Meet our team

West Ryde Community Church is led by a team of leaders – men and women, younger and older, paid and voluntary, but all with a heart for seeing God’s will done here on earth as it is in heaven. Our goal is to equip and enable every member to use their abilities and passions to serve and grow and build up the church (Eph 4.12).

From left: Chris, James, Mary, Alan, Helen, Scott & Karen


Lead Pastor – Chris McGowan

part-time: Monday (AM), Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday (AM)

Chris has been the leader of our team since October 2014. She is passionate about people and life, always looking for ways to make Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God visible and accessible to others. Chris particularly enjoys engaging with the ethnically and culturally diverse people in her local community.

When she is not engaged in church work, you will most likely find her in the garden, at the beach, on her bike or spending time with her husband Rob, their 4 adult children and new granddaughter.

Equipping Pastor – Karen Quah

part-time: Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday (AM)

Karen feels privileged to be a part of our pastoral team. She loves the spirit and diversity of our church family and local community, and values building relationships within them that reflect Jesus. Karen also enjoys empowering people to grow their gifts so they can help and connect with others.

On her days off, she is likely to be found with her head in a book, bushwalking or hanging out with friends and family. 


Church Office Manager – Cassandra Falson

part-time: Wednesdays

Cassandra is married to Mark and has three adult children – Erin & Lachlan & Amy. Cassandra has been a part of the West Ryde team in a part-time capacity since 2008. She enjoys helping to lighten the load of the pastors through her admin & communications role.

When not at work , Cassandra likes a good book or movie, bushwalking, holidaying with her family and spending time with her new granddaughter.

Administrative Assistant – Nazi Gharehbaghi

 part-time: Wednesdays

Nazi has been part of West Ryde Community Church since 2019. She is married to Roozbeh and has one daughter – Raha. Nazi has been a part of the West Ryde team in a part-time capacity since Feb 2020. She enjoys helping and be useful in her job through her Administrative Assistant role. She enjoys communicating with people and sharing her faith and experience of being a Christian. When not at work, Nazi likes to watch movies, read books and listen to music. She also enjoys playing with her daughter when she is free.

Senior Leaders

Administration (Secretary) – James Piper

James is married to Jenny and has two young girls: Miriam and Aurelia. After moving into the area in 2010 he joined West Ryde Baptist Church, and has served in a variety of ministry roles. He enjoys applying his administrative skills to assist the Church in the position of Secretary.

James works full-time as a Principal Engineer in the transport sector. In his spare time James enjoys cooking, board games, cinema, and occasional do-it-yourself handiwork.

Care – Helen Carruthers

Helen has been part of West Ryde Baptist Church since 2000 and loves being part of the leadership team. Since her husband’s death nearly three years ago she has been more involved. She loves relating to people, especially those from other cultural backgrounds.

She loves looking after her grandchildren. In her spare time she loves watching AFL football, reading, researching her family tree, and visiting or enjoying a coffee with others.

Property Use & Development – Scott Hill

Scott has been attending West Ryde Community Church for over 30 years. He has served in various ministries especially youth ministries for most of those years,  and is currently serving on the leadership of the church for the last 15 years. He always wants to ensure people feel welcomed and included in the church community.
He is transitioning from the accounting profession to aid & development after completing a degree last year. He loves to travel, meet new people and enjoys outdoor activities.

Alan Ly

Alan has been part of West Ryde Community Church since 2018. He is married to Elise and they have a young daughter Abigail. They moved into the West Ryde area in 2017, and previously attended other Baptist churches. Alan works at the NSW Environment Protection Authority as a Senior Project Officer. He has a background in law, science, and regulation, and enjoys applying his skills and experiences to assist the Church. 

He loves spending time with his family, eating and cooking. He is a Lakers fan, and enjoys playing basketball. And when he has time, he loves to rock climb and canyon in the Blue Mountains.