WATAC to host conversation about domestic violence and the Australian church

30 January 2022
Image: Lorna Scubelek/Unsplash.


The February 2022 session of WATAC Presents will be a conversation about domestic violence and the Australian Church. Tracy McEwan, theologian and vice president of WATAC, together with Debra Zanella, Chief Executive Officer of Ruah Community Services and Liz Mackinlay, founder and current chair of Mary’s House Services board will explore what domestic violence is, who experiences it, and how different theologies and church structures impact women’s experiences of domestic violence. The one-hour Zoom session is open to all. 

Liz Mackinlay has over 20 years of experience in the not for profit (NFP) sector, with extensive senior executive experience internationally and in Australia. She has held roles with a variety of NFP’s including World Vision International as Global Vice President of Strategy, World Vision Australia as Director of Indigenous development, Australian Business Volunteers as Chief Executive Officer, International Red Cross Society in Cambodia as a gender specialist and is a founder and Board Chair of a community-run and funded domestic violence Refuge in Sydney, Mary’s House. Liz is advocating for change within Australian Churches considering the current domestic violence epidemic. 

Debra Zanella has over two decades of experience in senior leadership roles in health and community services. Debra lives in Perth. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Ruah Community Services, a leading Western Australian Community Organisation that provides services principally in the areas of Mental Health, Housing, Family & Domestic Violence Services. She is a founding member of the WA Alliance to End Homelessness. Debra is a strong advocate for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. 

Tracy McEwan is a doctoral student in theology and sociology of religion at the University of Newcastle in Australia. Her recently submitted thesis explores the religious identity and participation of Gen X Catholic women in Australia. Tracy is the current vice president of WATAC. Through her research and activist work Tracy seeks to empower women to “be church”. Tracy’s most recent project is the podcast “Australian Women Preach” which raises women’s voices and celebrates the diverse talents of woman preachers in Australia. 

Andrea Dean, president of WATAC said, “The safety and protection of women in Australia’s churches is of upmost importance. I appreciate these women leaders of a thinking faith coming together in conversation to shed light on a way forward. This conversation which is vital for the future of our churches should not be missed.” 

WATAC Presents Behind stained glass doors: A conversation about domestic violence and the Australian church is on 9 February from 7pm to 8pm (AEDT). Register via the website (www.watac.net.au) to participate. 

Established in 1984, Women and the Australian Church (WATAC) is an incorporated organisation committed to a Church characterised by equality. For more information, please contact Andrea Dean chair@watac.net.au or https://watac.net.au 

With thanks to Women and the Australian Church (WATAC).


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