Philip Freier has headed the Anglican Church in Melbourne since the end of 2007, and was elected Primate of Australia in 2014. It has been a difficult few decades for all public institutions, not least the Anglican Church, in keeping people interested and involved and in building and maintaining trust. So from the first the new Archbishop set out to listen — to people in the pews, people in shopping centres and public places, and to church and civic leaders.
One pathway has been a series of public conversations in the Edge theatre at Federation Square on topics of public importance, ranging from climate change to toxic childhood, from asylum seekers to the Indigenous intervention, from political process to mental health.He wants people to understand the issues and feel empowered, rather than feeling irrelevant or merely delegating to experts.
Guests have been as diverse as Malcolm Fraser and Michael Leunig, Julian Burnside and Noni Hazlehurst. As the number of conversations approaches 50, this book features edited extracts of 15 of them, canvassing issues of abiding importance and interest.
Edited and introduced by Barney Zwartz and featuring cartoons by Ron Tandberg.
Dr Philip Freier grew up in a working class suburb of Brisbane, graduated in science and taught at a remote Indigenous community. Becoming an Anglican priest, he served in Queensland parishes and then as Bishop of the Northern Territory. He is married to Joy, and has two sons, Michael and David.