Religious Leaders

The following people are members of ARRCC's Religious Leader Ambassadors Group, which brings together prominent people from among all of Australia's major religions to provide input to ARRCC and work together on initiatives highlighting the issue of climate change.


Bhante Sujato Bikkhu Icon_rel_buddhist

Born in 1966, Bhante Sujato studied at the University of Western Australia, spent some years as a musician, and then visited Thailand in 1992. There, after an intensive retreat at a monastery in Chieng Mai, he went to an International Forest Monastery and was eventually ordained as a bhikkhu in 1994. He continued living as a monk and studying in Thailand and Malaysia. In early 2003 Bhante Sujato returned to Australia. He established the Santi Forest Monastery in the Southern Highlands, which has grown rapidly. It operates as much as possible on sustainability principles.

Bhante Sujato has become well known for his passionate support for the ordination of women in the bhikkhuni lineage, the most pressing controversy within contemporary Theravada Buddhism. In recent years Bhante Sujato has taught Dhamma and meditation to varied audiences locally and internationally, and has spoken at several major international Buddhist conferences. His books include A Swift Pair of Messengers, A History of Mindfulness, Beginnings, and Sects & Sectarianism.


Bishop George Browning Icon_rel_christian

Bishop George was consecrated Bishop in 1985. He served first in the diocese of Brisbane where, in addition to his duties as Regional Bishop, he was Principal of the Theological College and Chair of the Social Justice Commission. In the latter capacity he had his well-publicised clashes with the then Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke Peterson.

Bishop Browning became Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 1993, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. In Canberra he continued his passion for social justice and engagement in public theology. In partnership with the then Governor General Sir William Deane and Doctor Lowitcha O'Donohue he founded the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He has made the intersection between theology and the challenge of climate change his main focus of research over the last ten years, and is currently the Chair of the International Anglican Communion's Environment Network.


Sr Geraldine Kearney Icon_rel_christian

Sr Geraldine Kearney sgs is an Anglo-Burmese who migrated to Australia with her parents in 1952. She is a Good Samaritan Sister who ministers as a consultant in areas of cross-cultural communication, counselling, education and facilitation, both nationally and internationally. Geraldine is also the Delegate for Social Responsibility for her congregation and on the Justice Network of the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (NSW), and Catholic Religious Australia Justice. Issues of Indigenous peoples, disability and the trafficking of women and children are of special concern to her.

In this role she works specifically in the area of climate justice for the Pacific Calling Partnership, informed by the four years she formerly spent working in Kiribati. She has taken delegates to UNFCCC meetings in Bali, Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban.

Geraldine represents Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) on the ARRCC Religious Leaders Working Group.


Right Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard Icon_rel_christian

Bishop Professor Pickard was Head of Charles Sturt University's School of Theology from 1998 to 2006. Since then he has served as an Anglican Bishop in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, Visiting Fellow Ripon Theological College, Cuddesdon, Oxford; Acting CEO Anglicare Canberra & Goulburn and as a priest in a Canberra parish.

He is currently an Assistant Bishop in the Canberra-Goulburn Diocese and is the author of several books, including Seeking the Church: An introduction to Ecclesiology (2012) and In-Between God: Theology, Community and Discipleship (2011).

Professor Pickard was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture and Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University in September 2013.




Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins Icon_rel_jewish

Educated in the USA, Rabbi Jeffrey B. Kamins has served as rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue since 1989, appointed as senior rabbi in 1999, the same year he joined the Rabbinical Assembly, the association of Conservative rabbis. He is committed to principles of egalitarianism, inclusion and diversity within the synagogue and the broader community.

He has been responsible for reviving the Hebrew and Religion School, creating a teen education program and extending the adult education programs with a focus on family education. He also began a traditional-style, egalitarian minyan, as part of his commitment to pluralism within the synagogue.

Rabbi Kamins sees text-based education as a means for understanding the wisdom of our ancestors and being better able to implement Torah values in contemporary times. He serves on the board of the Shalom Institute, and as one of the rabbinic consultants to Emanuel School, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. As part of his commitment to social justice, he has been a member of the Board of MAZON-Australia since 1991.


Kanti Lal Jinna Icon_rel_hindu

Because of Mr Jinna's active involvement in public life in Fiji, he was awarded Member of the Order of Fiji (Honorary) in 2010. For the last couple of decades he has similarly been active in Australia. He is co-founder and twice Past President of the Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre of the ACT. He is a Justice of the Peace and has been involved in the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum. Mr Jinna is currently Vice-Chairman of the Hindu Council of Australia and Vice President of the Royal Commonwealth Society of ACT. He co-edited a book, Gujaratis in Fiji, which was published in 2008.