Wesley Mission’s CEO/Superintendent, the Rev Keith Garner AM, is head of our church and a gifted preacher and minister.
In his role as Superintendent and CEO of Wesley Mission Keith has the responsibility of leading almost 2,000 staff and more than 4,000 volunteers across 130 different centres, and well over 1,500 congregation members. Since taking up the role in 2006 Keith 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.
Keith is an articulate and engaging Christian leader. He enjoys speaking in small and large gatherings and also 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.
Since becoming a Christian at 16, Keith has dedicated his life to following Jesus Christ and was ordained a Methodist minister in 1982. During more than 30 years as a minister he has worked with many churches, both at local and international levels. In particular, Keith has consistently encouraged service to those most vulnerable in each community where he has served.
Keith spent time in South Africa during the apartheid years encouraging churches to advocate for justice and peace, offered teaching and support to church leaders in Myanmar in 2004, and more recently 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).
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 as CEO
Through his work at Wesley Mission, 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 Wesley Mission’s 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. His care for people transcends political, economic and social barriers. 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 Garner was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours 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 Garner 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.