Living Grace

I grew up in the Northern Rivers with my parents and three sisters. I moved to Tamborine Mountain, Qld as a young adult and at the age of 22, I was converted to following Jesus and attended the local church communities including the bible studies and prayer groups. In 1982 I relocated to Mullumbimby where my sisters all lived and attended a fast-growing Christian church. In 1984 I joined YWAM outreach group which travelled to Los Angeles USA for the Olympic games outreach. After this I travelled to Belize for a short-term mission before travelling to Oregon, USA, to attend bible College where I met my wife, Jill (from Brisbane). We returned to Australia and were married in September 1985. 

We lived in Brunswick Heads and after the birth of our first child moved back to Tamborine Mountain. We pioneered a church in 1993 that was associated with Christian Life Churches International. The church’s main focus was helping people with life issues, such as addiction, family dysfunction and shame related problems. Our church was very involved in helping with the recovery for people in Ipswich flood in 2011. We pastored the church for over 19 years and in 2013 we took up a call to pastor at a Church of Christ in Western Australia. This Church was a multi-cultural church including Anglo Australian, African, and Asian (including a large Burmese/Myanmar) congregation. We returned to the East Coast to lead Tweed Church of Christ in 2016. We are still in leadership at that church, which now goes by the name Living Grace Church of Christ. 

In 2017 our church and building (which was also a sports centre) became the recovery centre the flood recovery efforts. We recruited 100s of volunteers to help in the clean-up, cooking meals, washing clothes, rebuilding damaged homes, collecting food and providing new clothes. Thanks to local businesspeople and organisations we were provided with all we needed including beds, new clothes, food and other essentials. We also gave Pastoral care during and after the flood. ABC’s Stan Grant filmed a documentary on these efforts, calling the movement the “Mud Army”. 

In 2019 we helped with drought relief in Inverell, NSW. We held a concert to bring people together and support local business by purchasing gift cards and disturbing them to farmers. 

In 2020 bushfires created heartache for so many people. I was involved as a DRCN chaplain in evacuations centres in Mullumbimby, Uki, and Byron Bay. I learnt a lot during this time, especially how to support people with mental health issues in a crisis. After the initial response, we set up a distributing centre to assist victims—based again at our sports centre building. We collected 3 double semi-trailers lots of goods and sent them to Bateman Bay and surrounding areas affected by the bushfires. During this time, we again saw an amazing response from the local community who came together to support and provide for people that had been affected by these tragedies. 

In 2022 there were more devastating floods that greatly impacted the Northern Rivers. I was again deployed by DRCN to evacuation centres in Kingscliff and Banora Point during this time. This was a very difficult time for people who had only just begun to repair the damage caused by the previous natural disasters. I have many stories I could share about the time in the evacuation centres. 

The local community called me to ask if we would again open up the sports centre, but unfortunately the property was also flooded and we could not provide this space. Instead, the local churches got together and an action plan was put in place. After finding a building to setup recovery centre 1000s of people registered with us to help the recovery. We assigned people to place asking for help from Chinderah to Lismore and surrounding towns. I was asked to stay as a pastoral carer in centres across the Northern Rivers for the next few months. 

My family 

My wife of 38 years, Jill, and I have three adult children and one grandchild. 

My wife worked as a physiotherapist, including owning her own practice on Tamborine Mountain for more than 20 years. Since selling her business (when we relocated to WA), she has worked in various clinics in both WA and the Northern Rivers. She has always been heavily involved in the church, including being a key member of the worship team and other small groups.

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