Jesus said that He is the One who will build His church. Therefore, Jesus is the head of the church, and under Him, we are an eldership led church. The Eldership consists of biblically qualified men who serve as lay leaders along while others are on the pastoral team.
We also have a Committee of Management (COM), led by lay leaders who administer the practical aspects of church life.
We are all UNITED under Jesus.
John Ramsden' Story
I was encouraged to go to church as a boy by my parents, who also attended. As a 15-year-old I responded to the Lord after a Sunday night service. In that moment, all I had heard and learned up to that point in my life made complete sense. The Holy Spirit was doing the work He does so well—convicting people of their sin and drawing them to Jesus. I simply walked outside the church, sat on a railing and asked the Lord to save me. And he did!
I began my ministry at CGCC as an associate pastor, focusing on the area of pastoral care. I must admit that I was surprised to be asked to consider such a role especially when I had no theological training. I prayed through this offer and decided to walk forward in faith. God has proved Himself faithful and trustworthy, and I love serving Him as a pastor, even though I often feel ill-equipped.
My passion lies in loving, serving and caring for God’s family, encouraging people in their personal walk with Him and helping them to keep the gospel front and centre in their lives. I am currently responsible for the Pastoral Care, Worship and Kidz Church ministries at CGCC.
I have been given the privilege of spending my earthly life with my wife and rock, Flerina. Together we have three married children, Melody, Coby and Samuel. They have given us seven grandchildren, including our precious Lily who is already with the Lord.
I love to relax by spending quality time with my wonderful wife—anywhere, anytime, anyplace! I also love spending time with my grandchildren. I don’t want to miss a moment.
Shebu John's Story
I grew up in a family that deeply loved Jesus and His gospel, but my heart was more religious than actually following and trusting the good news of Jesus. I thought it was all about doing the right thing. By the end of high school, my faith began to dwindle and I decided I didn’t want anything to do with the Christian faith. For a few years, I tried to fill my life with whatever the world could offer me. It did not last. Through a series of events, I re-encountered the good news of Jesus by spending time with a former pastor who took the time to walk through the gospel with me. It was as if my eyes were opened to the good news of Jesus afresh.
Since then I have been on a journey of exploring and learning. My first ministry experience was working with Power to Change Australia, where I was introduced to evangelism and discipleship. However, it wasn’t as though a light went on and I knew I wanted to serve in full-time ministry. During parts of my life, I have worked in a cafe, as a factory hand, as a DJ, in marketing, and in public relations. It was through serving in various ministry contexts that Jesus began to grow in me His heart for the lost and for His local church. This has led me to where I am now.
Here at CGCC, I have the privilege of serving as the lead pastor. I have a Bachelor in Theology, also a Masters in Ministry and also love serving on The Gospel Coalition Victoria Committee and in 2019 I was seconded to serve with City To City Australia as the Catalyst Leader for Melbourne.
I love to see people encounter the good news of Jesus and to see His good news transform lives. I am also passionate about equipping and discipling people to be followers of Jesus wherever He has placed them, using their gifts and talents for Him. I want to see the gospel advance here in Melbourne and in wider Australia.
My beautiful wife, Bek, and I have three cheeky and wonderful children. When I am relaxing I love hanging out with my family, drinking good coffee, cheering on the Hawthorn Football Club and exploring new places.
Cameron Purse's Story
Young Adults Pastor
I grew up in a Christian household and was taught the gospel from a young age. I don’t remember a specific moment that I gave my life to Christ as it was something that I always believed. However, I really struggled in high school to live out my faith and it wasn’t until my final year in school that God really challenged me with the gospel through my Grandpa’s death. I realized that I was more focused on living for myself rather than God and so I still remember coming home from my Grandpa’s funeral and praying to God that I wanted to live for Him no matter where that led me.
This decision really prompted me down the pathway of going into pastoral ministry, although at the time I had no idea that this was the case. After I had finished school, I worked full time for a couple of years in my local chicken shop until I was asked by one of the elders at our church to go on a short-term mission trip to Poland to assist with some kids’ ministry programs there. Through this opportunity God prompted my heart towards mission and gave me a hunger to know his Word better. I began to study at bible college with a view to go and live in Poland for a year and help alongside a church plant. This took place in 2015 and was the most transforming year of my life. God revealed much about Himself, placed in my heart a desire to keep stepping out in ministry, and provided the opportunity for me to meet my lovely wife Signe.
I now have the privilege of serving as the Young Adults Pastor at CGCC. I have a heart to see people understand God’s word in a way that enables them to apply it to their every day lives. It is my joy to walk alongside many young people and to see them grow and develop in their own faith in the midst of life’s various challenges.
In my free time, I love hanging out with my wife and exploring lots of new places with her. I love to play any sport and really enjoy getting out amongst nature, where I feel most relaxed. I also love to study and after having completed a Bachelor of Theology, I am currently working my way through a Masters in Theological Studies.
Joshua Daniel's Story
I was born in Mumbai India, to a family that loves Jesus. We belonged to a community of Christians from a state in south India called Kerala. (Fun fact, the Gospel was taken to Kerala as early as the first century!) Both sets of my grandparents moved from Kerala, to the ‘big smoke’ in Bombay in search of a better life, and settled down there to raise their families – which included my parents and their siblings. My parents married and stayed in Bombay to raise my younger sister and myself. In my early teens, my family immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand. We lived in Auckland for 16 years during which I completed my schooling and started working in the banking industry.
I’d previously visited and fallen in love with Melbourne a few years earlier, so when a banking work opportunity arose, I followed the footsteps of my parents and grandparents, and jumped at the chance to immigrate and begin a new life here in the city that I love. However, God had other plans for me and moved me out of the banking industry a few years later. After going through a period of prayer and discernment, the Lord led me into theological study and ministry training at Ridley College, where I am currently studying a Bachelor of Theology.
I began working as the Youth Pastor at CGCC in March after an exhaustive interview process and countless hours of prayer by myself, the Pastors and Elders of Canterbury Gardens. I am passionate about studying the bible and uncovering the treasures hidden in God’s Word. I am especially excited to teach and equip the youth at Canterbury Gardens to discover this joy for themselves! I love people and hearing their stories, and I am an amateur musician and enjoy all genres of music that seek to glorify God.
I have the joy of sharing my life alongside my wife Priana, who is an absolute blessing to me and, more recently, with our little boy, Jesse. We also have two spoilt rescue cats called Thea and Kai. We enjoy spending family time together, good food and coffee, movies and shows, reading books, playing board games, and having a laugh with friends.