Who we are
Staff and Program Coordinators:
Kathy Cave (Managing Director of WellSpring)
Kathy grew up in rural South Africa, where Ndebele and Sotho people have lived for generations. Some twenty years ago she moved to the lands now called Australia and in 2022, relocated to place the lands of the Kulin nation. She is curious and committed to cultivating and sharing a contemplative approach to life. Her experience from 30 years in management of investments and teams has given her opportunities to engage at strategic and administrative levels, in both profit focussed and not for profit organisations.
She has trained as a Spiritual Companion and Supervisor, has a Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies from Regent College, Vancouver and Masters in Christian Studies from Sydney Missionary Bible College.
She takes great pleasure in being outdoors, in particular, walking, swimming, scuba diving and watching waves.
Peter Bentley (Coordinator of Formation Studies)
Peter has completed a Masters of Arts Degree looking at the relationship between Art and Spirituality and a PhD examining spiritual formation. He coordinates a team of trainers who run Post-Graduate courses as part of a Master of Arts course in the Spiritual Direction, Contemplative Practice and Personality, Spirituality and the Enneagram.
George Warren (Referral Team Coordinator)
George graduated from the WellSpring program as a spiritual director in 2003. He is a retired Churches of Christ minister and enjoys keeping in touch with his three adult children and eight grandchildren. He has many interests including music, gardening, reading and carpentry. Contemplative prayer is a growing life-source for him.
Margaret Donald (Retreats Coordinator)
Margaret Donald is a spiritual director with a deep love for Celtic Spirituality, Centering Prayer, and the process of reflective art-making as a container for awareness. She is an experienced retreat facilitator and is passionate about offering creative silent spaces where each person can depth their own unique journey of the heart.
John Rogerson CHAIR
John is an active member of The Avenue Church of Christ in Surrey Hills and is currently working as a volunteer at the church, 12 hours a week, helping with a variety administration duties and convening their strategy working group. He is a year 2 student in the Art of Spiritual Companioning and has been in spiritual direction for over 20 years. He previously served on the WellSpring Board from 2005 - 2013.
John finished full time work at the end of 2017 after 10 years as CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation and has worked in the alcohol and drug field for over 30 years. He is currently Chair of the Hello Sunday Morning Board, a technology based, early intervention service for people who want to change their relationship with alcohol before they become dependent on this drug. He is currently concluding his involvement with the Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs which, provides advice to the Federal Minister for Health. John has a Diploma, Order of Merit, Company Directors Course from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Aviva Kipen - Deputy Chair
After a career in child and adult education, Aviva spent 17 years abroad, during which time she became the first Australian woman to be ordained as a rabbi (London, 1991). She graduated from University of Divinity’s Doctor of Ministry Studies in 2015, and has recently completed her formation as a spiritual director with the Living Well Centre in Melbourne.
During the Centenary of Federation events (2001) in Victoria, Aviva served as the Executive Producer of the multi-faith religious celebration. She has served on ethics committees, advised government, and worked on departmental committees.
In 2010 she became an ad hominem Fellow of Ormond College in the University of Melbourne and worked on the wellness team from 2015 to 2018. She also worked extensively for the Melbourne Parliament of World’s Religions. Aviva has taught at the Melbourne College of Divinity (now University of Divinity) and for the Progressive Christian Network. Rabbi Aviva is also known for her work for the Jewish community and continues to serve it.
Fiona Curnow - Secretary
I have been a member of the Ashburton Baptist Church community for many years, along with my family – Peter, Ben and Leah. I have valued WellSpring as a space to rest and pray and as an invitation to seek, question and recognise God journeying with me. At different times over the years spiritual direction, short courses and lunchtime prayers have been nurturing and enriching for me, and joining the Board is a wonderful opportunity to engage more with WellSpring’s programs and, I hope, to contribute to its future.
My energies lie with my family and with my work as an archivist at the University of Melbourne. Walking, sewing, theatre and coffees with friends bring enjoyment and engagement.
Lela is a passionate teacher of wellbeing and spirituality, and a spiritual director who loves working with young people. As the Founder and CEO of the Highway Foundation, a youth charity providing a safe and inspiring space for young people to find their own way in life, Lela is committed to helping young people connect with themselves, others, and the world/Divine. With a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance, a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Marketing, and currently completing her Masters of Spirituality, Lela is researching how spiritual companioning can help young people feel more connected to their lives.
Lela’s values of love, gratitude, hope, and faith have been instilled in her from a young age, growing up in a loving Christian family. Today, as a wife and mother of three living in Melbourne, Victoria, Lela continues to embody these values in everything she does, holding transformational retreats and crystal bowl meditation classes that inspire and empower young people.
I have worked as a physiotherapist for much of my adult life. I now work on a Home Based Allied Health team at St Vincent’s Health visiting elderly people in the home, in the areas of Boroondara, Yarra, and Darebin. This organisation has a strong belief in helping the vulnerable, and marginalised, and together with my Spiritual Direction training, I feel supported in my physiotherapy role.
I have two adult children. Following my divorce in 2013 I followed a journey of personal growth. The first was involved a ten-day walk from Broome on the Lurujarri Heritage Trail. This, along with volunteering as a physiotherapist on Palm Island, led me on a spirituality search.
I graduated as a spiritual director from WellSpring in 2019, and am available as a spiritual director. I meet regularly with my own spiritual director, and with a Peer Support group.
I am a keen cyclist, and participated in a ten-day fund raising and awareness-raising ride through Victoria in March 2020 for Chronic Pain (Pain Revolution University of SA). There is a strong connection between Chronic Pain and mind and body. My physiotherapy and spiritual direction skills marry well in this field, which has become central to my community work with St Vincent’s Health.
My ancestry comes from both South Australia, Victoria and various European countries. I was born in Portland, Victoria. Down by the great emerald seas of the southern ocean. These remain my homelands.
I moved to Melbourne after Year 12. Most of my adult life has been lived in this city. I have three children, who are all now adults all of whom are living both here in the city and in rural Victoria. I have one Burrai (granddaughter), Lucy.
My life, now has a long history, with too many stories.
In the early 1990’s I began my Bachelor of Theology at the United Faculty of Theology. I felt a very strong sense of ministry. Brought up Presbyterian in Childhood, this new sense had been emerging for a number of years.
The degree, although challenging, was a remarkable course to take on. It was Academic and a great source of inspiration. The history and critical approach enabled me to see the humanity within the creation of these texts.
I was ordained in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, both as Deacon then Priest, in 1999. I enjoyed the work within the parish, but Church politics has much to answer to.
I have continued my studies at ANU, researching a PHD in Aboriginal relationships with Country. I also teach at ACU in the Health Science Faculty.
Rachael is a current member of Ashburton Baptist Church where she has contributed for over twenty five years through: leading worship, facilitating playgroups, diaconate member, and supporting community meals through hub. She is married with two children and lives in the local area, enjoys spending time with people and loves being outdoors – walking and gardening.
Rachael has always highly valued the contribution of Wellspring in this community in supporting the widening and deepening of our spiritual practices as a crucial part of living out God’s vision of an inclusive and loving world.
In her professional life, Rachael is an Occupational Therapist who has worked for over twenty years with people who experience mental health difficulties. She is a member of the Swinburne Occupational Therapy Course Advisory Board and has participated in a number of other not for profit boards. She currently works at Eastern Health providing clinical leadership for occupational therapy in the Mental Health & Wellbeing Program.
Anne is a Baptist Minister and has served in several churches and worked for the Baptist Unions of Great Britain and Victoria. She and her husband Mark and daughter Joely, moved to Australia 20 years ago to take up a role as Regional Minister for the BUV, followed by other roles in the senior leadership of the Union. She left full-time work four years ago to pursue a more ‘balanced’ life – working as part of the team at Westgate Baptist Church as their Community Projects Co-ordinator, training as a Spiritual Companion, and growing fruit, vegetables and vines on a small-holding outside Kyneton that is shared between 3 couples.
Anne originally trained in International Development, and worked for a major aid agency in the UK. She has maintained a lifelong commitment to global justice serving on the boards of Christian Aid, Traidcraft, Tearfund, Baptist World Aid, and Baptist World Aid Australia. These have given some her insight into good governance that she hopes will be of value to WellSpring in this next phase of its life.
John Willis - Treasurer
I have been a member of St Kilda/Elsternwick Baptist Church for over 30 years and held roles as Chair of Deacons and Treasurer along with involvement in the music for worship and leading the youth group many years ago. I am married with two daughters in their 20s and live between Ormond and Pakenham Upper.
My professional life has involved working with those with a mental illness both in Australia and the UK, living and working on a remote Aboriginal community, leading a national research project into Aboriginal health along with roles with the Victorian state government in the area of drug treatment services. In my current role as Group Manager Inclusive Health for St Vincent’s Health Australia, I lead our Inclusive Health Program that grows our response to those who are vulnerable in our society with complex health and social needs. This important area supports the growing of our mission to bring God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus and I am passionate about how we can improve the way we deliver care to the most vulnerable.
My spiritual journey has been shaped by the social justice teachings of Jesus and many other wonderful people of faith, both famous and not so famous, and by the teachings of St Ignatius through the completion of the Spiritual Exercises in daily life. I am currently studying for a Masters in Theology at the University of Divinity and have a lifelong passion for music, particularly live music, including playing and listening.