Thursday Main Stage


From Homer’s Iliad to Homer Simpson; The West is Crying out for Stories that Feed the Soul

Rev Richard Pengelley

Human beings seem to be deeply connected to stories. Open with the words, “Once upon a time”, to any group of people of any age and you will have their attention. From the way our brains are wired to the way we make sense of the world, stories feed us in a way that transcends factual data. In this presentation I will draw on my experiences as a parent and grandparent reading to loved ones; as a priest, using ancient myth to make meaning in a modern world; and as a service learning facilitator guiding debrief sessions into stories to make sense out of poverty and suffering. 

About Richard

Richard graduated from UWA as a Physical Education teacher in the early 1980’s. He taught in state schools before moving to Hale, a boy’s private school, to teach PE and Religious Education. He became lay chaplain before feeling the call to the Anglican priesthood after dealing with a number of tragedies. After 15 years at Hale he became the Rector of a vibrant parish and then moved back to UWA as a residential college chaplain, lecturer in Sport Science and Sub-Dean Community. Once again, he felt called to go back into education and became Director of Service Learning and Leadership at Christ Church Grammar School. His next move was to be installed as the Dean of St George’s Cathedral before returning to his educational roots in his current position as Chaplain of St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School. He is also Chaplain to the WA Institute of Sport and an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health at UWA.

Richard is a dual Olympian and world championship player in the sport of water polo. He has been a sports commentator and had a regular social commentary spot on commercial radio. He has been a presenter, MC and advisor to the Positive Schools Initiative since 2011. He has been a leader in WA in the men’s health movement, justice for asylum seekers and refugees, environmental issues, inter faith and ecumenical initiatives and the ‘Yes’ movement during the recent marriage vote. He is married to a teacher and two of his adult children are teachers.