Faculty & Staff
Faculty members at Stirling won’t just help you graduate, they will help you learn and grow.
Stirling Theological College faculty aren’t academics who lock themselves away in their rooms. They are passionate about raising up men and women for service and ministry. They are enthusiastic about, and involved in, local church ministry.
Our faculty who are exceptional scholars and leaders. They are dedicated to shaping and equipping Christ-centered disciples to impact the world. They are committed to equipping the whole believer to take the whole gospel to the whole world. You have access to these kinds of outstanding leaders and scholars at Stirling Theological College—and for many students, this is a life-changing experience.
Our faculty are committed to Jesus, and his gospel and kingdom mission, and to seeing students learn, thrive and grow.
Graham Joseph Hill
DipMin(Hons), Cert IV A&WT, BTheol, PG Cert TESOL, MTheol, PhD
Interim Principal and Director of Research
Graham is the Interim Principal and the Director of Research. Prior to that, Graham served as Provost, Vice-Principal, and lecturer at two Australian Baptist theological colleges.
Graham is the author or editor of 6 books (with 4 more coming in 2020) including Global Church (IVP, 2016), Healing Our Broken Humanity (IVP, 2018, with Grace Ji-Sun Kim), Salt, Light and a City, Volumes 1 & 2 (Cascade, 2017), Hide This in Your Heart (NavPress, 2020, with Michael Frost), and Holding Up Half the Sky (Cascade, 2020). Graham also directs The Global Church Project.
Graham has 20 years of experience in leading educational innovation and research excellence, and 25 years of leading organisational renewal and change. He is an alumnus of Flinders, Notre Dame, and Macquarie universities, and graduated with degrees in theology, education, and leadership (including a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Theology).
Graham has delivered lectures at educational institutions worldwide, such as Boston University, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Hillsong College, Carey Baptist Theological College, Laidlaw College, Torch Trinity University, Korea Baptist University, and Yonsei University. He has spoken at national and international gatherings of groups like World Vision, Compassion Australia, International Justice Mission, Australian Association of Mission Studies, Missions Interlink, Hillsong College, the Baptist World Alliance, Micah Global, WEC International, the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation, and Our Daily Bread International.
During his 20 years of teaching and leading in theological institutions, Graham has sought to enhance theological education and research in Australia, the Asia-Pacific, and worldwide.
John has worked in theological education for over 30 years: teaching, researching, and leading in various forms. Until 2019 John was the University of Divinity’s Director of Learning and Teaching, responsible for courses, units and academic staff professional development. These are now the areas covered, two days a week, by the Academic Dean role at Stirling Theological College. John founded the theological education stream at ANZATS conferences, is an accredited Expert with TEQSA (the Commonwealth higher education regulator) and does some consulting with DHERST (the PNG regulator). John is an ordained Anglican and a Senior Lecturer in the University, with primary interests in theology (drawing on a PhD from the University of Cambridge on divine joy), and secondary engagement in biblical studies and practical ministry. John enjoys involvement as a company director. Wendy and John have four adult daughters.
Cert Theol, BTheol (Hons), MTh, DTh
Lecturer in Theology 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 the Academic Dean and 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.
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. She has completed a PhD in the area of Isaiah, exile and post-church Australia. Angela is married to Jay, with two extraordinary children.
Stephen J Curkpatrick
LTh, MTh, GradDipEd (Religious Studies), MA, PhD
Lecturer, Researcher and Research Supervisor
Stephen is a lecturer, researcher and research supervisor in Christian Theology. He also 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).
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.
Dip Min, B.Theol (Hons), Grad Dip Ed, MTS, DMin (cand), BA(Psych)
Dean of Leadership Formation
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alan A Niven
BA (Hons), BD, DipEd, DipMin, GCS, MSocSci (Family Studies), PhD
Adjunct Lecturer and Research Supervisor
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.
Caroline is the Registrar of Stirling College. She has served as a pastor of Brimbank Church of Christ, One Community Church, and Syndal Baptist Church. Caroline has diverse corporate career experience in the areas of marketing, brand, communications, administration and management, and of course plenty of understanding about modern ministry and the educational environment.
Maia has been working in the education sector for more than 20 years. She has gained her education and experience both from overseas and locally. She worked as a College Registrar for the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde in the Philippines before she migrated to Australia. She had also worked as Researcher, Program Officer, and Test Specialist for the Centre for Educational Measurement for 12 years and had consultancy work on the side as Assessor and Evaluator for various organisations and government departments. She is a holder of a Master’s Degree in Measurement and Evaluation and earned some units in Counseling Psychology. In Australia, she studied Administration at Swinburne University and has been working in Student Administration in a registered training organisation and a private primary school before she joined Stirling Theological College in December 2019.
Maia and husband Nick have 3 children.
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). He was Stirling’s Registrar for 15 years, and then transitioned to a part-time role that supports the Principal, Academic Dean and Registrar. For John studying theology is a way of grappling with the biggest and most important questions one can ask. He invites people to follow their desire to go deeper and discover more.
Dip Man, Dip Sec & Risk Man, Dip Couns, BEng (Hons), BTh, Grad Dip Min, Grad Dip Couns & Int Psych, M Comm, M Ed, PhD (cand)
Counselling Research Fellow and Liaison Officer
After a career in management consulting throughout the Asia Pacific, Shannon studied to be a Lutheran Pastor, including 12 months at the University of Cambridge. Since completion, he has founded two Christian training organisations, as well as being engaged by multiple universities, higher education providers and registered training organisations. Shannon was previously Academic Manager for the Australian Institute of Family Counselling (AIFC), as well as providing Mental Health services to the SA Fire and Emergency Services Commission. He continues to work as a counsellor for the OZ Help Foundation and in his own private practice while also completing his PhD in Christian Counselling. He teaches within the Master of Counselling program and lives in Canberra with his family.
BVSc (Hons), MSc, GradDip (Theol), PhD (Biblical Studies), Grad Cert (Theol)
Deborah is passionate about the Bible and how we read it. Her PhD and ongoing research explore discipleship-reading approaches that inspire us to participate with God in transforming the world God loves. As well as teaching Biblical Studies, she works as a Baptist pastor and is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Divinity. Deborah previously lived and worked in conflict affected regions in community development, disaster mitigation and response, peace-building and NGO leadership roles. She began to read the Bible differently while living and working alongside people who prayed for and dreamt of—but rarely experienced—daily bread, freedom from debt, and political safety. The Bible began to engage her in new and confronting ways—and that changed everything else. Deborah has served on the Boards of TEAR Australia and Mannagum, evaluated development projects in Africa and Asia, and worked as a veterinary surgeon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kerrie’s doctoral thesis is in the area of religious history, with a social, literary and environmental focus. The thesis looks at Australian landscape through the eyes of Christians in the Nonconformist or Dissenting tradition – and this includes Churches of Christ.
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.
Sue is highly motivated to explore and promote the original Greek language of the New Testament in order to probe the depths of meaning encased therein. Accordingly, her doctoral thesis examined The Function and Significance of Middle Voice Verbs in the Greek New Testament. She has presented research papers at SBL international conferences in St. Andrews, Buenos Aires and San Antonio and her wider theological interests include hermeneutics and the distinctiveness of Christian testimony.
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.
Hery Susanto is a senior lecturer and Academic Dean of Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Jemaat Kristus (Churches of Christ Theological College) Salatiga, Indonesia.
Hery is a regular guest in Australian Churches of Christ ministry forums and is integral to Stirling’s partnership with STTJKI and Churches of Christ in Indonesia.
Hery is an accredited lecturer with the University of Divinity and a guest lecturer and research supervisor at Stirling.
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.
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. As the Stirling Online Teaching Support Officer, Sarah works with the Academic Dean and the academic and administrative staff to develop Stirling Online initiatives, and to help Stirling continue to serve God’s church and people through online education.
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 and an accredited University of Divinity lecturer for the theology unit Culture and Country: Engaging faith in contemporary Australian society.
Karen is a graduate in linguistics from Universitas Negeri Surakarta and a MDiv. graduate through Stirling from the University of Divinity. Karen is a tutor and translator in theology within Stirling’s partnership program with Sekolah Tinggi Teologi Jemaat Kristus (Churches of Christ Theological College) Salatiga, Indonesia.