Province news

Jesuit Social Ministries Australia committee appointed

The establishment of the committee reflects a growth in partnerships between the Jesuits and their lay co-workers, and an acknowledged need for greater collaboration between related social ministries.

Australian Jesuit Provincial Fr Brian McCoy has appointed a committee to oversee the newly created Jesuit Social Ministries Australia (JSMA). Fr McCoy announced the creation of JSMA at the recent Province Gathering, as part of the Apostolic Plan, with the aim of assuring the future of Jesuit social ministries in Australia.

A review of the Australian Jesuit social ministries was undertaken in 2018 and a consultative process ensued with the engagement of an external facilitator, John Honner. Social ministries participated in ongoing conversations and discernment regarding areas of collaboration, structure, process and supports which would enable social ministries to adapt and grow the Province’s mission into the future.

A priority was to endorse the principle of subsidiarity with that of Jesuit oversight of key areas, including Ignatian formation of all, particularly those on boards and in leadership; good leadership, particularly around key appointments; and clear strategic direction (in areas of finance, collaboration with other social ministries and Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific) and Province priorities.

‘The committee has been established at a time of change in the way the Jesuits conduct their works in Australia’, said Fr Brian McCoy in his announcement of the new committee this week.

The establishment of the committee reflects a growth in partnerships between the Jesuits and their lay co-workers, and an acknowledged need for greater collaboration between related social ministries.

‘It is expected to be a reflective body that listens, guides and encourages’, said Fr McCoy.

Four committee members have been appointed, with another two to be appointed in coming months, bringing greater diversity to the group. The four committee members are:


Mr David White (appointed chair of JSMA)

Mr White brings with him a wealth of experience in various roles within the social ministries sector. He is chair of Startout Australia Ltd, a board member and ex-chair of the Australia Youth Mentoring Network and was chair of the board for the Sisters of Charity Community Care Inc. Prior to his career in mentoring young people at risk, Mr White worked in youth justice, child protection and homelessness. Mr White currently sits on the Jesuit Province Professional Standards Consultative Panel.


Ms Amelia Buchanan-McInerney

Ms Buchanan-McInerney’s commitment to good governance and ethical decision-making has seen her taking on roles including board secretariat and liaison/facilitator of key relationships across a broad range of constituencies. Ms Buchanan-McInerney, who has qualifications in law, political science and corporate governance, is currently governance officer at Australian Catholic University and previously held the role of company secretary and executive officer at Broken Bay Institute.


Mr Paul Power

Mr Power is currently the CEO of Refugee Council of Australia and has qualifications in executive leadership and journalism. He brings a wealth of experience in public affairs, media relations, research and policy development and planning. Strengths in strategy and advocacy at both national and international levels within the not-for-profit and government sector has enabled Mr Power to influence at a global level.


Mr David Sutton

Mr Sutton currently works in student wellbeing at St Bernard’s College, Essendon and has degrees in education, theology, counselling and human services. He has lived and worked in diverse settings and was presented with the Ignatian medal in 2006 for his work alongside Jesuits in support of men with a background of homelessness. Mr Sutton was chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee during his 10 years on the Jesuit Social Services board.


Fr McCoy said that Lisa Connell, Delegate Social Ministries, will act in an executive officer capacity on the Committee until the Provincial and the JSMA Committee formally appoint a person to the executive officer role.

‘This journey is very much a work in progress and we look forward to growing our mission in a collaborative, contemporary and Ignatian-inspired manner’, he said.