A slightly embarrassed Rev. Macrae said he accepted the award because it captures the work of the whole of the Church, not just his own.
“The way that I rationalise accepting the nomination is that it was very much on behalf of the Church,” he said.
“In the Uniting Church leaders come and go, you are given these positions and then you are back to the pack, which is very healthy. Leadership is a function of the community.
“So if a leader is honoured that honour flows to the whole community.”
He believes the award is an acknowledgement of the Uniting Church’s courageous stance on important social issues such as rights for the LGBTIQ communities, the preamble to the UCA constitution recognising the First Peoples and refugee activism.
Rev. Macrae hopes that all Uniting Church members will have a sense of sharing this award, and remember that Christian churches still have an important and distinctive role to play in their communities.
“Every day I am with people who are practising Christ’s love with other people, often for no financial reward and very little public recognition,” he said.
“These people are my heroes. They are breathing God’s hope and love into the community.
“If other people can get some encouragement from this, we are all part of the same big project, God’s reign.”
Ordained in 1984, Rev. Macrae served as minister of Upper Kiewa Valley (1985-1989), Portland (1989-1995), Brunswick West (1995-2000). During his time at Portland and Brunswick West he was convenor of the Sexuality Task Group.
He was Moderator of the VicTas Synod from 2000-2003, and then moved to become inaugural executive director of the Centre for Theology and Ministry. From 2009-2012 he served as Assembly President, then director of mission Uniting AgeWell, and has been the chair of the National Assembly Working Group on Doctrine since 2012.
Rev. Macrae is currently minister at the historic Wesley Church Lonsdale St in Melbourne’s CBD.
The full 2017 Australia Day Honours List is available on the Governor-General's website.
This article is reproduced courtesy of Crosslight, the monthly newspaper of the UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.