Our Leaders

All SCPC Leaders and Staff have completed Safe Church training.

OUR ELDERS

Stew Playsted: Pastor

Stew leads the staff team at Southern Cross, also leading as Chairperson for our Leadership Team and Committee of Management. Stew feels so blessed to have such humble, competent and enthusiastic leaders to serve alongside. Stew is a proud Lismoron and loves/hates jogging the streets of ‘Lovemore’ but ideally finishing his exercise routine with a coffee from one of Lovemore’s cafes.

Stew loves growing Christian leaders who are humble and hungry to grow as followers of Jesus. He has a passion to see Gospel Communities planted and multiplied that the love of God might overflow in this city. He believes the next generation is vital and must be invested in to ensure the gospel can safely and vibrantly be passed on. He aims to do this by feeding young adults food, trying to stay somewhat fit and keeping up with the music of the culture.

Stew has learned to love through his beautiful wife Susan, who is safe, stable and reliable. Though he never met the late John Stott, pastor of All Souls Langham Place, London, Stew is struck by how John, a brilliant person with a gifted mind, learnt that humility and service were the secret to love. He’ll let John speak for himself: If you insist on holding onto yourself, and on living for yourself, and refuse to let go of yourself, you will lose yourself. But if you are willing to give yourself away in love, then, at the moment of complete abandon, when you imagine everything is lost, the miracle takes place, and you find yourself and your freedom.

Matt Crosthwaite: Southern Cross Goonellabah (SCG) Pastor

Matt loves to work on a project, fixing or modifying something mechanical.

Sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always learning. What Matt loves more than a project is catching up with friends over a coffee or cold drink (even better if it’s in the shed) talking about the world, our place in it and the amazing love of God.

When it comes to the speed of love, Matt’s prayer is that he and his church family will wisely manage busy schedules and the hustle and bustle of life, to love each other and the world with the love that we’ve been shown by Jesus.

What Matt loves about his church family is seeing the love of Christ grow in the people of God. Seeing their love for God’s word develop and their desire to care for others bearing fruit.

Wayne Brooks: Elder

Wayne loves working with his hands & most things outdoors. Four wheel driving, cooking around a campfire, whilst camping somewhere remotely in the bush, are at the top of his list. Fishing is also at the top of the things he likes to do. He also likes chilling with family or friends to watch a good movie.

Wayne realises that he needs to slow down. He realises that to love people well , he has to be more intentional with meeting and spending time with them.

Wayne loves his Church family, he loves the diversity, he loves their passion for Jesus and for seeing the Gospel proclaimed. He loves that they all treat each other, with patience, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, grace and love. Wayne loves that even though this is most often difficult, he loves that they perservere for the Gospel, each other, and for the worlds sake, because of Jesus.

Ian Coutts: Elder

Ian loves Jesus, God’s amazing word, his wife, Jill, and his three children. Ian also loves to enjoy God’s creation, time with family and friends, a good coffee in the morning and a good laugh.

When it comes to the speed of love, Ian is challenged because increasingly, he’s seeing that it’s good when it’s slow because it can give time for conversation, for sharing life with others, not being rushed, for loving others in highs and lows. It’s exactly what God has done for Ian.

What Ian loves about his church family is that it loves God and His word, seeks to love each other and to share God’s love with the world. 

Scott Herd: Elder

Scott loves spending time in the outdoors appreciating creation. Slowing down from the usual pace of life.

Scott loves being with his immediate and extended family chasing after grandkids.

Scott particularly loves his church family, seeing the uniqueness and special privilege of being in community with a diverse group of people, loved by God, journeying together with his Spirit and seeking to make Jesus known through his word.

Scott would love to invest time in getting to know people better to hear their stories.
 

David Kemsley: Elder

David loves spending time with fam & friends, one-wheeling, camping and writing software.
 
The speed of love gives time to listen, spends time in prayer and still has time in the margins.
 
What David loves about our church family is our diversity in backgrounds – cultural, political and spiritual – yet there’s a real and evident unity in the saving and sanctifying work of Jesus.

Jon Mison: Elder

Jon loves to spend time enjoying God’s amazing creation, whether walking beside the ocean watching the power of the waves, meandering around the garden looking at its beauty, or surveying the scene from a lookout with the majestic tapestry of mountains, clouds , rivers, fields and forests.

He would like to spend more time this year thinking deeply about God’s word, how it applies to his life and to the contacts he has with people, taking the challenge of prayerfully assessing activities he is involved with as to their usefulness for the kingdom and making the necessary adjustments.

Jon loves that his church family is committed to good bible teaching, showing love to and serving other church family members, and desiring to be part of the mission of sharing the good news of Jesus with the community in Lismore and beyond.

OUR STAFF TEAM

James Ritchie: Families Pastor

James (or “Ritchie” as he’s best known) is the Families Pastor at Southern Cross, leading the youth and young adults ministries at Southern Cross. He’s married to Jasmin, and they have a four year old daughter and two year old son.
 
While studying at uni in Lismore, Ritchie came to know the astonishing love of God in the death of Jesus. It was a life-turning, upside-down sort of experience for him, and he began to see God and the world in a whole new way. Almost immediately, an urgent desire grew in him to share the good news of Jesus and his love with others. 
 
Since that time, he’s studied at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, served as a pastor in Hobart and now is back in Lismore, ready for the next season that God has in store. 
 
Ritchie’s a very keen but very poor surfer. He loves touch football, cricket, exploring new places, fantasy novels and sci-fi tv shows. 
 
His favourite author is Michael Reeves, who has helped Ritchie know what it means for God to be Father and helped him to both rejoice and tremble before the loving Father God. 

Eliza Faulkner: Kids Coordinator / MTS Apprentice

Eliza is part-time completing her Ministry apprenticeship through MTS, mainly based at Southern Cross Goonellabah and part-time serving as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at SCPC.

Eliza’s ministry roles include writing a gospel centred children’s program each week, helping lead her Gospel Community, teaching SRE lessons at Goonellabah Public School, leading at Youth gatherings and doing various Women’s Ministry roles. She is also completing an Academic Studies in Theology Certificate through Christ College.

Eliza is married to Brent and they have a pet cat called Ginger who rules the house. When Eliza is at home you will probably see her drinking coffee, having tea with friends and family or watching a good Netflix show to switch off. Eliza likes to think of herself as a creative type and dabbles in crafts/painting/sewing in her spare time and will sometimes buy plants that she can’t keep alive, much to Brent’s dismay.

Eliza has been influenced by various Christian books and authors over her life but mostly the influence of Christian relationships have fostered, grown and matured her to be the Christian woman she is today.
Her prayer for 2022 is that love would build up at Southern Cross – that we would be rooted and established in love, that we may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and how long and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:17)

Peita Patch: Ministry Coordinator

Peita has just started in our Ministry Coordinator role at the start of 2022 and works Tuesday – Thursday in the office. You can find her doing all sorts of tasks in preparation for our Sunday gatherings and whatever else needs doing to keep our ministry activities and office running as smoothly as possible.  She still has lots to learn and is so very thankful for such a patient and supportive staff team and church family!

Peita 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 our Good and Gracious King and loves it when people share songs with her.

God has made Peita more and more aware of how to love well over the past couple of decades since she moved to Lismore and became part of SCPC. He has been revealing His character, and His great love for us, to Peita more and more through his word and his people. Peita is thankful for the example of servant-hearted peers, godly housemates, faithful friends and her precious family of husband Scott and three high school-aged boys.

Living at the speed of love is not always easy but Peita finds encouragement and refreshment through singing Christian music, cycling (probably more chatting than cycling if she’s honest), spending time with friends and attempting to grow things in the garden.

Jess Egan: Kids Coordinator

Jess is the Sunday kids coordinator at our Morning Gatherings in East Lismore. Jess will be working alongside Eliza to prepare and implement an engaging program to teach the kids of Southern Cross about the power of the Cross and the Speed of Love. 
 
Jess has moved to Lismore from Sydney at the beginning of 2022 and is also working as a Primary School Teacher four days a week. She is loving getting to know the area and finding new places to walk, run, read and relax!
 
God has been teaching Jess about the speed of love through recent opportunities for practicing hospitality in her new Lismore share house. She has been inspired by her recent read The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield. Jess is loving getting to meet and connect with many members of our church through both the share house and her gospel community. 

Gabby Allen: Ministry Coordinator

Gabby serves as the Sunday coordinator for our Sunday gatherings. Throughout the week Gabby is studying at university to be a Primary school teacher. Gabby loves sharing time with good friends, having meaningful chats and finds rest reading Christian life books at the beach. 

Gabby is also involved in serving the 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 youngest and most courageous evangelists at Southern Cross Presbyterian Church.

God has been teaching Gabby the speed of love through lessons in life so far. Through circumstance He has taught her to loosen her grip on the things of the world and rest knowing that Jesus has finished all things and she can find true rest in him. God has taught Gabby many things through gifted Christian authors and leaders such as Charles Spurgeon, Jackie Hill Perry, Paul David Tripp, Dane Ortland, Rico Tice and MANY more.

Jillian Coutts: Administration Assistant

Jillian serves at SCPC as an Administration Assistant on Fridays. She is married to Ian, and they have three children aged 13, 11 and 7. Jillian is also an Early Childhood Teacher three days a week. 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, preferably with a good book and a hammock! 

In her role at SCPC, Jillian provides administration assistance to Stew, specifically relating to events and week-to-week tasks that support Stew in his role as Lead Pastor. Jillian, alongside her husband Ian, leads a Gospel Community in sharing life together as they seek to encourage one another as followers of Jesus and consider the speed of love.

Throughout her life, God has taught Jillian how to love through her family, faithful friendships, and more recently through the influence of Christian leaders and authors such as John Mark Comer, Paul David Tripp, Sam Chan and Dane Ortlund. She also finds rest, renewal and encouragement through listening to Christian music, which helps her meditate on the Word of God.