Doctrine Working Group

The Doctrine Working Group resources the UnitingChurch in relation to its theology.

The Doctrine Working Group provides guidance and careful consideration in the area of theology in the life of the UnitingChurch, however it does not provide rulings about particular matters of doctrine and belief but rather assists the Assembly in its responsibility in these matters. In doing so it is guided by the Basis of Union.It provides papers and other resources to assist the UnitingChurch to understand and appreciate the importance and implications of its doctrine.

The Doctrine Working Group collaborates with other working groups, such as the Worship Working Group and the Christian Unity Working Group, in their areas of responsibility as they impinge on doctrine.

Meet the Doctrine Working Group Members


Rev Alistair Macrae is minister of Wesley Uniting Church in Melbourne. He was President of the Uniting Church from 2009 - 2012. He served as the executive director of the Uniting church Centre for Theology and Ministry in Melbourne 2004 – 2009. He was Moderator of the Victoria and Tasmania Synod from 2000 – 2003. Previous to that he served in rural, regional and inner city congregational placements. He has degrees in Arts, Theology and Philosophy from Melbourne and Dublin. Alistair brings wide experience in the life of the church to the Doctrine working group as it seeks to resource the whole church.


Rev. Dr Chris Walker is the National Consultant for Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship. He has degrees from the University of Sydney, Garrett Theological Seminary and a PhD in theology from Claremont University in the USA. He has ministered in three congregations in NSW, has served as a consultant for the Synod of Queensland, was principal of Parkin-Wesley College in SA, and mission consultant for Parramatta-Nepean presbytery in NSW. He has written five books and editedBuilding on the Basis, papers from the Doctrine and Worship working groups 2000 – 2011.  He edited Being and Doing Church, a Uniting Church Perspective which was launched at the 2015 Assembly.

Rev. Dr Avril Hannah-Jones is the Minister at Williamstown Uniting Church. Previously she served Uniting Churches in the Macedon Ranges. Prior to that placement Avril lived for six months as part of the World Council of Churches’ international, ecumenical community at the Chateau de Bossey, outside Geneva. Her first degrees were in Arts and Law. She has a PhD in history and a Masters of Divinity. Avril is committed to ecumenism, inclusion, and social justice. She believes that the story told by the orthodox Christian faith, of a God who became human out of love for humanity and who is in God’s very self a community of love, is the most exciting story ever told. She seeks to convey this in creative ways.

Dr Ben Myers is Lecturer in Systematic Theology at the United Theological College in Sydney. Before coming to UTC he was a research fellow in intellectual history at the University of Queensland.  He has been a fellow of the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, a visiting scholar at Fuller Seminary and is an Honorary Research Advisor to the University of Queensland’s Centre for the History of European Discourses.  He is a sought after speaker and lay preacher. He is a regular writer of the popular blog Faith & Theology ( He has published books on theology and literature, and plans soon to publish a collection of essays on the theology of the Basis of Union.

Rev. Dr Geoff Thompson is Professor Systematic Theology at Pilgrim Theological College at the CTM in Melbourne. Formerly he was Principal and Director of Studies in Systematic Theology at Trinity Theological College, Queensland. Before his ministerial training he was an Agronomist and worked for several years in Pakistan. He was ordained to the Ministry of the Word in 1995. He was minister of the Alphington/Fairfield congregation in inner-suburban Melbourne for 5 years. Geoff's theological interests straddle classical topics of systematic theology and the exploration of the role of doctrine in the life of the church. He has published scholarly artices on Karl Barth and Karl Rahner. He has written several analyses of 'Progressive Christianity' and has had essays published on the ABC's Religion and Ethics website and in On Line Opinion. With Rob Bos he co-editedTheology for Pilgrims: Selected Theological Documents of the UCA. He is presently finishing a book which brings the theology of the Basis into conversation with several contemporary theological debates.

Rev. Ann Perrin is Minister at Clarence Uniting Church in Hobart. Previously she served at St Martins, Baumaris and St Andrews by the Sea, Black Rock in Victoria and  at Strathfield-Homebush Uniting Church in Sydney. She comes out of a music background and has performed with the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra among other involvements. She has taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has contributed to Words for Today, International Bible Readers Association and to Music in the Air (Aotearoa/New Zealand) on “Singing through our hope.” She was a presenter at the Luke Brereton Seminar in 2010 on the Christian Faith and Civic Practice – “The Call of Leadership and Imagination of Woman Wisdom.”

Rev. Rachel Kronberger is the Minister at Pilgrim Uniting Church in Yarraville, Victoria. Rachel is originally from WA and has a background in youth ministry and community development social work. Her previous placements have been in Melbourne and Canberra and she has served on a range of Synod and Assembly Boards and Working Groups. Her theological interests are in ecclesiology and mission: shaping a clear theology and identity for the people of God as we fling open our doors to the communities around us.

Rev. Dr Vicky Balabanski is Director of Biblical Studies at Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, SA, Flinders University of SA.  She is a sought after speaker and has provided Bible studies for the South Australian Presbytery/Synod and the Assembly.  She has an interest particularly in the Gospels and Colossians and ecological hermeneutics.  As well as English she speaks German, some French and knows Koine Greek. She has spent some time in India and has had some contact with indigenous people.  She brings biblical expertise to the work of the Doctrine working group.

Dr Ben Cross is a member of Burwood Uniting Church, and an assistant chaplain for Christian Students Uniting, the UCA tertiary chaplaincy group, at the University of Sydney, where he is also a casual teacher in philosophy.  He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2014, having written his dissertation on the relationship between liberal justice and virtue.  He has been involved with the annual School of Discipleship.

Rev. Jason Kioa is currently Minister at Manningham Uniting Church in Melbourne.  He is a former Moderator of the Vic/Tas Synod 2006-2009. He is chairperson of the Tongan National Conference.  From 2008-2010 he was President of the Victorian Council of Churches. He is a member of the Assembly Multicultural and Cross-cultural National Reference Committee. He is a former chairperson of the Vic/Tas Synod Commission for Mission. For four terms he served on the Assembly Standing Committee. He is a member of the Board of the Centre of Theology and Ministry. So he comes to the Doctrine working group with a great deal of church and multicultural experience.