Meet the Board Part 1

18 March 2013

What’s the Board About?!

The Board of MOPS Australia meets four times a year to oversee the organisation and make sure that its activities are not only consistent with the MOPS purpose, but also promote growth of groups and the valuable women within them. It consists of nine members, men and women from around Australia who have a variety of skills and importantly a passion for taking the love of Jesus into the lives and homes of MOPS mums.

WHO are we and HOW did we get here??

Let me introduce you to the Board as they answer three basic questions about themselves:

Who is in your family and what do you do?

Describe how you came to be on the Board and what your vision is for MOPS Australia?

What inspires you?


Lexia Smallwood– Secretary – ACT

My husband Trevor and I, and university student daughter Talitha, live in Canberra where I have 2 roles in a small advocacy organisation – I provide governance support for our Board and I am our publications editor.

My involvement in MOPS began as a MOPPETS Coordinator when Talitha was four years old. After she started school I spent a short time as Coordinator of our local group, but then returned to the Carers’ role. A MOPS group is the most effective outreach and genuinely service-oriented program I have ever seen operating in a church. So when I returned to full-time work in 2005 and could no longer be involved at the local level, I happily accepted an invitation to serve on the MOPS Australia Board. MOPS has tremendous potential for positive impact – not only on the mums in attendance, but also on their families; not only for the present, but also for eternity. My vision for MOPS is that local churches across Australia will embrace this potential and bring it to fruit.

The reality of God inspires me. The reality of God gives purpose to life and certainty to the future. Jesus’ sacrificial death to bring humankind back into fellowship with God is part of that reality. I work in MOPS so that others can know of this reality. At other levels, I am inspired by people of integrity and hard workers.


Bruce Thomson– NSW

My wife, Heather, and I have been married 28 years and we have one grade 12 son, Shaun. I met Heather at our local church when I moved to Canberra from Qld in 1982. I work in IT, currently as a computer programmer designing and developing business applications. I am currently an independent contractor but have also worked full time for a number of Commonwealth Departments in various roles as computer programmer, business analyst and project manager. I am also an elder within my local church. I serve my local church by doing various administrative tasks, as well as helping in the music ministry and occasional preaching.

In the late 1990s Heather was a MOPPETS Carer for about 10 years when our son was in preschool. The nomination to the Board came in late 2011, at a time when I was considering where my priorities and efforts should be directed and I took this nomination as part of God’s leading me to do this particular work. After discussion with a number of people, whom I trust, in early 2012 I applied to be a member of the Board. I am currently MOPS Treasurer.

My vision for MOPS is that local churches will grasp the importance of this ministry – and support this work of reaching mothers and their children – and through them their families and wider community.

I am inspired by the certainty of the hope that God holds out to us – but in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. (2 Peter 3:13). It gives me purpose and meaning to life, and value and worth in whatever work God calls me to do.


Margaret Sanders – Managing Director – VIC

I am married to Keith and we have three grown-up children Matt, Ben and Jess and three beautiful grandchildren and their mums Juelz and Cherie.
My life and time are pretty much consumed with MOPS both at Board and Operational levels.

I have been involved with MOPS since 1994 when my friend Robyn commenced a MOPS group in Ballarat. I was so impressed with the vision and purpose of MOPS that I started a MOPS group in my own church and a year later became Australia’s first Regional Coordinator. In 2004 we moved from Ballarat to work full-time for another mission organisation and reluctantly ceased my ties with MOPS for 3 years. During that time, Julie Prattis invited me to serve on the Board. Having missed my involvement and realising my passion for MOPS had not dissipated I joined the Board in January 2008. I have a vision to see MOPS grow in the number of groups and mums attending, and in the awareness among Churches and the community of how MOPS supports encourages and grows women to reach their potential as women, mothers and leaders.

I’m inspired by the testimonies of mums whose lives have been touched and changed through their involvement with MOPS and the leaders who use their time and talents to serve others.

I have been involved in some form of ministry most of my adult life but none so rewarding, inspiring and motivating as MOPS. MOPS truly does make better mums who make a better world


Natalie Murdoch– TAS

My husband Stephen and I have four children Matthew (7), Bethany (6), Alex (in Heaven) and Erina (1) and our dog Jackson.

For the past year I have been studying while being at home with our children, I’m currently looking for a part- time job.

I have been involved with MOPS since 2005 after my son Matthew was born.
In 2010 I was asked would I consider becoming a board member by Julie Prattis.
I love MOPS and I was excited and honored to be given this opportunity to be involved with MOPS on another level.

Looking back over the past three years it’s amazing what has been achieved. God is awesome and I look forward to what he is going to do in the future; starting many more MOPS groups across Australia providing a safe place for Mums to come.

I am inspired by the stories of others, and the challenges they have overcome. You never know what road another person has had to walk and how God has/is providing what they need.


Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we have the chance to meet the remaining members of the board.  Thanks so much Board Members for what you give to keeping MOPS growing as a thriving ministry to women at this vital time in their lives!

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