Who we are

Staff and Program Coordinators:

Ann Lock (Director of WellSpring)

Ann has been the Director of WellSpring since July 2012 and is a Baptist minister with over 20 years in pastoral and associated ministry. She left the world of business and industry to follow a call to ministry which surprised everyone, including Ann. The move to a deeper, contemplative way of life has been an experience of coming home and holds all that sustains Ann.

Ann and her husband, Garry, have 3 adult sons, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law, and 2 precious granddaughters. Ann loves walking on her local beach, dressmaking, cooking and reading.

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.

Tim McCowan (Coordinator of Reconciliation Program)

Tim McCowan is an experienced spiritual director who has been involved in teaching prayer and enjoys contemplative activities like walking in nature, photography and reading.

Rosanne Arnott (Spiritual Direction Formation Team Contact Person)

Rosanne trained as a spiritual director while living in Tasmania, graduating in 2000. She has been involved with WellSpring Centre since moving to Melbourne with her husband Paul and three daughters in 2002. Life has been a great teacher in its different phases of kindergarten teaching, mothering, accompanying Paul in the Anglican ministry for 16 years in various parts of Tasmania and studying for a Master of Arts (Spiritual Direction) Degree. Currently Rosanne loves being part of the formation team who create learning communities within the WellSpring courses and delights in seeing the transformation that happens in the lives of those who participate.

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.

Ruth Sandy (Associate Coordinator Building Bridges Program)

Ruth was born and bred into the Baptist tradition of the Bible belt. She has been a Secondary teacher for many years but is now a Multi faith Chaplain at Swinburne University, Hawthorn where she takes the choir and the Finding Common Ground Inter belief dialogue group. Ruth studied Theology at Whitley College and Gospel music and Womanist theology at Memphis Theological Seminary and has a strong interest in food, music and culture from around the world. She has been involved in the Building Bridges: Interfaith dialogue in Secondary Schools program since 2007 and is now Associate Coordinator of the program. Ruth has two small girls, a cat and nine chickens. She currently attends Brunswick and Coburg Uniting Churches.


WellSpring Board:

Fiona Curnow

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.

Liz Johnson (Chair)

I am married to Michael, and we have two gorgeous daughters Rebecca and Caitlin. I grew up in a Christian family and we attended an Anglican Church. I have been a member of Ashburton Baptist Church since 1995. I have participated in a number of groups and taken on positions of leadership.

I am a trained teacher of Japanese and English as a Second Language (ESL), and have taught for many years in different school settings. I currently work with year 12 students. My association with WellSpring was firstly through exhibiting my art work. I am a practising artist and love the opportunity to share my art with the Ashburton Baptist and WellSpring communities. Over the last few years I have enjoyed participating in WellSpring workshops, retreats and spiritual direction. 

I look forward to my role as the Ashburton Baptist Church member on the board.

Aviva Kipen

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.

Maria McCormack

Maria McCormack has been a WellSpring member for 20 years. She graduated in 2002 as a WellSpring Spiritual Director.

Maria is from the Catholic tradition of the Christian Church and is drawn deeply to all that points us to unity in our human family, and to all that leads us into relationship with all creation.

Her spirituality is about ‘coming home’ to experience life with joy, gratitude and compassion; to finding the Sacred in self, in other, in all.

Maria with her husband Peter have raised a family of four children, and are now celebrating the lives of their two precious grandchildren.

Maria is a member of the Spiritual Direction Formation Team and is a member of the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction (AECSD).

Ben Norman (Treasurer)

My name is Ben Norman, and together with my beautiful wife Davina, I have two adventurous little kids, named Jonah and Ava.

I grew up in the southwest of Victoria and moved to Melbourne in my early 20s, partly due to being involved in the Christian music industry. This included touring around Australia and overseas with a band I formed with my brother-in-law. Our band was also fortunate enough to support some wonderful Christian artists around Australia and overseas.

Because of this, I was able to experience the wonderful patchwork of being invited into hundreds of different churches and schools, from varying backgrounds. As we are all different individually, it was a privilege to see the many unique personalities that make up the human race in different places of worship.

Professionally, my current position is with Monash University.  I’ve also undertaken some previous exciting roles, in the fields of banking, accounting and human resources. I’m a qualified public accountant, along with a Bachelor in Management (majored in Marketing) and a Masters in Planning.

Personally, I see great joy in people working together for the greater good. It may be the small things in life, to the life changing events we may experience. I value the importance of respect, regardless of anyone’s background and who they are.

Embracing differences is vital; it creates diversity and reflects the Spirit of God as individuals.

Julie Thies

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.

Janet Turpie-Johnstone

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.

John Willis

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.