Liz Crawford, the inaugural director of the LCA’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU), died last Thursday night, 16 July, after a long battle with cancer.
A lawyer, Mrs Crawford served in that role and then as manager of the renamed Professional Standards Department (PSD) from 2011 until her retirement in July 2016. Prior to taking up the LCA post, she served as Professional Standards Director for the LCA’s Queensland District and before that was the senior legal counsel for another denomination in Sydney for 10 years.
Mrs Crawford was a pioneer in the field of professional standards for the church. She oversaw the development of policies, processes and procedures and established the new professional standards structure approved by the General Church Council. She worked with district administrators and other church leaders to determine the best way to implement draft professional standards policies, as well as training in ethical behaviour for church workers and volunteers serving in congregations and other church bodies.
At the time of her appointment as PSU director, Mrs Crawford said: ‘By implementing Professional Standards practices, we are doing all we can to ensure that all who engage with the church are kept safe from harm. But the church needs to go beyond what the laws of the land demand. The church of Jesus Christ cares for people, and so it takes one more important step in the resolution of complaints and difficulties – healing through forgiveness and reconciliation.’
Mrs Crawford’s successor as Professional Standards Manager, Tim Ross, said that the PSD team was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their ‘godmother figure’.
‘It was a privilege to know Liz, as she was such a passionate person, with a great sense of humour, too’, he said. ‘She will continue to inspire us in our endeavours.’
LCA/NZ Executive Officer of the Church Peter Schirmer said Mrs Crawford was a humble and hardworking servant of Christ and his church, and that she had a great heart for vulnerable people. She forged new territory in the area of professional standards in the LCA/NZ.
‘We thank God for Liz’s life and talents and for her vital legacy of care and protection, in particular for the most vulnerable people in our church and the communities with which we connect’, he said. ‘Liz was a devoted, encouraging and joy-filled colleague and friend of many across the LCA/NZ. We express our deepest condolences to her loved ones.’