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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 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.
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.
Bishop Browning was born in the UK and
migrated to Australia at the age of 18 to work on the land.
Our Past President:
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.
CES is a not-for-profit organisation and its main source of funding is from donations at forums and sales of CDs of the talks given at the 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.
It is not necessary to be a member of any church or faith; all people sharing our ethical concerns are welcome in this organisation.