I’m Frank Rees, a pastor and teacher in theology at Whitley College, which is a Baptist theological college in Melbourne, Australia.
My role is to be the Principal of the College. This means the head of the institution, both administratively and academically. It is a leadership position, involving some teaching and pastoral elements as well.
I am keen to engage with people who share my commitment to honest reflection on life and faith, whether this is from a specific religious affiliation or not.
I studied Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and theology at Whitley. Then I was ordained, and served in a number of suburban pastorates in Melbourne and later was minister of the Hobart Baptist Church in Tasmania. I did my doctoral studies in the University of Manchester, UK.
I have enjoyed opportunities to travel and study for short periods in the United States, England and India.
A particular focus of my work has been the development of teachers and leaders for theological seminaries or colleges in the ‘two-thirds world’.
This work expresses my strong commitment to contextual theologies: that means the local community of faith finding its own voice and its own distinctive expressions of faith and church community.
For an Australian, this seems to be a task we have yet to engage with, in any consistent way.
My teaching and research interests include contemporary approaches to christology and ecclesiology, and contextual theologies - especially Australian theology and spirituality.
In recent years, I have especially been working in ecclesiology, with a special interest in the priesthood of all believers. I have intentionally sought opportunities to work as ‘Theologian in Residence’ with a number of local churches in developing their own corporate ministries, both in the gathered and dispersed church.
My work involves a number of representative roles, including representing the Baptist Union of Victoria on the MCD University of Divinity — the ecumenical degree granting body of which Whitley College is a part.
Recently I served as President of the governing Council of the MCD University of Divinity.
For some years I was President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools, but have escaped from this task!
At present, I am also a member of the Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity, within the Baptist World Alliance. This role involves me in meeting with people from all round the world, to explore issues of faith and church co-operation in a wide range of issues and contexts.