Anglican Bishop to the Defence Force – Bishop Grant Dibden
Grant grew up in Kariong, NSW and is passionate about making disciples, seeing people come to faith and walking alongside them in the messiness of life so that they grow together in their walk with God. He is keen to work with all members of the Defence Force inputting to their character development as part of Defence’s inculcation of its values and professional standards.
Grant has had a long and active involvement with the Anglican Church. His formal Anglican involvement began with his baptism, and was followed by confirmation, lay reading, ordination as a deacon (Bathurst 2004) and ordination as a priest (Bathurst 2010), before his consecration as Bishop (2020). Prior to his ordination, Grant was actively involved in ministry at various Anglican churches as he was posted around the country with his Army career. A highlight was his involvement at the Anglican Chapel at Duntroon. He was an active participant both in the congregation and the cadet fellowship group when he was a cadet. Later, when he was posted back to Canberra, he assisted in the leadership of prayer book services as a lay reader. Other highlights have been his involvement at Milperra Anglican for five years, a year at Point Lonsdale Anglican, a year at the UK Royal Military College of Science Anglican Chapel, St Matthias for three years and 15 years at St Albans, Rooty Hill since his ordination.
Grant entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1979 graduating to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. As a Major he was awarded a Land Commander’s commendation. As a Lieutenant Colonel he commanded the 7th Combat Service Support Battalion and whilst in command the Unit deployed a Battalion Support Group to East Timor, where he briefly deployed. In December 2002 he was promoted to Colonel and posted as the Commander Force Support Group. In this role he was the lead logistic planner for Australia’s deployment to the Solomon Islands, where he again briefly deployed to ensure the logistics plan was working.
He became an Army Reserve Chaplain reducing in rank to Captain in January 2007 to enable this. He has been the Chaplain to Sydney University Regiment, Headquarters Forces Command, the Coordinating Chaplain 8th Brigade, the Coordinating Chaplain 5th Brigade, Senior Chaplain 2nd Division and recently returned from the Middle East where he was deployed as the Coordinating Chaplain for the ADF in the Middle East Region.
Grant has been involved with the Navigators throughout his military career and is the Australian Navigators National Director. He also had a range of roles for the Asia Pacific Navigators. Over the years he has been very pleased to see the synergy between the Navigators and the local church. The Navigators have been used by God to bring hundreds to faith who have gone to, and are still involved with, the Anglican Church. Included among these have been priests, bishops, theological college lecturers and a Theological College Principal.
He has a Theological Diploma and a Bachelor of Theology from Sydney Missionary and Bible College having done the bulk of study for the Theological Diploma at Ridley College, Melbourne. He also holds a Bachelor of Science, Masters of Management in Defence Studies, Graduate Diploma of Management, and has formal qualifications in Training Development, Project Management, Chaplaincy and as a Company Director.
Grant is married to Jeanette and they have three sons, three daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren with another one on the way. They all are quite involved in various Anglican churches.
Navy Archdeacon – Andrew Lewis
Andrew was born in Newcastle, NSW and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1985 as a Midshipman and undertook his initial Degree studies at the Naval College before completing his studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Andrew spent the next twenty years as a Maritime Logistics Officer, serving in a range of shore and sea postings, including Supply Officer HMAS Sydney. His final posting as a Logistics Officer was as Commander Logistics in Fleet Command, where he was the lead Navy logistics planner for the response to the 2004 Asian Tsunami.
In 2005, through the In-service Chaplaincy Training Scheme, Andrew commenced theological studies and formation through the Diocese of Sydney, studying at Moore Theological College. Andrew was ordained Deacon at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Jan 2008, and Presbyter at St Matthew’s West Pennant Hills in December 2008.
After completing his curacy at St Matthew’s, Andrew was appointed Chaplain in the RAN in 2010. Andrew’s postings as a Chaplain have included the establishments HMAS Watson, Waterhen and Kuttabul, and the Australian Defence Force Academy; and HMA Ships Success, Toowoomba, Parramatta and Canberra. Andrew is currently the Senior Staff Officer Chaplain Capability Navy, and will take up the appointment of Director Chaplaincy Joint Training in January 2019.
Andrew is married to Joanne. They have two adult daughters, Caitlin who lives is London with her husband, and Gabrielle who lives in Sydney. Andrew and Joanne are active members of Erskineville Anglican Church.
Army Archdeacon – Rob Sutherland
Originally from the Adelaide Hills, Rob finished school in Sydney and joined the Australian Regular Army in January 1974. He graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea as an Infantry Officer in 1976. His infantry service included 6 RAR, 8/9 RAR, Battle Wing LWC and finally as a company commander in 6 RAR.
Called to ministry, Rob studied theology for seven years while still serving full-time in the Army. His final Army job was Director of Army Community Services for which he was awarded a Chief of the General Staff Commendation.
In 1997 he was ordained as an Anglican Deacon in the ANZAC Memorial Chapel of St Paul Duntroon and Priest in St Saviour’s Cathedral, Goulburn. In 1998 Rob transferred to the Army Reserve as a chaplain.
As a chaplain Rob served in the ARA at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, 4 RAR (Commando) and the Directorate of Mental Health. In the ARES, as a chaplain, he has had many postings including the past seven years within 6th Brigade. As an Anglican minister, Rob has been parish priest at Gordon, prison chaplain at Goulburn and he now runs programs to help veterans and their families.
Rob has deployed overseas on operations seven times including Bougainville, Afghanistan, Timor Leste and the South Pacific. Since 2009 Rob has been researching and developing programs to help soldiers suffering from Moral Injuries or Spiritual Wounds and developing resilience programs. For this he was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in 2014.
Rob is married to Penny and they have three children and five grandchildren.
Air Force Archdeacon – Kevin Russell
Kevin Russell was born in Nottingham, England in 1957 and migrated with his parents to Sydney in 1964. He was educated in French’s Forest, Sydney. During his High School years, Kevin was introduced to Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
In 1982 he commenced studies towards becoming a minister in the Anglican Church. His first Church appointment was as assistant minister at Richmond, NSW, in 1986. During this time Kevin both met his wife, Debra and became interested in ministry within the military context.
Kevin joined the RAAF towards the end of 1987 and has served as Anglican Chaplain at RAAF Edinburgh, Pearce, Richmond, East Sale and Williamtown. While at Williamtown, he spent some time in East Timor. While he was at RAAF Pearce, Hannah and Daniel were born.
Between 2003 and 2007, Kevin served as Director Chaplaincy-Training Command and later Air Force Training Group. During this time, Kevin completed his Master of Ministry and published a book entitled Pastoral Support for Military Chaplains. While he was in this position, considerable change occurred within the career structure of military chaplains, and for the first time, specific ministry training was introduce on an ADF basis for military chaplains. Kevin was in the position to influence the development of this training from an Air Force perspective.
Throughout their many postings, Kevin and Debra have maintained close ties with the life of the local church.
Kevin moved from Air Force Training Group to Air Command in 2008 and has taken on the additional role of Anglican Head of Denomination. He was collated Archdeacon on 6 April 2008. As Archdeacon, Kevin leads and represents the Anglican component of Air Force Chaplaincy. His vision is that Anglican RAAF chaplaincy be known for its close working ties with other denominations, its professionalism, particularly in service to RAAF members and their dependants, and its strong Christian identity.
Kevin was the Director-General Chaplaincy Air Force between 2013 and 2017. During his tenure, Air Force Chaplaincy experience considerable renewal and growth. Kevin concentrated on developing an inclusive Chaplaincy Culture that intentional thought theologically about the ministry they engaged in as they served the women and men of the Air Force including their families. Kevin was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross for his efforts.
Kevin is a strong advocate for women in ministry – especially military ministry. Kevin is adept at creating learning/workplace environments so that all (Anglican and other clergy) can flourish in their ministry.
Administrative Assistant – Jackie Baxter
Jackie works as Bishop Grant’s Administrative Assistant. She has a wealth of experience from the private sector and started in the role in August 2020. She will be working 20 hours a week and will normally be in the Office Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.