Dr Nigel Long’s appointment as Secretary of the Church was announced last week. Concern for the vulnerable and disadvantaged was a guidepost in his decision to apply for the position.
Dr Long said he had been through a ‘period of personal reflection and re-evaluation’ of his professional direction over the past 18 months. This led him to volunteer at Lutheran Community Care (LCC) and later work there as Policy and Quality Assurance Administrator, take on a role as a Professional Standards trainer and, ultimately, apply for the secretary’s position.
Through these roles, he has gained firsthand experience of some of the challenges facing the LCA/NZ.
‘The LCA/NZ is faced with a number of challenges, including the repercussions from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that has eroded the trust of the community in the church; the antipathy many in the community have for the church and Christianity; and how we as church work through the matter of women’s ordination’, Dr Long said.
‘However, I believe through God’s guidance, these and other challenges can be worked through. I see it through Professional Standards training and the amazing work LCC does for those in our community who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.’
Dr Long, who also has been working as a part-time consultant in research and policy, takes up the Secretary of the Church role this month. He succeeds Pastor Neville Otto, who served in the position from 2009 until late 2018 when he accepted a call to return to parish ministry at Box Hill in suburban Melbourne.
Dr Long was a former director of policy for peak industry associations in agriculture and mining in South Australia for 12 years, and worked a further 12 years as a research agronomist at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. He has a PhD in Agricultural Science.
LCA/NZ Bishop John Henderson said that Dr Long would have a key role in preparations for the next General Convention of Synod in 2021 and that he was very much looking forward to working with him.
‘Nigel is an outstanding choice for the job. He brings a background and skill set to the role that will benefit the church’, Bishop Henderson said.
‘He respects and relates to people well. Nigel has a strong record of building relationships while negotiating difficult issues. His career has involved working with differing viewpoints on matters as complex and sensitive as native title and environmental policy.
‘Nigel is a faithful and longstanding church member.’
Dr Long and his family – wife Miriam and sons Jacob, Oliver and Nikolas – are members at St John’s Lutheran Church at Unley in suburban Adelaide.
Dr Long said the work he had done in the areas of policy, and government and industry relations within various organisations, along with his governance experience and professional standards training, all would enhance his contribution to the role.
‘I have been greatly blessed for the opportunities and experiences God has given me and the experience of working within the LCA/NZ community, which has led me to recognise a call for further service within the church’, he said.
‘I am very much looking forward to working closely with Bishop John Henderson, the LCA’s Churchwide Office leadership team, the district bishops and all staff within the LCA/NZ, to serve our church and to grow the church’s mission.
‘The church is for all and, in my capacity as Secretary of the Church, I will serve to fulfil its role in sharing the love of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.’
Outside of work, along with his active involvement in congregational life and worship, he is a fan of attending Test cricket, listening to The Beatles, watching James Bond movies, supporting his sons as they play sport, good wine and craft beer and enjoying time with friends.
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