BA, BAHons, PhD
Professor Mayer is internationally recognised for her research on early Christian preaching and in particular on the life and preaching of the famous late-antique Antiochene priest and Constantinopolitan bishop, John Chrysostom. She is, additionally, attracting international attention for her work on the mechanisms that drive religious conflict and violence in both past and present.
She is the recipient of 6 ARC grants to date, 3 of which are for collaborative projects. The most recent, in partnership with the Lutheran Church of Australia and Prof. Sarah Wendt, Flinders University, explores the role of Australian Lutheran theology and religious belief in male perpetration of domestic violence. Prof. Mayer sits on a number of editorial boards of journals and book series. These include new series developed with the publishers Brill (Critical Approaches to Early Christianity) and Brill Schoeningh (Patristics Studies in Global Perspective). In November 2019 she was elected for 3 years to the position of head of the Religion Section of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
In her role as Dean of Research Strategy at the University of Divinity, Professor Mayer is responsible for helping to develop higher level research skills training and helping to build research strategy across the University’s colleges. This is an extension of her role as Associate Dean for Research at Australian Lutheran College, where she has been employed since 2017 to support research students, foster a research culture, and identify and conduct denominationally relevant research projects. In her own research, she continues to work with her primary area of interest, early Christian preaching, while increasingly focusing on research related to the nexus between spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing, as well as her research on religious conflict and violence. Recent projects she is conducting for the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand concern the challenge of sustaining worship in multi-point parishes in a way that is mission-focused, and a long-term study of church worker wellbeing.
Professor Mayer’s career is research focused. Prior to 2017, she spent some 25 years at Australian Catholic University as a researcher, collaborating closely with Prof. Pauline Allen, Dr Geoffrey Dunn, and Dr Bronwen Neil (now Professor at Macquarie University) in the former Centre for Early Christian Studies.
Professor Mayer is an active member of both the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She served on the Australian Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue for 10 years (1995-2004) and while living in the US (2006-2016) chaired the steering committee of the Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies in Washington, DC, and co-led or assisted with wellness programs for homeless and low income women, including development of a craft cooperative. She edits the Lutheran Theological Journal for the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand, and recently served on the Key Definitions Issues Analysis Group for the Constitution Review being conducted by the church, assessing terms associated with theology and doctrine.