New Appointment – Dr Dianne Rayson

The Pacific Theological College (PTC) has inducted into the role of Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics Dr Dianne Rayson, who comes to PTC from Australia.

Dr Rayson was inducted on Friday 16th September 2022 at a service in the College Chapel that was followed by Tea in the fale.

Di Rayson holds a PhD in Theology from University of Newcastle, Australia, where she researched the contribution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology to questions of climate change. Her book is “Bonhoeffer and Climate Change: Theology and Ethics for the Anthropocene” (Lexington, 2021).

Di had a previous career in public health and social policy, working in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia’s Northern Territory. Originally a registered nurse working in health promotion, her Master of Public Health thesis was an ethnographic analysis of women and childbirth in the highlands of PNG. There she trained health care workers, conducted AIDS education, and delivered primary prevention programs such as malaria prevention through treated bednet use.

Returning to Australia, Di became the director of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program in the Northern Territory and was a champion on tobacco control legislation, making workplaces and public spaces safe from tobacco smoke. She conducted quit smoking programs and supported community action against nicotine addiction and abuse of other drugs. From there she moved into Justice and became the Director of Crime Prevention.

Di moved from social policy and into theology in desperation over climate change, and the apparent inaction by the church to be prophetic and active. She is a member of the Anglican Church of Australia where she is part of Anglican EcoCare. She has regularly preached throughout the Newcastle diocese and across other denominations.

Di’s academic teaching has been at the University of Newcastle, BBI-The Australian Institute of Theological Education, and Charles Sturt University. She has focused on ecotheology and Bonhoeffer studies, as well as public policy, sociology, mental health, and global ethics.

She has published widely on a range of social issues including rape culture, the ecological effects of war, Bonhoeffer and Gandhi, and her core areas of ‘Earthly Christianity’ and ecoethics. Her current projects include an edited collection in honor of her supervising professor, Terence Lovat, called “Springer Handbook of Education, Religion, and Ethics”, and contributing to a collection edited by Jione Havea on Pasifika theology.

Di has been drawn to PTC because of the richness and creativity of Pasifika theology and the immediate impact of climate change on the nations and communities across Oceania. She is excited about joining PTC at a time of transition to a university and when Pasifika theology has much to contribute to global knowledge and ethics.

Di’s husband, Phil, is a medical doctor who will be joining the PTC community in 2023. Their two children are grown, with their daughter married and living in Darwin, and their son and partner living in Sydney. The family home of the past 20 years has been on Biripi country on the east coast of Australia. They have a small farm where they have raised cattle and live with many animals, growing much of their own food. They are musicians and have been members of various choirs.

So far, Di is loving Fiji life. She loves living on an island surrounded by moana and where the weather is great. The PTC community is warm and generous, and the students are very sharp and enthusiastic. Her visits to local churches, markets, and shops have been an exciting introduction to life here. She is looking forward to stretching and supporting her research students, teaching in a variety of contexts, and participating in the PTC transition.

The Pacific Theological College community is looking forward to enjoying time working, studying and learning with her.

If you’re interested in studying Theology and Ethics with Dr Rayson and our other Faculty members, then why not have a look at the courses on offer at PTC.