Common Grace comprises a network of churches, organisations, and individuals that reflects the broad diversity of the Australian Christian community. We are powered by volunteer issue-based teams made up of Christian activists, policy experts and ministry leaders.
We are also governed by a board and a tiny part-time staff team, and are currently operating under the direction of a Management Committee comprising Jessica Smith (Operations Director), Brooke Prentis (Aboriginal Justice Spokesperson), and Nat Williams (Board Chair).
Jessica Smith - Operations Director
Jessica is Operations Director for Common Grace and Community Pastor at Paddington Anglican Church. Jess’ gifts are in helping communities, organisations and teams function well and get things done. She loves people and building communities and is passionate about creating healthy organisations where resources and energy are deployed with sensitivity to their mission and convictions. Jess has been involved in Common Grace from the beginning as part of the team that conceived and founded Common Grace. Jess lives in Sydney and is married to Byron and they have two primary aged children.
Bianca Manning - Communications Officer
Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and an emerging young Aboriginal Christian Leader from Newcastle. Bianca is Common Grace's Communications Officer and currently lives in Brisbane studying at a Bible College called The Academy with Glory City Church. Bianca has a Social Work degree, previous ministry experience with Youth With A Mission, and is passionate about Aboriginal social justice, youth work, asset based community development, dance, and pursuing a genuine relationship with Jesus.
Natalie Lammas Williams - Chair
Natalie is a social policy advisor to government with a 20 year career spanning law, advocacy, communications and Christian ministry. Natalie is married to Ben, is mother to Maxine and step-mother to Amos and Evie, and currently lives in Sydney’s inner west.
Nic Mackay - Deputy Chair
Nic is a global social entrepreneur, who has had the privilege of helping to start and grow some of the world’s largest and most influential social justice organisations. He led the team that conceived and founded Common Grace, and served as Chair of the Board from 2015-18. Now based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife and son, he oversees the global SPEAK! campaign for CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. He recently finished writing his first book: "Faith, Death & Pills".
Jonathan Taylor - Treasurer
Jonathan works in Accounting, Financial Planning and Business Advisory. His Church and Charity involvement extends bank 17 years and includes leadership, consulting and board roles. He is married to Jessica and they have two children. The family attends Church at the Stadium in Warwick WA.
Kristyn Crossfield - Company Secretary
Kristyn is a daughter, wife, mother and worker in the not-for-profit world. A long-time social change advocate for justice in the world of work, Kristyn is committed to helping groups of people achieve their dreams of a more just world through the creation of healthy, effective collectives. Kristyn and her family, Phil, Maya and Campbell live on the Central Coast of NSW and love being members of Coast Community Church.
Dave is the young adults pastor at Riverview Church in Perth. He has a gift to build community and loves people, prayer and parties. A designer by trade, with Bachelor of Business in Marketing & Management and a Grad. Dip. of Divinity, Dave is married to Sarah and lives in Perth Western Australia.
Michelle is a strategic planning, brand, communications/ advocacy professional with 16 years’ experience in the not-for-profit, corporate, education and international development sectors. Michelle has been worked with more than 100 organisations while being involved in leading a number of consulting companies including The Future Leader Group, CoCreate Consulting and Capacity Builders. Michelle is married to Bruce and they have two young children, Charlize and Judah, and they attend Northside Baptist.
Nicole is a Wiradjuri woman with ties to family in Cowra and surrounds. Nicole has extensive experience in policy, advocacy and counselling. Nicole’s continued passion for community and future generations sees Nicole finding and creating paths and supporting growth and empowerment so that Nicole becomes a facilitator that encourages the creation of many leaders that she comes into contact with. Nicole is passionate about her church community 'The Sanctuary', which is reflected in the connect group that she and her husband Stiven host, and also in children’s ministry which she participates in. Nicole and Stiven are parents to Taj and Natalia and currently live on Nyoongar Boodjar.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Team
Brooke Prentis - Aboriginal Spokesperson
Brooke Prentis is an Aboriginal Christian Leader from the Wakka Wakka peoples. Brooke is the Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering. Brooke works ecumenically speaking on issues of Justice affecting Australia and sharing a message of Reconciliation as friendship. Brooke has co-written and written a number of theological papers over the last two years that have been presented in Australia and Internationally. Brooke is a founding board member of NAIITS Australia and is currently studying a Masters of Theology through NAIITS, in partnership with Whitley College and the University of Divinity, as well as being a scholar of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Brooke is a much sought after speaker and writer who is a community pastor and advocate who has a vision "to build an Australia built on truth, justice, love and hope".
Domestic & Family Violence Team
Erica Hamence - Team Lead
Erica is an Associate Minister at St. Barnabas' Anglican Church, Broadway in Inner Sydney, where she oversees discipleship and campus ministries.
Rachel Neary - Advisor
Rachel is a domestic, family and sexual violence specialist who currently works in the Northern Territory in domestic, family and sexual violence policy as well as working as a crisis response sexual assault counsellor. Rachel comes from an international community development, community educator, social work and activist background and has worked in many and varied roles. Rachel is married to Alex and has three kids. They all attend Alice Springs Uniting Church where they are proud members of a community seeking to live out the radical good news of grace.
Amy is a ministry trainee at St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway and a graduate of a Masters of Public Health from the University of Sydney.
Climate Justice Team
Jason John - Team Lead
Jason became a Christian after graduating in zoology, and has spent most of his minstry helping the church explore the connections between faith and ecology, and to respond. Our relationship with the rest of creation is intimately connected to our relationship with the Creator who birthed the Universe. Jason delights in the scientific creation stories of the evolutionary unfolding of the Earth family, and or place in it, whilst working alongside those who see us as either stewards or servants of God's garden. He lives in the forest in Bellingen with his family and many non-human neighbours.
Jess is a Christian environmentalist with a passion for endangered species, eco-theology and helping the Australian church to care for creation.
Ben Thurley is married to Lyndall and father of Gabe and Jacob. He has been a long time campaigner on issues of poverty and inequality, accountable government and climate change and has a passion for encouraging and equipping all Australians – especially Christians – to stand and speak up for justice. Currently working with International Nepal Fellowship Australia, Ben has worked in Australia and Nepal with a number of Christian organisations dedicated to serving and standing with poor communities – including TEAR Australia, Micah Challenge and United Mission to Nepal.
Ally is a Law and Development Studies student at Macquarie University, focussing her studies in the areas of human rights and international environmental law. She has previously interned with Micah Australia and led campus activities as a volunteer for World Vision Australia. Ally attends Macquarie Anglican Church in Eastwood and spends her spare time drinking coffee, writing music and exploring all of the outdoor beauty that Sydney has to offer.
Monique Hughes is passionate about seeing Christians living out God's deep love and care for his creation by taking bold, grace-filled action on climate change. She has a formal background in media and communications and worked for a number of years with UNICEF Australia's advocacy and education team. Monique is currently full time Mum to three young children and lives with her husband Richard surrounded by the beautiful bush land of Northern Sydney. The Hughes family attends St Mark's Anglican Church, Berowra.
Byron Smith - Advisor
Byron Smith is an ecological ethicist and Christian minister. His PhD in theological ethics focused on emotional responses to climate change in the context of Christian identity. His time is split between pastoral ministry at St George's Anglican Church, Paddington, and helping churches join the dots between ecological justice and faith. Byron lives in Sydney with Jessica and their two young children and loves making soil and honey (or watching bees and worms do so).
Jody Lightfoot - Advisor
Jody is a social change leader with experience in Australia’s anti-poverty, climate change and people seeking asylum movements. He has helped to create and grow movements including Love Makes A Way, Common Grace and Campaign for Australian Aid.
Justice for People Seeking Asylum Team
Kate Leaney – Team Lead
Kate Leaney is a fierce campaigner for justice, particularly relating to people seeking asylum. A dedicated volunteer with Welcome to Australia, Kate is the founder of The Welcome Centre (a drop-in centre service for refugees, people seeking asylum and new arrivals in Adelaide), and Careers Kitchen (an initiative providing pathways to employment for people seeking asylum in Perth). She currently works for the Uniting Church in WA and is part of the Love Makes A Way movement, and advocates for a nation where all people who call Australia home feel valued and welcome. Kate views her faith as a constant call to stand on the side of justice, and sees Common Grace as a beautiful opportunity to use her voice to speak the kind of radical love seen in Jesus' witness.
Ebony loves Jesus. She is a lawyer who specialises in complex public interest cases, often involving claims on behalf of refugees. She is in the final year of her Ph.D. in human rights law.
From the Inner West of Sydney Tim has a few topics that he could talk about for hours. Comics, politics, Jesus and coffee. Ideally they can all be talked about together – hopefully over a beer with close friends at home while learning to crochet.
Justin Whelan - Advisor
Justin is the NSW Manager of Community Engagement for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Australia's largest NGO providing community services to and advocacy for people seeking asylum. He is also one of the initiators and organisers of Love Makes a Way, a Christian movement engaging in prayer and nonviolent direct action for justice for people seeking asylum. Justin is a member of Paddington Uniting Church.
Rachel Friebel - Advent
Rachel lives in Adelaide and works as a counsellor and manager in community services. Rachel is happiest when she’s in the sunshine, in nature, drinking tea (or all three).