Congratulations to Fellow Reverend Professor Canon Dorothy Lee AM who was recently awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for significant service to the Anglican Church of Australia.

Dorothy was part of College life for 16 years after taking up residence in 1990 when appointed lecturer in the New Testament in the Uniting Church Theological Hall. During stints as Dean of Chapel at Queen’s, she formed and enjoyed strong connections with students. It was through her time at Queen’s she decided to become an Anglican, starting work with Trinity in 2008.

Dorothy is now an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Melbourne associated with St Mary’s North Melbourne, a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Dorothy’s particular interest in the Gospels, specifically the Gospel of John, has led to the production of many texts on the subject.

“I’ve written a lot on the symbolism of John’s gospel, it’s very rich. It’s about entering into a relationship with a divine being, so a relationship lies at the heart of it. I never feel I have quite exhausted it, which is funny all these years later.”

Dorothy’s focus has also been on the promotion of women as leaders in the Anglican Church, her faith supporting her in her quest for equality.

“My main interest is in the symbols of John’s Gospel, that’s where my passion is but I’ve ended up having to fight the other issue because patriarchy still survives and thrives in some places. Jesus’ attitude to women is quite extraordinary for his day and I think the New Testament is too. It’s very affirming of women so I found that a real resource for encouragement and strength.”

Dorothy’s connection to Queen’s remains strong.

“I used to bless the boats before the rowing at Queen’s, that was wonderful, I just loved it. I just can’t support the Trinity rowers, loyalty is loyalty. I was asked to become a Fellow of Queen’s and it’s been a real privilege to work with such a diverse, interesting group of people who love Queen’s. I feel as if it’s restored Queen’s to me after leaving and having those few years away.”

Dorothy was taken aback but pleased to receive the recent honour.

“All those years of hard, quiet work in libraries, doing my study, beavering away, somebody’s noticed and that’s lovely. It’s a lovely feeling that you’ve been seen and appreciated for what you’ve done, but then the other part of me thinks, ‘Why me?’ It was a bit surprising.”

Her thoughts on living a good life she feels are a bit counter-cultural.

“We need to be aware of the dominant culture which is very oriented toward success, accumulation of wealth and a competitive spirit.  I think we need to make a choice to go a different way so we value other things that are more important like compassion, justice, stillness. Compassion and justice are the main values while cultivating an inner stillness is important because our world is so busy and noisy, I think we need to stand out against it, and keep an eye particularly on those who are weak and vulnerable.”


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