Tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up
My Dad was Greek. He emigrated from his homeland of Cyprus to Australia in 1949. In 1952 he married Mum who was Australian born Greek; her parents came from the Greek Island of Kythera. I’m the eldest of five children. I grew up in Croydon Park, went to the local primary school and then to Canterbury Boys’ High School. I completed a law degree at Sydney University, and I worked as a government solicitor for over thirty years before taking early retirement in 2010. Then I started a Master of Divinity degree at Sydney Missionary Bible College, which I completed in 2017.
I’ve been married to Kym for 42 years, and we’ve been blessed with two adult children, Melanie and Morgan, who still live with us. How is it that my surname of Adams is not Greek? That’s another story.
Growing up in Australia, did your Greek heritage impact your life and outlook?
Yes, it impacted how I was viewed by mainstream Australian society. I remember when I was in primary school, I was occasionally called a ‘wog’, which was then a term of contempt. Interestingly, the sting of negativity associated with the word ‘wog’ disappeared over time with the success of plays like “Wogs Out of Work” and the popular TV comedy series “Acropolis Now”. Now, ‘wog’ is a humorous term: Ray Galea the senior minister at Multicultural Bible Ministry at Rooty Hill organized three annual ‘Wogs for Christ’ conferences, which I attended.
My Greek heritage mainly impacted me in my marriage to Kym, an Aussie girl. Greek culture is patriarchal, and my Dad was very patriarchal — I took that patriarchal attitude into our marriage and that quickly resulted in a ‘clash of cultures’! It took me some time to readjust that patriarchal attitude. Occasionally it still rears its head, and I have to deal with it.
How did this shape your passion for refugee and immigrants?
Growing up in a Greek family in Australia, being in a cross-cultural marriage and hearing accounts of the racism my mother’s family experienced as immigrants in Australia helped me appreciate some of the struggles that refugees and immigrants face trying to make a new life in a foreign country.
As part of my studies at SMBC, I also met some Iranians through one of the members of the Sydney Refugee Team, a non-denominational Christian organization with which Jericho Road partners. I attended a couple of Iranian Christian services and I felt an immediate emotional connection with Iranian people.
It’s so important for refugees and immigrants to improve their English skills and gain an understanding of Australian culture. That’s a motivating factor for Kym and me teaching Easy English at our church, Blacktown East Presbyterian. We view it as a ministry of mercy with gospel opportunity.
Above all what has shaped my passion for refugees and immigrants is the Bible’s command to love our neighbour, which is illustrated by Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
I find it deeply satisfying to see fellow Christians embrace the Bible’s teaching on loving our foreign neighbour and translating that into action.
I enjoy reaching out to refugees and immigrants and showing them the love of Christ in practical ways and taking opportunities to share Jesus with them.
As I’ve mentioned to the presbyteries and congregations that I’ve been privileged to address, God has brought the mission field (refugees and immigrants) to us here in Australia. How good is that!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I enjoy going to the Blue Mountains with Kym, birdwatching, listening to music and reading. I also enjoy watching cricket with my daughter and rugby and rugby league with my son.