Revd Rex A E Hunt
MSc(Hons), GradDip(Communication Management)
Rex Hunt is a progressive 'grass roots' religious naturalist, liturgist, and social ecologist. Forty-three years ordained, first as a Presbyterian, he is today a retired minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, where his last placement was at the progressive Church of St James (2000-2009) in Canberra, ACT - Canberra being Australia's capital city, centre of national political life.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Rex will be undertaking a speaking tour in September 2015, speaking in Phoenix AZ. USA - at The Fountains United Methodist Church (6 Sept and 8 Sept); in Nova Scotia (Canada) over a whole weekend (11-13 Sept) at the Tatamagouche Centre; and in Britain in Manchester (23 Sept) and Newcastle-on-Tyne (26 Sept). If you are nearby it would be great if we could catch up.
Some highlights from a significant 'progressive' career in ministry include:
• Founding Member, Editorial Committee, Catalyst: A Journal of Progressive Religious Thought (1967-74);
• Founder (1990), National Co-ordinator (1990-96) and Life Member (2008) of The Network of Biblical Storytellers, Australia & New Zealand. He was a Workshop leader at several of the Network's National Gatherings, and the Keynote Presenter at the National Gathering in Victoria in 2011;
• Founding Director (2002-09) and Life Member (2009) of The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Canberra where he was a regular Keynote Presenter;
• Assisted with the establishment of The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Sydney (2004), The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Brisbane (2005) - now combined with the Progressive Spirituality Network, Brisbane, The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria (2006) and The Progressive Christian Network, Central Coast (2010-2012); Likewise gave guiding encouragement to West Australian Progressive Network and the Progressive Spirituality New Zealand - where he gave a 'quick-fire' (short) presentation on Holy Communion/Jesus Banquet at the Network's launch in August 2014.
• Keynote Presenter at the launch of The Lay Forum - a progressive movement within the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia (2009);
• Associate of the Westar Institute - an international gathering of scholars who advocate religious literacy, located within Willamette University, Salem, OR, USA. Between 2005-2009 he was a member of its Literacy and Liturgy Seminar which attempts to take seriously the difference scholarship on the 'historical' Jesus and early christianities makes, and how to reimagine what these new understandings imply for worship (the Sunday morning experience), preaching, prayer, and life in community;
• Chair of the Planning Team for three International Gatherings of progressive religion, spread over seven years (2006-2013): (i) in Sydney, Australia, in August 2007, called Common Dreams1 Conference with the theme "Progressive Religion as a Transforming Agent". The Keynote Presenter was Bishop John Shelby Spong (USA), supported by Revd Stephanie Dowrick; (ii) in Melbourne, Australia, in April 2010, called Common Dreams2 Conference where the theme was "Living the Progressive Religion Dream"Gretta Vosper . Keynote Presenter was Revd (Canada), and (iii) in Canberra, Australia, in September 2013, called Common Dreams3 Conference, under the theme "Midwives of Change: Progressives Shaping Religious Communities". Keynote Presenters were Marcus Borg (USA), Bruce Sanguin (Canada), and David Felten (USA). All three Conferences had several Australian and New Zealand progressives offering Presentations and leading Workshops. You can check out the Common Dreams web site at: http://commondreams.org.au/
Has been able to facilitate the bringing to Australia of such international scholars and leaders within the progressive movement, as: 'Jesus Seminar' fellows Prof. B Brandon Scott (USA), Prof. John Dominic Crossan (USA), Assoc. Prof. Joe Bessler (USA), Prof. Sir Lloyd Geering (NZ), Bishop John Shelby Spong (USA), Prof. Marcus Borg (USA); plus such others from the International progressive movements: Fred Plumer (USA), Prof. Tom Boomershine (USA), David Felten (USA), Gretta Vosper (Canada), Bruce Sanguin (Canada), Alan Race (Britain). Likewise, supporting Australian and New Zealand scholars and progressives such as: Gregory Jenks, Val Webb, Michael Morwood, Elaine Wainwright, Nigel Leaves, Noel Preston, Francis Macnab, Norman Habel, John W. H. Smith, Margaret Mayman, Keith Rowe, Lorraine Parkinson, John Bodycomb.
In 2004 he was made a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International (Rotary Club of Canberra-Woden) for Services to the Community - he is a former District Governor of Apex Australia (Zone 1, District 3), a past President of Rotary, and a past President of ProBus - and prior to moving from Canberra, was made an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Woden in 2008.
He has published several articles on various topics - Media, Communication, Preaching, Christmas, Liturgy, Parables, The 'progressive' Movement, etc. (some available on this site). Along with these articles he has authored or edited six books:
• Edited and contributed to, a collection of Story Sermons, New Green Shoots and Other Story Sermons (JBCE, 1993 - now out of print);
• Co-edited two books on progressive Christianity with John W Smith - Why Weren't We Told? A Handbook on Progressive Christianity, (Polebridge Press, 2012), and New Life: Rediscovering Faith. Stories from Progressive Christians - a companion to WWWT, (2013, Mosaic Press; Re-issued 2014 by Morning Star Publishing) featuring stories from 25 lay people from Australia and New Zealand on their 'progressive' journey;
• Published a collection of some of his recent sermons called Against The Stream: Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew (Mosaic Press, 2012. Re-issued August 2014 with Morning Star Publications); and his exploration of Christmas in both popular culture and progressive Christianity, called Cards, Carols, and Claus. Christmas in Popular Culture and Progressive Christianity (Mosaic Press, 2013; Re-issued 2014 by Morning Star Publications).
• Co-edited with, Gregory Jenks, a collection of 13 articles from Australian and New Zealand progressives, centred around the spirit of the Common Dreams Conferences, called Wisdom and Imagination: Religious Progressives and the Search for Meaning (Morning Star Publishing, 2014).
• Is currently working on a new book When 'Progressives' Gather Together which is on liturgy, landscape, the sacraments (Baptism & Holy Communion), The Jesus Prayer, and Preaching. Plus a large liturgical resources ToolKit. To be published early 2016.
Up until his retirement Rex was recognised as a leader in Australia's progressive religious movement. Rex writes: "So here they are. A bit of this. A bit of that. Sermons. Liturgies. Prayers. Affirmations. Articles. Read on if you are interested in wanting to push some theological boundaries in open and honest ways. Progressive theology has always been an imaginative construction. Seek out those others who have helped me shape my thoughts for they have much more to offer than suggested here. And may we all be blessed and empowered as we re-imagine the world".