The Presbyterian Church of Australia in NSW has committed to the Breaking the Silence policy, procedures and Code of Conduct. We want everyone to be safe. All our leaders (including program leaders and helpers) and staff hold current Breaking the Silence (Safe Church) training and Working With Children Checks.
OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM (ELDERS)
Ian Coutts (Elder)
Ian is a primary school teacher and has recently completed studies in Christian mentoring, as well as pastoral supervision. He is married to Jill, his amazing wife, and they have three children; Toby, Joshua and Amelia. Ian enjoys time outdoors, with friends and family and participating in sport when he can.
At times Ian is tempted to lose heart when the brokenness and hardship that’s continually evident in the world (and at times in his own life) fills his mind. But thankfully God reminds Ian to instead keep looking to Jesus who has “…overcome the world” (John 16:33) and because He is our help – “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2).
Ian loves to see people transformed by God’s love in Christ. From new believers right through to those who have loved Jesus for many years, who continue to grow in their thankfulness and love for God and show out His love to His people.
Scott Herd (Elder)
Watching things grow has been Scott’s lifetime vocation. As a horticulturist for decades, he has been watching plants grow and as a parent alongside his wife Bronwyn, they have watched their four children grow and produce a crop of 11 grandchildren.
Scott doesn’t lose heart by knowing Jesus intercedes for us and nothing can separate us
from the love of God (Romans 8).
At SCPC, Scott loves seeing the teamwork of his Gospel Community when they’re serving the youth and church family at events by cooking and serving meals. He is thankful for the godly evangelical Christian leaders we have here in Australia and he also enjoys the wisdom and clarity of international leaders like Tim and Kathy Keller and Paul Carter, the host of ‘Into the Word’ podcasts.
Jon Mison (Elder)
Jon has been at Southern Cross for a number of years and is the father of three adult children. He enjoys pottering around in the garden and walking along the beach looking out over the ocean.
Dwelling too much on himself is not good for Jon but focussing on Jesus through God’s word, prayer and good Christian music are great ways for him to not lose heart.
It is a joy for Jon to be part of a Gospel Community, being able to share together in both the bigger significant events and also in the everyday little things to get to know and love others more deeply.
Tim and Kathy Keller’s book, “My Rock; My Refuge, A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms” was a great encouragement for Jon, exploring the comfort that can only come from God through Jesus.
Wayne Brooks (Elder)
Wayne is married to Adelle and they have a bunch of kids and grandkids. He loves to do most things outdoors – fishing, four wheel driving, and cooking around a campfire whilst camping somewhere remotely in the bush are at the top of his list.
Although Wayne is generally pretty positive, he’s not immune to loosing heart. He has seen God work through many and varied situations in ways that he just marvels and praises God for. So, when Wayne in the thick of it, he just quietens his mind, prays to our great God, and hands it over to Him. He then feels God’s peace as he stops striving to do it himself and let Him.
Wayne loves his Gospel Community – their diversity, their passion for Jesus and for seeing the Gospel proclaimed. He loves that even though this is most often difficult, they persevere for the Gospel, each other, and for the world’s sake, because of Jesus.
Wayne loves Christian leaders who clearly love Jesus and are bold for Him. He is partially the product of one such man, who about 45 years ago challenged Wayne to start getting serious for Jesus. The trajectory of Wayne’s life changed from then – praise be to God and for strong Christian leaders!
OUR STAFF TEAM
Stew Playsted: Vision, Leadership and Community Pastor
Stew is the Vision, Leadership and Community Pastor at Southern Cross. In this role, Stew leads our staff team and is the chairperson of our Leadership Team (elders) and our Committee of Management. In his role as Community Pastor, he aims to provide resourcing, training and mentoring particularly to our Vision Coordinators who lead our Gospel Communities. Stew has a huge passion to see the precious gospel entrusted to the next generation of Christian leaders. Following this passion, he oversees the leadership development and ministry to our young adults and provides ministry supervision to the staff at SCPC who drive our ministry to kids.
Regionally, Stew serves on the executive of the Northern Rivers Presbytery, heading up its training and resourcing. In 2023 he will also serve as the Interim Moderator of Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Wollongbar.
Stew enjoys leading a Gospel Community (GC) with his wife Susan and teaching the kids in his GC the wonder of prayer and backyard cricket. When Stew is tempted to lose heart, he realigns his vision to Jesus’ call to take up his cross daily, knowing his father God will meet all his needs in Christ. For fun, Stew loves sports and will try his hand at most things. He can also be found visiting a local Park Run on Saturdays.
Stew is married to Susan, and has three fascinating kids (and perhaps some chickens sometime soon). Over the last ten years, Stew has been encouraged by three Tims – Tim Keller, Tim Chester and Tim Dyer from Johnmark Extension in Tasmania.
James Ritchie: Preaching and Mission Pastor
Ritchie leads our preaching ministry and Sunday gatherings. He longs to see people grow in their love for God as they hear, and are nourished by, His word. Ritchie is also passionate about our church reaching people with the good news of Jesus, and he oversees our local and global mission strategy.
Ritchie is currently also providing oversight and support to Southern Cross Goonellabah, as well as mentoring Cameron Bryant during his ministry apprenticeship.
The thing that helps Ritchie not lose heart in the Christian life is… Jesus. Being reminded of, and continually refocusing on Jesus is exactly what Ritchie needs to keep him going. He also deeply treasures Christian relationships and the way that being part of a Gospel Community impacts his own life.
His favourite Christian author is Michael Reeves, and he loves the way Reeves’ books have helped him genuinely know and enjoy God better.
Ritchie is married to Jasmin and they have two young kids who are a source of much joy and fun. Ritchie likes cricket, touch footy, novels and historical documentaries on YouTube. He is also a very keen, and very ordinary, surfer.
Cameron Bryant – Ministry Apprentice
Cameron is a full-time MTS apprentice at SCPC for 2023-24. He is 22 years old and has a background in dairy farming. As an MTS apprentice, he will be involved in some study and training as he coordinates our Youth team here at SCPC. Cameron will be training and growing as he takes on this role as an apprentice with Ritchie as his mentor. As he grows and learns throughout this year, Cameron will be striving to not lose heart as he relies on God as his comforter, counsellor and saviour.
Cameron is part of the Henderson Gospel Community and loves spending time in God’s word with them in their weekly Bible studies. He enjoys most sports – rugby and cricket in particular, as well as fishing and board games. Cameron is engaged to Jess and will be getting married in April, so 2023 is full of lots of exciting changes for him!
There are two Christian leaders who have influenced Cameron most throughout his life. One of whom is Ray Galea, author of “From Here to Eternity” as he enjoys his books and preaching, especially on Romans 8. And he has also been influenced by the late John Stott, an English Evangelical preacher and Pastor.
Cameron is excited and eager to serve God this year!
Peita Patch – Ministry Coordinator
Peita works Tuesday – Thursday in the office and you can find her doing all sorts of tasks in order to support our staff team and ministries, prepare for Sunday gatherings, facilitate the use of our Park Ave premises, and really whatever else needs doing to keep our ministry activities and office running as smoothly as possible. What she has learned over the past twelve months is that there is no normal!
Peita also serves our church family as the Music Ministry Leader and has a deep love for seeing the message of Christ dwell richly in God’s people through song. She is greatly encouraged by hearing her church family singing praises to, and of, our sure and steady anchor – Jesus. Peita especially loves it when people share what they’ve been listening to with her.
In order to not lose heart, Peita finds the most encouragement by hearing other peoples’ stories – whether that be in person, by reading books like For the Joy: 21 Missionary Mother Stories of Real Life & Faith, and by reading from God’s word (particularly the example set by the apostle Paul). She is so thankful that God reveals His character, and His great love and care for us through these stories, that she is able, in her brokenness, to take heart and press on. Peita loves doing life with her Gospel Community and has been especially encouraged by the women she meets with for DNA each week.
Peita finds encouragement and refreshment through playing and singing Christian music (and also 90’s classics – loudly, and preferably in the car), spending time and having laughs with her precious family of husband Scott and three high school-aged boys, and attempting to grow things in the garden.
Eliza Faulkner – Kids Coordinator
Eliza works Tuesdays and Wednesdays as the Kids Coordinator. Her ministry role includes writing a gospel-centred children’s program each week with various activities and teaching times based on the Bible passage that week. She works closely with Jason Faulkner the Kids Team Leader to lead our team and kids in gospel maturity.
Eliza is married to Brent and when at home you will probably see her having tea with friends and family, reading a good book, watching Netflix with Brent to switch off, or dabbling in arts and crafts.
Gospel Community life has brought much richness, enjoyment and encouragement to Eliza and she now serves as a Vision Coordinator at Goonellabah alongside Brent and Steve Tilley.
Eliza has been influenced by various Christian books, and authors such as Jen Wilkin, over her life but mostly by Christian relationships that have fostered, grown and matured her. It has been these relationships, as well as continual quiet time that have helped (and will continue to help) her not to lose heart in the year to come.“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” Hebrews 6:19-20.
Jason Faulkner – Kids Coordinator
Jason is the Kids Team Leader at SCPC consisting of a half-day on Wednesday and also Sunday mornings. He encourages and inspires the Kids Team to create little followers of Jesus. Jason works closely with Eliza to deliver a clear, godly message to the younger generations at Southern Cross.
Jason is greatly encouraged by seeing people teach younger people about the gospel and looks forward to seeing that generation grow in their maturity and teach future generations the same message: that Jesus alone saves.
Jason is married to Hannah and has three wonderful children; Emily, Lydia and Flynn. Jason enjoys pottering around the garden and taking care of his beehives (and eating the produce too).
Jason is consistently reminded of the image of the disciples being on the boat, a storm raging around them and being terrified (Mark 4). Jesus then calms the storm. This passage helps Jason to marvel at the creator of the world and the works of His hands and reminds him that he can cast all his fears on Him.
Jillian Coutts – Administration Assistant
Jillian serves at SCPC as an Administration Assistant on Fridays. In her role at SCPC, Jillian predominantly provides administration assistance to Stew in his role as one of the Pastors at SCPC, though also assists in other areas such as finance and event planning. Jillian is married to Ian, and they have three awesome children. Jillian is also an Early Childhood Teacher three days a week.
Jillian and Ian lead a Gospel Community in sharing life together as they seek to encourage one another as followers of Jesus. They do this by gathering for meals, meeting together weekly in DNA groups and planning fun activities to do together. Jillian loves observing the cross-generational relationships that form within their GC.
Jillian tries not to lose heart by returning to God’s word again and again for refreshment and comfort in the promises that God has made. Another way she does this is by listening to Christian music which helps her meditate on the Word of God and commit it to memory. She is also trying to read more Christian books and has recently found renewal and encouragement in Gentle and Lowly, and Deeper, both by Dane Ortlund and is planning to read all the SCPC book club books for the year with the accountability and encouragement from some women in her GC.
Jillian finds enjoyment and refreshment with people, especially over a meal, hanging out with her family, and spending time slowing down in God’s magnificent creation, usually at the beach, or with a good book and a hammock!
Gabby Allen – Sunday Logistics
Gabby serves as the Sunday coordinator for our gatherings and throughout the week she is studying Primary teaching. Gabby loves sharing time with friends, having meaningful chats and finds rest reading Christian life books at the beach.
Gabby is also involved in serving our youth on Friday nights and loves getting to watch them grow in knowledge of, and love for, Jesus. Through this ministry, she has had the privilege of catching up with some of the most courageous evangelists at Southern Cross Presbyterian Church. Gabby also enjoys the time spent with her Gospel Community where she is reminded of the unity found in Christ as she relates to people from all walks of life that make up her GC.
When Gabby is tempted to lose heart she needs time to take her eyes off herself and fix her eyes on Jesus. In these times God reminds Gabby of his faithfulness to her and provides her with the strength to persevere in him. God has influenced Gabby through the works of many Christian authors and leaders such as Charles Spurgeon, Jackie Hill Perry, Paul David Tripp, Dane Ortland, and Rico Tice.