holding forums.  Membership also carries the right and opportunity to contribute to the decision-making of the organisation at ordinary monthly meetings as well as at the Annual General Meeting. 

To join the CES you can download a CES membership application. For membership renewal please use this form.

Alternatively you can join by email and bank transfer.
The CES membership application gives the rates and also our charter.
Banking details are: BSB 325-185, account number: 03310199, account name: Christians for an Ethical Society
Please reference the transfer "your SURNAME membership".
Please forward your details (name, address, phone number, email address) to admin@ces.org.au

It is not necessary to be a member of any church or faith;  all people sharing our ethical concerns are welcome in this organisation.