Governance

The day-to-day Governance of the ANSD lies with the Executive Committee which comprises three Office Holders (for three-year terms) and not less than five Ordinary Members (for one-year terms) representing the Regions in which ANSD conducts its affairs – basically, the states of Australia – plus a member from the Coolamon journal team.

The three Office-Holder positions are:

  • President
  • Administrative Secretary
  • Treasurer

The Executive Committee currently has 7 Ordinary Members, representing the ACT, Brisbane/Qld, Sydney/NSW, SA/NT, Tasmania, Victoria and WA. These members are nominated by members of the regions they represent.

The ANSD Executive Committee

ANSD’s executive committee usually meet every 2nd Thursday of each month.
Any queries or comments please email the secretary by clicking here.

President: Cathie Lambert

Cathie lives on Wardandi land in the town of Margaret River, Western Australia. Originally trained as a secondary school science teacher, she went on to candidate for ordained ministry in the Uniting Church.

Cathie completed her Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction with Dayspring in 2012 and now enjoys offering spiritual direction and supervision. She loves creating contemplative spaces for people in the form of retreats, workshops and quiet days as well as now being part of the teaching team for Dayspring’s spiritual direction program.

Cathie is completed her PhD in 2022, exploring how contemporary women on the edge of the church respond to the lives and writings of the beguine mystics from the thirteenth century.

National Secretary: Denise Stephenson

Denise Stephenson is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader, who completed her formation training at Wellspring Centre (Melbourne) in 2000. She continues to practice as a Spiritual Director, leads prayer days, retreats and workshops, focused on introducing contemplative spirituality and practice to those who have not experienced it. Denise has worked in office administration, and pastoral ministry (Baptist Church) until retiring in 2021. She lives in the Huon Valley in southern Tasmania where she and her husband Mark are growing a community of faith centred round their Long Table, food, hospitality and contemplative practice.

Treasurer/Memberships: Lisa Coles

Lisa is a Spiritual Director with a special interest in trauma and transformation. She is Executive Principal of Arethusa College – a trauma-informed, transformation-focused high school for students for whom mainstream education has not worked. She loves rain and reading and green spaces, preferably all at the same time. She’s not good at work-life balance, moderation or exercise but firmly believes in cheese.

Regional Rep SA/NT: Iain Radvan

Iain was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1994 and spent 20 years as a chaplain and teacher (humanities). More recently he has moved into the ministry of spirituality, running retreats and giving spiritual direction and supervision. He gives the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius; his PhD was on their transformative nature for Jesuits.

He is at present working at the Jesuit retreat centre in rural South Australia (Sevenhill). He has had the blessing of visiting many parts of the world. His hobbies include gardening, bushwalking and cycling.

Regional Rep Brisbane & QLD: Heather Eckersley

Heather lives on Coochiemudlo Island which is on Quandamooka Country.

She has been resident on Coochie with her husband David since April 2018. Their household includes a beautiful dog called Sweetie.

Heather feels privileged to call this special place home and loves to walk the beaches and forest tracks to enjoy the changing patterns of sea, sand and sky. Heather is an active member in several community groups on Coochie. She believes strongly in the ties between environmental and social justice and reads and acts widely to promote that justice.

Heather is a graduate of the St Francis Spiritual Direction Program and also holds post-graduate qualifications in Health Science; Community Development; Divinity and Pastoral Care.  She is a Chaplain and Spiritual Director and leads Contemplative retreats

Regional Rep Canberra: Annie Patterson

Born and raised on Yugerra land (Brisbane), Annie has lived in the Goulburn-South Coast-Canberra region since 1996, finding home in Canberra on the sacred land of the Ngunawal and Ngambri people. Annie has participated in spiritual direction conversations since 1999 and graduated in 2022 from the Listen into Life spiritual direction formation program offered by Barnabas Ministries.

With a background in journalism, Annie is author of a spiritual biography “Waterhole of Hope”.

Annie seeks the path of “contemplation and action” and brings more than 25 years experience in a range of social service and intentional community settings.

She has an ecumenical experience of church and feels aligned to the universal way of wisdom and unity.

Regional Rep Tasmania: Denise Stephenson

Denise Stephenson is a Spiritual Director and Retreat Leader, who completed her formation training at Wellspring Centre (Melbourne) in 2000. She continues to practice as a Spiritual Director, leads prayer days, retreats and workshops, focused on introducing contemplative spirituality and practice to those who have not experienced it. Denise has worked in office administration, and pastoral ministry (Baptist Church) until retiring in 2021. She lives in the Huon Valley in southern Tasmania where she and her husband Mark are growing a community of faith centred round their Long Table, food, hospitality and contemplative practice.

Regional Rep WA: Jenelle Pike

Jenelle lives on Wadjuk land in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Having a previous background of study in cultural heritage and politics, Jenelle’s more recent research for her Masters of Spiritual Direction focuses on beauty as a decreative force, unravelling illusions of self. Currently, Jenelle is enjoying being involved in spiritual direction, supervision, and spiritual direction formation training with Dayspring, alongside the role of deputy chairperson on the Dayspring Community’s guiding committee. Jenelle appreciates the rhythms, spaciousness, and creativity that come from being contemplative.

Regional Rep Victoria: Josie Gregory

Josie was drawn to the ANSD by two things—its inclusivity and its broad ecumenism.

Josie graduated in Spiritual Direction from the ACU Canberra and joined the ACT group, then transferred to the Victorian group when she moved to regional Victoria. Most of her spiritual accompanying these days is what she calls the “cup of tea” variety—listening to anyone, anywhere, who needs someone to listen.

Josie has strong and deep connections to the local Victorian membership, and like John Stewart, am happy to call them “my mob.” This affection has led her to accept the role of convenor for the region. Much has changed right across the network since COVID-19, and the way ahead is full of challenges. Josie is confident that together we can chart the way for 2024 and beyond.

Regional Rep Sydney: Liz Faulkner

For more information about Sydney Region view Sydney Region page info.

Regional Rep Riverina: Anne Friedlieb

Anne has been a spiritual director since 2020, after completing a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction through the Australian Catholic University, Canberra, under the direction of Dr Kerrie Hide.

Prior to that she completed, a Bachelor of Arts, as a mature age student, majoring in Literature & Theology, at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Her tertiary studies followed participation in an informal scripture study group, for many years, which kindled her interest in the connections between scripture and literature.

Earlier Anne had trained as a prayer companion, with Sr Margaret Walsh, a Presentation Sister, in the diocese of Wagga Wagga, where she participated in programs notably Weeks of Guided Prayer, based on praying with scripture. Also, in running weekend retreats and prayer days.

Anne’s spiritual direction practice is based on finding the sacred in the commonplace, finding God in our daily lives. She is a wife, mother and grandmother and she and her husband are involved in the Catholic community in Wagga Wagga.

Anne offers spiritual direction in person, or via Facetime, is a member of ANSD and has attended conferences, pilgrimages and retreats, over many years.

Coordinating Editor for Coolamon: Christine Gilbert

Christine is a graduate of the Living Well Centre in Melbourne and earned a Graduate Certificate in Professional Pastoral Supervision from the Uniting College in Adelaide. At the beginning of 2023, Christine began focusing exclusively on contemplative ministry which includes spiritual direction, supervision, small group work, retreats and serving in the spiritual direction course at Tabor College.

Christine is grateful to live on Kaurna Country in the Adelaide hills with her husband Sean where she is an apprentice to her garden. When not sharing time with others, Christine spends her days keeping four birdbaths full, making peace with snails and slugs, guarding Wendell & Berry (goldfish) from the neighbourhood kookaburras and experimenting with low-carb recipes. She enjoys reading and writing (especially poetry) and the collaborative work of the Coolamon journal.