David Robertson

The people’s pastor

Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Brenton Stacey
About the Author

Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale University’s Public Relations and Philanthropy Officer. He brings to the role experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities.

Relationship care key to the ministry of this alumnus

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia tasked David Robertson with helping lay the foundation for its response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

An ordained minister with a gift for pastoral care, David established Adventist Support (now Adsafe) in 2000, 13 years before the commission held its first public hearings. It addressed sexual abuse and harassment in the church through the creation of policy and provision of consultation and education while supporting the vulnerable and the victims. One of David’s previous roles as director of family ministries for the church in Greater Sydney—in which he established an independent, church-sponsored counselling and relationship centre—provided valuable experience and knowledge, as did a network of professional contacts outside of the church and a master’s degree in family studies from Loma Linda University.

David (BA, 1973) not only developed a theological framework at Avondale but the tools to explore a personal belief system and maintain a spiritual journey. The experience helped translate ideals into realistic pathways for employment—the beginning of 12 years of ministry in the church’s North British Conference. He also met wife Cheryl. The two married in 1976 and soon welcomed daughter Shelley and son Nic.

Born in New Zealand and the youngest of seven children, David began his degree at Longburn College. He came to Avondale the year after brother Doug graduated. His ministry in Papua New Guinea coincided with David’s in Britain—circumstances would keep the two from meeting in a ministry context for about 25 years.

Shared experiences are important for David. Building the family home with Cheryl as an owner builder is a personal accomplishment. Exploring the world with Cheryl, including travelling in a camper van across Ukraine and Russia in the late 1970s and walking the Milford Track in South New Zealand, is a passion.

The Class of 1973 honours Pr David Robertson for enriching relationships and supporting those damaged by relationships inside and outside the church.

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