Commission Members

The Queensland Synod appoints a chairperson and six other members to the Synod Schools and Residential Colleges Commission. In addition, the General Secretary is an ex-officio member of the Commission. Current members are:


Noela Lister

Noela Lister (Chair)

Noela is recently retired. She was a primary and secondary teacher from 1996 until 2012 which included 10 years’ service at a non-denominational Christian School. Prior to that Noela was an industrial chemist. Noela is currently the chairperson of the Mudgeeraba Council of Elders and was chairperson of the Mudgeeraba Church Council from 2010 to 2012.  She was also a member of the Lifeline Cairns Board from 1999 to 2003 and fulfilled the role of chairperson from 2002 to 2003. During her teaching career Noela was one of a team of Pastoral Advisors who led mission teams, ran lunchtime Bible clubs and chapel services.


Ballment Neil Photo

Neil Ballment

Neil is a Uniting Church layman who worships at the Broadwater Road Uniting Church. Neil is married with two sons and five grandchildren. He is currently working as a legal counsel with CSIRO on the legal governance team and has wide experience in commercial law and has developed expertise in organisational legislative compliance and policy development with a specialisation in Workplace Health and Safety law and Workers Compensation law.

Neil’s Uniting Church involvement ranges from being a member of Broadwater Road Church Council through his membership of the Presbytery of South Moreton, through to his membership of various Uniting Church Synod committees including the Synod Schools Commission and the current Synod Standing Committee.

Being married to a Catholic, Neil has developed a particular interest in ecumenical matters and both his wife Shelagh and he worship in both the Catholic and Uniting Churches each weekend. Neil also serves as one of the Uniting Church’s representatives on Queensland Churches Together which brings together the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Churches together with the Salvation Army, Society of Friends and various Eastern Orthodox Churches for dialogue and action.

Neil has served for a considerable period on the College Council of Calvary Christian College in various capacities firstly as a Community Representative and lately as a South Moreton Presbytery appointee. He has had the experience of developing a christian college from the ground up and has been part of the process of developing a mature strategic planning and governance culture and practice.

Neil has previous external board experience as the Chair of the Logan and Beaudesert District Health Council, and as a Board member of Relationships Australia (Queensland). He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Jessica Lipsett

Jessica is a lawyer with Corney & Lind Lawyers, and primarily advises not-for-profit, charity and education sector clients in relation to litigious matters. She also has experience working across multiple roles in the
education and not-for-profit sectors.

Jessica worships at Newlife Brisbane and is a passionate supported of the church’s local and overseas mission partners.


Nigel Fairbairn

Born and raised in Melbourne, Nigel attended a Presbyterian Church and school in his formative years. After undertaking secondary teacher training, he had a thirty-nine year career in independent schools. Nigel has worked in Uniting Church schools in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. He has had leadership roles in Melbourne, Perth and New Zealand, as well as Queensland, where he spent the majority of his career.   

Nigel is a Non-Executive Director, Treasurer, Committee and Advisory Board Member with almost 30 years board-level experience in the not-for-profit area. At a board level, highlights include: Board Director of Prospect Community Services and previously as a Board Member and Deputy Chair of the Warwick TAFE Queensland. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a number of qualifications from the Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders.

Nigel was a Principal for nearly twenty-five years, culminating in a very successful time at Blackheath and Thornburgh College and retiring at the end of 2019. Prior to that, Nigel was Principal of Sunshine Coast Grammar School and SCOTS PGC College, with a period of time in New Zealand. He has undertaken post-graduate study throughout his career, with two Masters of Education amongst his qualifications. As a Principal he has worked closely with ISQ (Education Committee) and QCAA (Committee of Principals).    

Nigel accepted Christ into his life during his final year of secondary school; he has worshipped in Uniting Church and Presbyterian congregations. He has most recently worshipped in the Anglican Church and having recently moved to Warwick, is awaiting the re-opening of the St Mark’s Church where he has previously worshipped.

Nigel has been married to Chris for forty years and has three children and four grandsons.