13 February 2012
The NSW Council of Churches has elected the Revd Dr Ross Clifford to a record second non-consecutive term as President of the Council.
Dr Clifford was President from 1995 to 1997 during which time the Council was very active on social and moral issues, notably in opposition to proposed euthanasia laws and in support of Aboriginal reconciliation.
A former lawyer and pastor, Dr Clifford has served as Principal of Morling College, the NSW Baptist Theological College, since 1997. He is a former President of the Baptist Union of Australia, and is currently a Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance. In 2011 Dr Clifford was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the Baptist Union of Australia, to education, to inter-faith dialogue and to the Christian media.
Dr Clifford said the Council had an important role to play in NSW public life and the prophetic voice of the churches was needed more than ever before. He said he looked forward to continuing the Council’s advocacy of social and moral issues with a focus on the sanctity of marriage, alcohol-related violence, and gambling reform.
The NSW Council of Churches believes that marriage laws should not be extended to include same sex couples.
On alcohol, Council supports measures to reduce alcohol-related violence and encourages stronger regulation of the sale and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises.
On gambling, Council supports mandatory precommitment technology and a $1 bet limit for poker machines. The Salvation Army (Eastern Territory) supports these reforms conditional upon pilot testing of mandatory pre-commitment to ensure the most effective outcome is achieved.
The NSW Council of Churches was founded in 1924 and represents the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, the Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT, the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia, the Churches of Christ in NSW, the Fellowship of Congregational Churches (NSW), the Presbyterian Church of Australia (NSW), and The Salvation Army (Eastern Territory).
The election took place on Tuesday 7 February in Sydney.