News Release

Church Hosts National Families Week Community Events and Presents Awards 

National Families Week is an Australian government sponsored initiative of Families Australia, held annually from 15 to 21 May to celebrate the vital role of families in society. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has again supported National Families Week, hosting free community events and presenting the 2016 Victorian Family Values Awards.

Dr Justin Coulson, a parenting expert, author and speaker was the keynote presenter at a parenting event held in Wyndham. Dr Coulson has a PhD in psychology and has written journal articles, scholarly book chapters and several books about parenting including the recently released book, 21 Days to a Happier Family, which was the theme of this community event open to the public. He is member of the Church and an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne. He also works with the government’s Office of Children’s e-Safety, Beyond Blue, Raising Children Network, Life Education and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. He is featured on the parenting website,, and regularly appears in the media.

The parenting event was opened by Cr Bob Fairclough from Wyndham City Council who spoke on the theme “stronger families, stronger communities” and commended members of the Church who play an important part in strengthening the local community.

Wyndham: left to right: Stake President Anthony Parton, Dr Justin Coulson, Cr Bob Fairclough and Yvette Barnes at the National Families Week event held in Wyndham, in Melbourne’s west.

Family Values Awards

In Heidelberg the Church hosted another community event titled "The Creeping Tide of Pornography: Keeping our Homes and Children Safe," again presented by Dr Coulson.  At this event, three Victorian community leaders were recognised with Family Values Awards.

The Church presents these awards to community leaders who have made outstanding contributions to support traditional families and reinforce the importance of the family unit in society.

The 2016 Victorian recipients of the award are

Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC, Member for Western Metropolitan in Victoria’s Parliament. Rachel is a strong and courageous voice for family values in the Parliament, standing for human dignity and the common good. She has 20 years’ experience in welfare and holds a PhD in social sciences. 

Terri Kelleher, Victorian President, National Spokesperson and past National President of the Australian Family Association. Terri is a former lawyer, who has now dedicated her life to protecting and strengthening traditional families through engaging with political and community leaders.

Peter Stevens, Victorian Director of FamilyVoice Australia, former President of the Family Council of Victoria and Christian pastor. Peter and his wife, Diane, are a driving force behind a national initiative to protect children from pornography.

Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC said “It was honour to receive the Family Values Award. I have always believed in fighting for families and for people in vulnerable situations.  Being a Christian MP can be a tough job with little support. To be recognised in this way is amazing – it’s a real encouragement.”

Heidelberg: Members of the Church with the recipients of the 2016 Family Values Awards for Victoria. Left to right: David Cray (Director of Church Public Affairs in Victoria), Peter Stevens (Victorian Director FamilyVoice) and  his wife Diane, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins MLC (Victorian Member of Parliament Western Region), Terri Kelleher (Victorian Director and National Spokesperson Australian Family Association) Stephen Vereker (Senate Candidate for Democratic Labour Party), President Anthony Parton (Wyndham Stake), Dr Justin Coulson (parenting expert and author).  

The Church believes that the family is central of God's plan of happiness for His children and believes that strong families are vital for the well-being of society.  

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