Central Team

 

Gershon Nimbalker - National Director

Gershon Nimbalker stepped into the role of Common Grace National Director in June 2022. Gershon has brought a wealth of experience to Common Grace - and a proven passion for Jesus and justice. He is well known and deeply respected across the Christian social justice and aid sector in Australia, having worked for more than 15 years in advocacy, policy and research, as well as leading and growing grassroots movements to campaign on issues of social justice. During his time as the Advocacy Manager for Baptist World Aid Gershon helped lead the development of Baptist World Aid's Ethical Fashion Report and the Electronic Industry Trends Report. Gershon has also more recently been founder and Managing Director of Sojourners Social Change Consultants, working with numerous Christian development organisations both in Australia and overseas. Gershon lives on Awabakal Country, Newcastle, with his wife Naomi and young family, attending Hamilton Baptist Church.

Safina Stewart - Relationships and Storytelling Coordinator.

Safina Stewart is a proud Wuthathi and Mabuiag Island woman who grew up cross culturally in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Safina is passionate about culture, education, the arts, justice and faith and supports and contributes to the work of Common Grace as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Consultant. Safina lives with her husband and three children in the Victorian coastal town of Wonthaggi on Bunurong Country.

 

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Bianca Manning - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Coordinator

Bianca Manning is a Gomeroi woman and emerging Aboriginal Christian Leader. Bianca currently lives in Logan, South-East Queensland on the lands of the Yugambeh peoples and works with Senior Aboriginal Christian Leader Aunty Jean Phillips in the Brisbane and Logan areas. Bianca is currently part of forming an intentional Christian community in Woodridge, Logan. Bianca has a Social Work (First Class Honours) degree from the University of Newcastle, has completed theological training at The Academy through Glory City Church, has previous ministry experience with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and is passionate about asset-based community development, veganism, dance, and pursuing a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Jane Kelly - Creation and Climate Justice Coordinator

Jane lives on the lands of the Tugagal people of the Dharug nation in Western Sydney with her family. As a follower of Christ, Jane is dedicated to contributing towards a better future for all of God’s good creation. Her studies include theology, ministry, ethics, and legal studies. At Common Grace, Jane has overseen the successful Knit for Climate Action campaign, gifting climate stripe scarves knitted by everyday Christians Australians to national and international political leaders, sending a gracious and strong call for urgent action on climate change. Jane loves connecting with people, hearing their stories, and joining together with others to seek Jesus and a better future for all of God’s good creation, both within local communities and across the globe.

Ellaina Welsman

Ellaina Welsman - Community Engagement and Operations Manager

Ellaina has a diverse background in strategy, project management, fundraising and communications, and church engagement. With a Masters in International Studies (Refugees) Ellaina has spent the last decade serving in the not-for-profit sector, seeking to help end global poverty and systemic injustices. Most recently Ellaina worked for one of Australia's largest Christian international development agencies helping grow the church's generosity and engagement with global poverty. Ellaina's passion for gender equality, living sustainably, and helping organisations thrive is driven by her love for Jesus and His compassion for all of creation. Ellaina and her family are living in Awabakal Country (Newcastle). 

 

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Monique Hughes - Communications Coordinator

Monique Hughes is the Communications Coordinator at Common Grace with a background working in media, communications and advocacy in the not-for-profit sector. She is passionate about justice and seeing Christians live out God's deep love and care for his creation. Monique is also a painter and designer with a keen interest in seeing the arts engaged in helping spark action on social justice issues. She has been part of the Common Grace Creation and Climate Justice advisory team for a number of years and lives surrounded by the beautiful bushland of Garigal Country (Northern Sydney) with her husband and three children.

 

Naomi Fraser - Supporter Engagement Coordinator

Naomi is the Supporter Engagement Coordinator for Common Grace, joining the Fundraising Team in building a sustainable movement to work toward the flourishing of all people and all creation. She has a diverse background including a PhD in English, experience lecturing in the humanities and working in the NFP sector as a program manager. Naomi considers herself a perpetual student and will deep dive into almost any topic, from theology to literary criticism. But Naomi is most energised when she is with people, listening to their stories and learning from their experiences. In both her academic work and her supporter engagement work Naomi is motivated by the same vision: a world where all of God’s image bearers and creation can experience freedom, beauty, and jubilation. In every spare moment, she loves mountain bike riding on beautiful Awabakal Country where she lives with her young family and chickens.

 

Abbey Sim - Data and Donor Projects Officer

Abbey works as Common Grace's Data and Donor Projects Officer, a role which involves offering support to the team with managing data, engaging with donors, and communications.  Abbey completed a Bachelor of Communications and Law (with Honours in Creative Writing) in 2023 and is currently studying theology at United Theological College. Abbey lives on Dharug Country in western Sydney. Having previously worked in sports development and administration, she enjoys watching cricket, knitting, and spending time in the presence of animals.  

 

Dawn Austin - Finance and Administration Officer

Dawn Austin works as Common Grace's Finance and Administration Officer, bringing a wealth of experience in relationship management, administration and high level organisational support. Dawn has previously worked in Contracts, Property and Immigration Law, as well as tutoring in Child Law through the University of Newcastle. Dawn has a deep passion for social justice and working to support young people with lived experience of injustice. Dawn lives on the lands of the Awabakal peoples in Newcastle with her young family.

 

Common Grace Board

 

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Kristyn Crossfield - Chair

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.

 

Adam Gowen - Deputy Chair

Adam Gowen is an Aboriginal man with ancestral connections to the Wiradjuri nation. He currently lives on the land of the Murramarang people of the Yuin nation (South Coast NSW) with his wife, Lisa and their 3 children. Passionate about relatedness, he seeks to understand all things in the context of their relationships. He is a Christian minister and holds a post-graduate qualification in theology and a first-class honours degree in Indigenous studies. The thesis component of his honours degree examines concepts of Aboriginal identity, settler colonialism, and sovereignty. Adam is passionate about social justice and committed to working at a grass-roots level to see large scale change. Most days you can find him sipping a flat white with his chocolate Labrador, Tank, sitting by his side.

 

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Rachel Saravanamuthu - Company Secretary

Rachel is a human rights lawyer of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. She is a Senior Solicitor at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and has also worked in legal and policy advocacy roles in Tanzania and South Africa, including at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Rachel loves being part of her church community at City on a Hill in Melbourne.

 

Sam McDonell

Sam is a creative strategist and visionary leader who is passionate about Biblical justice and advocacy for collective social impact and community transformation. Currently she lives on Turrbal country (North Brisbane QLD), with her husband Ben, their three children and Leroy the cavoodle. Sam is a Christian minister with broad ecumenical experience, who holds post-graduate qualifications in theology and ministry. She values authenticity, deep listening, strong relationships and is committed to renewed reconciliation. In her current ministry placement she is working across Qld in community partnerships and missional innovation, whilst also lecturing in tertiary ministry studies. With extensive experience in the not-for-profit and education sectors, Sam is skilled in change management, compliance and policy and is committed to good governance which serves to contribute to life in all its fullness for all.

 

Moses Kakaire

Moses is a senior commercial lawyer who works for a multinational organization primarily on technology and digital related projects. He was born in Uganda and, as a child, he and his family came to Australia as refugees with the assistance of the congregation of a local church in Sydney. Moses has previously worked in commercial law firms and in-house in a legal and policy role for an Australian industry body. Moses is passionate about social justice and has volunteered with local community legal centres throughout his career to provide pro bono legal assistance to vulnerable members of the community. Moses lives on Gadigal Country and attends church at Leichhardt Uniting.