Dip Eng (Prod), Grad Dip Ed (Tertiary), BTh, Grad Dip (Spiritual DIrection), MA, PhD.
Peter started his career as an engineer working in the air conditioning and pharmaceutical fields. After several years working as an engineer, he took up a position as a lecturer in engineering and fitting and turning trade at Swinburne TAFE College. Having been involved in Church leadership in a couple of emerging Church situations at Truth and Liberation Concern and Care and Communication Concern, Peter’s interests led him to take a youth ministry position with St Peters Anglican Church in Darwin.
At the conclusion of this ministry, he commenced theological training at Ridley College where he completed a Batchelor of Theology Degree. On completion of theological Studies, Peter took up a senior pastoral role at West Preston Baptist Church where he served for five years. During this time he completed ministry ordination training and started his Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction. In 1996, Peter was appointed as senior pastor at the Ashburton Baptist Church. The ministry at Ashburton included the support of the growing ministry of the WellSpring Centre which was built on the Ashburton Baptist Church property. This is the centre through which Peter completed his spiritual direction formation program to qualify as a spiritual director. In 2001, Peter joined the WellSpring Centre Spiritual Direction formation team and started running retreats as part of the WellSpring Centre Program.
In 2003, the founding Director of the WellSpring Centre, Jill Manton, retired and Peter was appointed to fill the role while continuing part time in an interim pastoral role at Ashburton. As Director of the WellSpring Centre, Peter coordinated teams of formators and leaders in running workshops and retreats based in contemplative spiritual practices and formation programs. During this time, Peter completed a Master of Arts Degree (Spiritual Direction) through the Melbourne College of Divinity (now known as the University of Divinity). His research involved a Masters thesis examining the impact on participants of contemplative art retreats he ran over several years. Based on surveys of participants in these retreats Peter examined “The Development of an Art Retreat that will Assist Retreatants to Describe and More Fully Understand the Experience of Spiritual Direction through ‘Art Creation’.”
In 2013, Peter stood down from his role as Director of the WellSpring Centre, to embark on PhD studies through the Australian Catholic University, having been offered an APA scholarship to explore the unique approaches to formation in forming spiritual directors, As part of the PhD research project, Peter examined the WellSpring Spiritual Direction formation program to understand what contributes to the effective shaping of participants as spiritual directors. Based on interviews with participants, his research resulted in a PhD thesis entitled “An Investigation of Learning Processes and Contexts of a Curriculum Program for the Formation of Spiritual Directors”.
Peter continues to engage in ongoing research looking at frameworks that assist in locating significant processes related to spiritual formation based on an updated version of the traditional Lectio Divina model and a current business model identified as Theory U. Peter believes the interaction between these two frameworks provides a guide for those embarking on spiritual formation and spiritual companioning to see more clearly the relationship between the various processes that contribute to the formation of our deepening spiritual awareness. He has coedited a book gathering Australian contributions to the wider Spiritual Direction Community. In the book, he has written a chapter outlining some of the connections between the Theory U model and spiritual direction practice.
Peter has continued to lecture in post-graduate units related to Spiritual Direction Formation and Spirituality through the University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia. He has also developed and taught units in the Art of Contemplative Practice, Personality and Spirituality, Approaches to Spiritual Formation, Personal Awareness and Human Development and professional standards for Spiritual Directors associated with the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction (AECSD) code of ethics.
Church and Community Involvement
Having been involved in the formation of spiritual companions for twenty years, Peter also has a particular interest in seeking to contribute to the wider spiritual direction community throughout Australia and in the international sphere. He spent six years on the board of the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction (AECSD). During this time, he chaired the Council for three years and headed up a working group reviewing the Australian Formation Guidelines for the formation of Spiritual Directors. More recently Peter worked with Spiritual Directors International (SDI) as the Asian Pacific representative initiating the first SDI Australian Research Forum.
Peter has presented workshops and papers at several conferences in Australia, Indonesia and the USA. In 2020 he was the keynote speaker at the Conference of Spiritual Directors (CSD) Biannual Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
In his personal life, Peter is married with three adult daughters and recently graduated to the esteemed role of grandparent.