Faculty & Staff
Faculty members at Stirling won’t just help you graduate, they will help you learn and grow.
Stirling’s primary resource is its people. Our faculty exists to assist students to learn not only through their chosen course, but over their lifetime. Stirling faculty members have displayed an integration of spiritual nurture, biblical and theological understandings, and leadership in a number of ministry settings. They have developed expertise in their own discipline, and maintain close contact with local churches and State Conferences. Each faculty member is available to students to assist them on their learning journey.
Stirling maintains a policy of providing periodical leave so that faculty can engage in continuing research and competence in their fields of specialisation. Stirling’s close association with faculty from the other colleges of the University of Divinity has led to shared research opportunities, and the broadening of our faculty’s biblical and theological understanding.
Adjunct faculty at Stirling also bring skills developed through their professional life, and their involvement in local churches. Many of our adjunct lecturers and tutors are ministers and leaders in authentic, professional contexts.
Andrew brings over 25 years of leadership experience from a range to contexts to teaching, supervision and research at Stirling. He has served in large, small, rural, urban and multi-cultural settings. He has also contributed in various leadership and governance roles including as chairperson with Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH) and Eastern College Australia. He is Deputy-Chancellor of the University of Divinity and a Board member of Initiate Australia. He regularly publishes and is currently completing a book on emerging forms of mission in Australia. Andrew is vitally interested in the formation and development of all people for integral and holistic leadership and influence.
Merryl was a registered nurse for 20 years and a youth minister for three years, much of which was concurrent with studying theology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Merryl enjoys introducing people to the wonderful complexities of the Hebrew Bible, in which the struggles and joys of everyday existence are brought into conversation with faith in a God who is totally involved in our existence. Merryl is a past President of the Conference of Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania. She also is a minister at Hartwell Church of Christ.
Stephen J Curkpatrick
LTh, MTh, GradDipEd (Religious Studies), MA, PhD
Lecturer in Christian Theology and Academic Dean
Stephen is a lecturer in Christian Theology. He is also the Academic Dean at Stirling and teaches annually at the Churches of Christ Theological College (STTJKI), Indonesia. Stephen has had previous Churches of Christ ministries in Salisbury East (SA), Papua New Guinea, Epping (NSW) and Brighton (SA).
Cert Theol, BTheol (Hons), MTh, DTh
Lecturer in Systematic Theology and Mission and Director of Online Learning
Originally from South Africa, Brian came to Melbourne to lead Connection Church of Christ in 2008. Following this ministry he was appointed a senior lecturer in theology at Tabor College Victoria. He is now the director of online learning at Stirling Theological College. His doctorate was in Practical Theology and Missiology at the University of Stellenbosch. His recent book Postfoundationalist reflections in Practical Theology explores the nature of theological reflection within practical theology in light of a changing world. He is interested in the practical connection between faith and life and its impact for the church in its cultural context.
With over 20 years of experience in ministry, Penny currently directs the Field Education program, teaches ministry studies and is on the teaching team for the Catalyst program. She is passionate about the value of ministry and leadership formation in contemporary culture, is presently undertaking a Doctoral program at Fuller Theological Seminary in the United States, is married to Geoff and has one awesome little boy.
Tim has had a wide experience in Christian ministry: He worked with Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor in the slums of Manila, Philippines for 8 years before pastoring 2 churches in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Through his role as reconciliation co-ordinator at the WellSpring Centre, he foundered and directed a successful inter-religious schools program called “Building Bridges in Schools” for 14 years, and runs workshops for refugees and trauma survivors called “Healing Steps”. His two doctorates investigated his lived experience in Manila and the Building bridges program, spanning fields of Spirituality, Theology, Culture and Education. Tim is married to Mary and enjoys walking in nature, photography, reading and accompanying people in spiritual direction. He has been on the faculty of Stirling since 2002.
Alan A Niven
BA (Hons), BD, DipEd, DipMin, MSocSci (Family Studies), PhD
Director of Research and Professional Development
Alan came to Australia from England where he had trained as a languages teacher, met and married Chris, and stayed. He studied four years COB/CCTC in Melbourne, and was ordained. He and Chris then ministered at Werribee, a new church plant. Alan was invited to commence a new church on the relocated College site at Mulgrave, where he also taught part-time in practical ministry areas. He then became the full-time lecturer in Pastoral and Family Studies. His teaching covers: pastoral formation; pastoral care and counselling; marriage and family studies; grief and loss; violence and abuse; sustainable and safe ministry practice and supervision.
Ange has 20 years experience in teaching biblical studies in secondary and tertiary educational and pastoral contexts. She is most passionate about seeing individuals and communities empowered to understand the Bible and be equipped in applying it to their lives. Angela is married to Jay, with two extraordinary children. She is completing a PhD in the area of Isaiah, exile and post-church Australia.
CertSD, AdvDipMin, BTheol, MQual, DTheol
Lecturer in Pastoral Theology & Spiritual Care
Chris has a Doctor of Theology from the University of Divinity in the area of Theology and Australian Culture and brings a wonderful combination of experiences in Spiritual Direction, Chaplaincy, Teaching, Organisational Leadership, Community Development, Communication and also as a Senior Minister.
Having worked in the corporate world for a decade, Belinda brings both administration and ministry experience to her role as Director of Operations. More recently she was part of a cross-cultural mission agency, and also spent five years in young adult ministry within Churches of Christ. She is passionate about the integration of faith and life, whatever the cultural context.
She is currently completing a B.Theol, and also travels as much as possible.
John was a business proprietor and retailer before studying theology. He is a graduate of the Adelaide College of Divinity, Flinders University and Monash University. John was ordained in the Grote Street Church of Christ (Adelaide) and he has had ministries at Maylands (SA) and Box Hill (Vic). For John studying theology is a way of grappling with the biggest and most important questions. John sees his role as inviting people to follow the desire to go deeper and discover more: “Take the next step. It’s very stimulating and rewarding.”
Originally from Holland, Art lived most of his life in South Africa with his wife and their three children. He qualified as a clinical psychologist and took up a university position before joining the Centre for Community Development in the mid 1980’s to help prepare South Africans for democracy and to address the psychological impact of Apartheid oppression on people’s lives. He came to Australia to work with Tabor, Victoria (Eastern College Australia) where he broadened and deepened his experience in the training and preparing of professional counselors through higher education.
Art enjoys collaborating with students in their personal growth on their journey towards becoming professional counselors. He is interested in the connections between psychology, counseling, faith/theology, and society and in respectful cross-cultural collaboration.
MA (Theol) GradDip Bereavement Counselling, AdvDip Applied Systems Theory & Family Therapy, AssDip Arts (Welfare), VAFT
Chaplain and Pastoral support
Glynnis has worked in a variety of settings including Primary Education, Community Health, Paediatric Palliative Care and her local church. She has enjoyed sharing life’s challenges and joys with adults, children, families and groups as an accredited family therapist, loss and grief counsellor, supervisor and pastoral carer. Glynnis worked for Very Special Kids for 10 years, a notfor-profit organisation supporting families of children with life-threatening illnesses. During this time she furthered her professional studies in loss and grief, theology and spirituality.
Antonella joined the faculty as part time librarian in 2009. She worked for many years in both corporate libraries (World Vision Australia) and public libraries (Monash Public Library). Antonella brings a diverse range of experience to the world of higher education libraries. Her focus is to help all students explore and fully utilise the wealth of resources available to them.
Sarah is a graduate of Monash University (Arts) and the University of Divinity (Theology) and is a classroom and online tutor in the discipline of Christian Theology at Stirling. Sarah has undertaken significant research on GR Stirling’s Page 13 publications. Sarah has a long association with the Frankston Church of Christ.
B.Mus. Ed, MDiv (Hons), PhD (cand)
Lecturer in Ministry with Children specialising in Biblical Studies
Beth is undertaking doctoral studies in the area of New Testament, examining the constructs of maturity in Paul’s letters. She has held pastoral roles in Baptist and Anglican churches and been a long term volunteer at Scripture Union, where she is a freelance resource writer and trainer. She is also a writer and facilitator in the Child Theology Movement. Her teaching, public speaking and consulting are auspiced by the Victorian Council of Christian Education, in a role championing theological engagement.
Having grown up in Churches of Christ, resided at The College of the Bible and served in numerous
churches throughout Sydney and Melbourne, Amanda brings a love for our unique church movement.
Alongside this involvement, she has worked for over 14 years within the not for profit sector in the area of office administration.
These two passions, along with a love for people, perfectly combine in the position of Receptionist at Stirling.
Amanda loves spending time with family, playing with her grandsons and curling up with a good book by the fire.
BMus Hons, PhD, MPhil candidate
Tutor in Christian Theology; Curator, Hindmarsh Research Centre
Sam Curkpatrick is a music performance Honours graduate (Monash), with further training at the Australian National Academy of Music, and has a doctorate in ethnomusicology (ANU, Canberra). Sam is the inaugural curator of the Hindmarsh Research Centre, which gives focus to Churches of Christ memory, identity, mission and ministry; he is the Vic-Tas Partnership Coordinator with GMP. Sam is an online tutor in the discipline of Christian Theology at Stirling.
Mary is a qualified psychologist specialising in family and relationship counselling. She is the Director of Southway Counselling Centre (a ministry of the Southern Community Church of Christ). She teaches at Stirling and the Cairnmillar Institute, as well as working in private practice. Mary is also trained as a family dispute resolution practitioner.
Mick comes out of ‘three worlds’. The first is that of a local church, where he serves as a pastor in one of NZ’s more complex neighbourhoods. Second, he comes out of the world of of discipleship and mercy that takes in all manner of people. Third, he comes out of an external world, where he is engaged in speaking, lecturing and writing. His books include: Move Out, Costly Mission, Who Stands Fast, Wild Ones and Alongsiders. Mick’s PhD is titled, “The Moral Pathway Toward the Stranger in the Life and Thought of John Wesley.” His experience as a practitioner means Mick brings wisdom and tools for ministry and mission to the classroom.
John is uniquely qualified in the area of mission. He has ministered in churches in South Australia and Victoria, and spent 10 years as Director of Mission and Ministry for Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania. He is now the Executive Director of Global Mission Partners, which supports mission in 11 countries from Fiji to Zimbabwe to Indigenous Australia. For John, the missional imagination of the early church was ignited by the life and teachings of Jesus. He is interested in exploring the New Testament evidence of this life-changing evangelical movement, and the ways in which we might continue to be true to the Great Commission today.
BA/BTheol, AMusA, MA, PhD (cand)
Lecturer in Churches of Christ Identity and Early Church History
Kerrie is a historian with a deep and abiding interest in the people, practices and ideas of Australian Nonconformist churches. She researches and publishes on Australian Nonconformist history and Churches of Christ with a focus on literature, art and lived faith experience. Formerly a music teacher, educational administrator, editor, and Honorary Historian for the Conference of Churches of Christ, Kerrie is currently Treasurer of the Religious History Association.
Cert IV TAA, ONC Mining&Mech Eng, HNC Mech Eng, DipBC, CertRK, MA (Missiology), PhD
Lecturer in Missiology
Les was a mining mechanical engineer in a former lifetime. He is one of Australia’s most respected missiologists, with 40 years of mission experience in Scotland, West Papua and Australia. He worked with World Team in West Papua for 20 years doing church planting and anthropological research. Les graduated with an MA in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a PhD from Monash University focusing on Melanesian contextual theology. He is passionate about mentoring people, understanding and discovering different worldviews, contextualisation, and grappling with issues of gospel and culture in western society.
With over 20 years experience in ministry (predominantly with youth and developing communities), Amit currently co-directs the Catalyst Program. He is currently completing his MA(Th) through Stirling and works with Youth Vision in WA as their Leadership Developer and Scholarship Co-ordinator at Initiate Australia.
As a secondary school teacher, Sue developed a particular interest in Christian schooling which she expressed not only through her teaching but also as an engaged Board member. Her passion for God’s Word led her to undertake theological studies, where she was captivated by reading the text in the original Greek. Her delight in the theological insights gained through studying Greek is something that she seeks to pass on to students. Sue is undertaking Doctoral Studies in Greek at Australian Catholic University, investigating the significance of the middle voice in the text of the New Testament.
BEd, BTh, MA (Philosophy and Religion), MA (Creative Arts Therapy), MA (Theology), PhD
Lecturer in Spirituality and Ministry with Children
Vivienne has a wide background in education at all levels. As well as lecturing, Vivienne leads parenting groups with LifeWorks and is in private practice as a Clinical Counsellor for children and families. Her doctoral thesis investigated the meaning and purpose of prayer for children, which has led to recognising the innate spiritual giftedness of children. Her book, Children and the Church: Jesus Brings the Child to a Place in the Middle, explores this concept. Her main concern is that the Christian faith community develops further in the nurture and protection of children.
Toni Nguyen says that her research into the concept of grace in John’s Gospel was both exciting and challenging. She finds that the New Testament is forever a witness to the love of God, which invokes a response in those who have ears to hear. Toni attends the Uniting Church at Mitcham, and has been in ministry with young people at the Vietnamese Evangelical Church in Springvale.
BSc, Grad Dip Ed, Grad Dip School & Community, Master Grief & Palliative Care Counselling
PhD Lecturer in Pastoral Studies
Heather has a background in education, research, spiritual care and counselling with a particular focus on palliative care. She has taught in tertiary institutions at the post-graduate level in these areas. She also has more than eight years experience in research in the above areas at two major universities. At Spiritual Health Victoria, where she has worked since April 2014, she is the Manager of Education and Research, which includes teaching tertiary programs in pastoral care and supervising ongoing professional development programs. At Stirling, Heather lectures in end-of-life care, and pastoral and spiritual care in multifaith settings.
Allison is the University of Divinity CPE Liaison Officer working with students, Colleges and ASPEA Centre Directors to facilitate the teaching and accreditation of clinical pastoral education (CPE). Allison is also the Director of the Department of Pastoral Care & Education at Austin Health. She is accredited by ASPEA Inc., as a Clinical Pastoral Educator. Allison is a member of the Registration and Certification Committee of ASPEA Inc., and Chair of Spiritual Health Victoria’s Education and Research Committee.