Tell us a little about you
Hi! I’m Greta. 33, married to Mark, mum to a 3.5 year old girl and 5 month old boy.
I grew up in a wonderful home that had a very nominal attitude to faith. When I was 13, I started going to a Church of Christ youth group that was undergoing charismatic renewal. I have no idea how, but over the course of a year, I ended up in a small group and going to church regularly. There was no “aha!” conversion moment - for me, following Jesus was like slowly waking up. I was baptised at 15 and felt called to study theology at 16 after reading CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. After finishing a journalism degree, I completed an MA in Biblical Studies, then completed an MTh in Pastoral Studies, which focused on Pentecostalism and mental illness. In 2009, I came on staff as an online tutor and lecturer for pastoral ministry subjects at Alphacrucis College. Since then, I’ve held a variety of roles there. Recently, I’ve moved out of Sydney to a small seaside town, where we’re fortunate to have a house near the beach. I’m hoping to do a PhD while beside the sea! Waiting until the young boy goes to school. Until then, trying to write and publish as much as possible.
What's your favourite bible passage & why?
This is like asking who my favourite child is! However, I feel like this is a good challenge for my current season of life:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Romans 12:15-16 NIV
How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus?
I normally encounter God deeply through intellectual engagement. I love an exegetical essay! Parenting has been really humbling in that regard - baby brain is real and Sunday church is logistically really tricky with young kids. In this season, I find I pray most when breastfeeding in the early hours of the morning (though the prayers are sleepy and simple). I listen to more podcasts and watch videos than usual, because reading takes double the effort at the moment. I have a couple of friends in the same stage of life who I regularly converse with about God things (in person when we can, but more often by text, in between kid activities!). One thing I’m trying to keep in mind is that Jesus is present in the mundane, repetitive, everyday tasks as much as the deep intellectual revelations. My brain tends to run at a million miles a minute, so this has been challenging!
What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know?
Don’t let a lack of female examples stop you from walking out the kingdom work you’ve been called to. At 16, I only knew one person with a theology degree and it was a middle aged man. There is a current generation of female Christians who eagerly await you and want to empower you. Thank goodness for the internet in that regard. Look beyond your church and denomination!
What's one thing that you love about your local church?
Having just moved, we’re currently finding a new church. However, I grew up in an area where there is a great relationship between people in different churches. I love that I can visit most churches in the area I grew up in and automatically connect back in with people I’ve known for years. It really does boil down to community.
What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard?
That God rushes in - but often in the most unexpected ways and through the people we don’t expect or usually accept. It’s the LGBT relative that invites you to read Psalm 23 over your mother’s body as the family gathers around to mourn. Or the midwife that meets your husband in the special care nursery at 3am, informs him she helped deliver his wife 29 years earlier, and reassures him that his premature baby girl is in good care. In hard times, I’m learning more and more that I just need to watch and listen.
What are you passionate about?
Mental health issues in the church and theological academia. We need to do better!
What do you enjoy doing when you rest?
I have a five month old baby. Honestly, if I can get a stretch of sleep of more than four hours at night, I’m pretty thrilled right now! However, nothing beats time spent with good friends having a laugh (while someone else holds the baby for a bit). Also, when it’s warm enough, a good ocean dip cures most existential funks.