Rev Keith Garner, AM
Our CEO and Superintendent, the Rev Keith Garner AM, is the head of our church and a gifted preacher and minister.
In his role Keith is responsible for leading almost 2,000 staff and more than 4,000 volunteers across 130 different centres, and approximately 1,500 congregation members. Since taking up the role in 2006, Mr Garner has thoroughly immersed himself in the life and work of Wesley Mission, inspiring those who serve alongside him through his passionate teaching and preaching, and mobilising others through his role as social advocate and spokesperson.
Since becoming a Christian at 16, Keith has dedicated his life to following Jesus Christ. Ordained as a Methodist minister in 1982, for more than 30 years he has ministered to many churches at both local and international levels. During this time, Keith has consistently focused on serving the most vulnerable in the community.
Prior to working at Wesley Mission, Keith spent time in South Africa during the Apartheid years encouraging churches to advocate for justice and peace, and offered teaching and support to church leaders in Myanmar in 2004. More recently he has preached and empowered church leaders and theological students in China. He is also the author of A Word for the World (2013) and Cross Talk: Words for the Crossroads of Life (2008).
Keith is an articulate and engaging Christian leader. He enjoys speaking in small and large gatherings and uses the media to reach national and international audiences. He presents our weekly television broadcast, Wesley Impact! TV, and hosts our annual Easter Sunrise Service. He is regularly called upon by mainstream media to present Christian messages to the public, particularly during key celebrations in the Christian calendar such as Christmas and Easter.
In his role as teacher and preacher, Keith Garner has addressed huge assemblies at Methodist gatherings and church conferences around the world and is called upon regularly to speak at a national level at church conferences and social welfare forums in Australia.
Keith is responsible for guiding and directing a range of services for the marginalised and vulnerable. He is also a tenacious advocate, speaking out regularly in the mainstream media on social issues such as gambling addiction, financial stress and homelessness—often in the face of opposition from bodies such as clubs, poker machine manufacturers, legislative groups and political parties.
As a leader Keith has effectively spearheaded a range of innovative programs and services. Driven by justice and a heart for those on the margins of society, he has mobilised people and resources, raising funds for many worthwhile community projects, ranging from a youth centre in Manchester in the 1970s to a state of the art centre for people with disability in Ashfield in 2012. In 2013 he helped bring to fruition our award-winning aged care facility with a 14 bed dementia unit, Wesley Rayward Carlingford.
Keith has guided Wesley Mission through challenging times such as the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, and has helped to implement sustainable practices with the aim of setting up the organisation for a sound and robust future.
He has fervently and persistently voiced the concerns of homeless people in the community and is committed to finding solutions that will bring an end to homelessness in Australia. He currently serves as the Deputy Co-Chair of the NSW Premier’s Council on Homelessness and is a Board member of the Community Council of Australia, a peak body representing the not-for-profit sector.
In 2008 he participated in the Strengthening Communities, Supporting Families and Social Inclusion stream at the Australian Government’s 2020 Summit in Canberra. He has given evidence and made numerous submissions to government enquiries on issues ranging from suicide prevention to finance industry reform.
Keith’s personal life
In 2015, Keith was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for significant service to the community and for being an advocate for people who are homeless and socially disadvantaged, and to pastoral care.
In 2013 Keith received an Outstanding Community Service Award from the New South Wales Government in recognition of his work in the community, particularly as an advocate for social justice. He completed his Master of Theology at Oxford University in 1995 and was given an Honorary Doctorate by the Evangelical Bible Institute in Yangon for his work throughout the world in supporting poorer communities. He is a former Premier League soccer chaplain.
Keith is married to Carol and they became Australian citizens in 2008. His interests include travel, reading, community involvement and sport.