Richard is the thirteenth Bishop of Gippsland. He was conscreated on 21 July 2018 in Melbourne and installed on 18 August 2018 at Sale.
Richard was baptised and confirmed in the Diocese of Sydney, where he attended an Anglican school. After three years of a medical degree he took a ‘gap year’ in Europe, during which a sense of vocation to ordained ministry emerged. Richard returned from overseas in 1988 to take up the study of theology as a candidate for the Diocese of Ballarat at Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, where he would later return as College Chaplain and Stewart Lecturer in Theology (1998-2007).
Richard was ordained Deacon and Priest in the early 1990s. He served two curacies – at St Peter’s, Ballarat, and in the Parish of Warrnambool – and was Rector of the Parish of Skipton, a four-centered rural parish.
Since 2007 he has been the Vicar of Christ Church South Yarra, and President of Christ Church Grammar School, where he taught Religious Education and took an active role in Chapel services, as well as chairing the School Board for five years.
Between 2001 and 2012 Richard represented the Anglican Church of Australia on the Faith and Order Standing Commission of The World Council of Churches, and ecumenism is dear to his heart, having been a student and faculty member in the ecumenical consortium that was the United Faculty of Theology.
Other wider church ministries include seven years on the Council of Melbourne Grammar School as the Archbishop’s Alternate, two years on the The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Board, three years as an Examining Chaplain, and an ongoing role on the Liturgy Commission of General Synod since 2012.
Richard’s research Masters degree was in the field of philosophical theology and the impact of postmodernism on theological method. His PhD in Hebrew biblical narrative, focusing on the Book of Esther and the experience of suffering, was awarded by Monash University and published in 2008. He is an Honorary Research Associate of the University of Divinity, and has written chapters in edited volumes and articles for local and international refereed journals in the area of biblical interpretation. For several years Richard was a regular contributor to the print and online formats of Eureka Street on issues of faith and popular culture.
Dr Leanne Habeeb, an Organisational Psychologist, and Richard have a daughter, Rachel (7), and a son, Nicholas (6), who share Richard’s penitential allegiance to the Carlton Football Club, and may actually live to see another premiership. They are enjoying their early weeks at St Anne’s, Gippsland Grammar, in Sale. Richard and Leanne and their children are delighted to be in Gippsland and are all looking forward to getting to know the people and places of this beautiful and diverse region in the months and years ahead.