Queer, Christian, settler, ally, manager, knitter, teacher, youth advocate, cat lover, board member and mentally ill. These are all labels Alex Long used at one time or another to describe herself. As a former "spiritual atheist", she currently spends a lot of time wondering how she ended up finding belonging in a Christian church. Alex works at Wayside Chapel tasked with bringing people together in community — especially young people and those working in the corporate world. She has three cats (probably two more than she should) and makes her home with her wife on Bidjigal land.
Emily Smith is a registered art therapist, counsellor and trauma-informed voice teacher. She is the founder of Inner West Art Therapy in Annandale and has worked in schools, women's and family crisis refuges and in partnership with various community mental health providers. WIth a particular interest in trauma processing, she is passionate about creating safe spaces for growth, exploration and play.
Tom McDonald is currently the Community Strengthening Team Manager at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. The team’s focus is on both targeted early intervention and Place Based Community Development for the LGA. Tom’s team can be found running the ‘Chat and Connect’ and One Stop Shop service hub at Newtown Mission every Thursday morning.
Tom has been in the Community Welfare sector for the past 19 years, specialising in Youth and Families. He also works for Department of Communities and Justice within the Youth Justice Team as a Youth Justice Conferencing Convenor.
An internationally sought after speaker and experienced social worker with a PhD in Behavioural Science, Joel's research covers the meeting points of trauma, faith, gender and sexuality. He is the author of "Religious Trauma: Queer Identities" and is currently teaching at the University of Sydney. He has also worked extensively with young people who have experienced trauma, providing therapeutic spaces for them to build resilience and create their own stories. Usually with a coffee in hand, he does lots of thinking around creativity, faith, and the complexities of caring in the modern world. Joel also pastors New City Church and is married to Thomas. You can follow Joel's adventures (X/insta/threads) @joelhollier
A Registered Nurse with a decades experience in Mental Health, Louise has worked in both inpatient and community settings across the Sydney metropolitan area. Throughout her career, Louise has specialised in providing care for people with enduring mental illness that require higher acuity care. A passionate supporter of improving public access to healthcare, Louise has developed a particular interest in advocacy for people struggling with their mental health, especially those who face significantchallenges engaging with health care services. Over the years Louise has also engaged in roles providing education and support for other mental health workers, to improve the delivery of care in local settings.