Issue 33, No 7, 2013
The voice of Uniting Church SA
Love is learning
embracing life-long education
UNITING CHURCH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES From Early Learning To Tertiary Education
Contents FEATURES Lessons for life
Stepping stones from school to adulthood
Strengthening Christian faith
Shared campus creates family feel
Getting the balance right
Two Heads are better than one
Wellbeing through positive psychology
Preparing for life â€“ beyond university
Uniting College for Leadership & Theology
Lincoln College: Co-ed Residential Accommodation for University Students
Moderatorâ€™s Comment Diary/Positions Vacant
Open Day 2013 Visit us in person and take a tour of the College
Editor: Catherine Hoffman Editor-in-Chief: Bindy Taylor Guest Editor: Julianne Rogers Advertising: Loan Leane Design: David Lombardi Print: Graphic Print Group For editorial inquiries: p. (08) 8236 4249 e. email@example.com m. The Editor, New Times GPO Box 2145 Adelaide SA 5001 For advertising bookings: p. (08) 7007 9020 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
newtimes.sa.uca.org.au facebook.com/NewTimesUCA ISSN 0726-2612 New Times is the voice of Uniting Church SA. Published monthly, February through December, New Times represents the breadth, diversity and vision of Uniting Church members in SA. News policies, guides and deadlines appear online at newtimes.sa.uca.org.au. Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor.
Print circulation: 10,000 Uniting Church SA Level 2, 212 Pirie St, Adelaide p. (08) 8236 4200 f. 8236 4201 country callers. 1300 766 956
16 August 2013, Friday (11am and 2pm) 17 August 2013, Saturday (11am and 2pm) 18 August 2013, Sunday (9am to 4pm)
www.lincoln.edu.au Pilgrim Uniting Church in the City 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide
Organ Recitals at Pilgrim Sunday 1st September, 2013 2.30pm Michael Fulcher (Melbourne) In conjunction with the RSCM (SA Branch)
Sunday 29th September, 2013 2.30pm William McVicker (UK) In conjunction with the Organ Historical Trust of Australia and the Organ Music Society of Adelaide.
Cost: $20 pp (each Recital)
Love is believing Love is believing. Believing in equality. Believing in justice. Believing in others. Believing in goodness. Believing in the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. DEADLINE FOR SEPTEMBER
Wednesday August 7
Pilgrim Uniting Church 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide p: 8212 3295 e: email@example.com w: pilgrim.org.au
You count – a national census of UCA congregations and ministers Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, Uniting Church Australia President
As well as responding to requests to support various exciting events around the church, I sometimes get to initiate projects that I think are important. I want to tell you about one of those – a project to re-establish a database of national statistics on Uniting Church Australia congregations and ministers. That may sound dull, but I’m pumped about it. For a start, it’ll be great to finally have answers to the questions I’m routinely asked by leaders of other denominations and our partner churches. Questions like: How many Uniting Church congregations are there in Australia? How many ministers? Because for these and many other important questions about the church nationally the answer is all too often, “We don’t know.” During August, I will be distributing two different census forms. One is for congregations and is to be completed by a church representative. A paper copy will be mailed to the congregation and an online option will be offered as well. The other is a
Uniting Church Australia President, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney (left), and Uniting Church SA Moderator, Rev Rob Williams.
brief online census for all ministers (whether or not they are in placement, including retired ministers). Synod General Secretaries are collaborating on this project and have provided me with contact lists in order to distribute the census forms.
With your cooperation and goodwill, I want to be able to tell the Uniting Church’s story near and far. To do that well I need to know something about every congregation and every minister. Please take part because everyone counts in the story of God’s pilgrim people!
Sharing our learning Rev Rob Williams, Uniting Church SA Moderator
One of the strands of our DNA as a church is to encourage people in their personal growth and their growth in faith. When I was a child, one of the most obvious ways in which the church did this was through the work of Sunday Schools. However, in recent times, the Sunday School movement has declined. Kids’ Clubs and other alternatives have sprung up but, despite the success of many of these, a large number of churches continue to struggle to connect with younger generations. While many of us within the church
seek to discern new ways in which our local congregations can reach out to children and youth within our communities, there are thousands of children and young people whose parents entrust their education and spiritual formation to one of the schools or colleges affiliated with our church in South Australia. Please pray regularly for the work of the principals, staff and chaplains within our schools and colleges. We live in a world where constant change demands that we continue to develop our knowledge base, as well as continue
to grow in our spiritual awareness and its application to daily life. Life-long learning has become central to many of us. Whether you completed school five years ago or 50 years ago, there are many courses available through Uniting College that can meet specific learning needs, helping students to grow in knowledge and in faith. I encourage you to take time to continue to grow your own Christian understanding and personal faith – and then to share what you learn as a gift of love.
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Lessons for life The severity of the London riots of 2011 had a far-reaching impact. With 1700 arrests and 600 people charged with violent crimes, the moral implications of the rioters’ actions, and the reality of neighbours turning against neighbours, affected people on a global scale. The idea that the same thing could occur in a person's own suburb, city or town was something that many found confronting – including Annesley Junior School Principal, Cherylyn Skewes. “I couldn’t help but wonder – how does a place so similar to the one in which we live get to that point?” Cherylyn explains. “The people involved seemed to have somehow lost basic human values.” These thoughts were well-timed for Cherylyn. Annesley school had decided only months earlier to undertake some major changes – the largest of which was to become a junior school. “With the launch of the new school, I felt there was an opportunity to create change – to have children learn and internalise those values that had been forgotten in the London riots,” she states. Responsibility, compassion, civility, justice, respect, integrity, courage, resilience, gratitude, humility – these ten important values were decided on because they are central to how individuals and communities function throughout the world, regardless of religious or cultural differences. Each of these values becomes a focus for one month of the school year. Rather than simply espousing the theory behind each of these core values or focussing on them just once a month, the staff at Annesley integrate these not only into speeches and lessons, but into everyday life. “We realised that children wouldn’t take these values seriously unless staff demonstrated them in their own actions and words,” Cherylyn says. Children sometimes struggle to make the right decisions, and can act in ways that don’t demonstrate the school’s values. When these situations arise, staff members are committed to stopping whatever they are doing to talk with students, making them understand how their actions impact others and relating the situation back to the core values.
On the other hand, students who demonstrate the school’s values in an extraordinary way are praised and rewarded. This method of reinforcement and explanation seems to be having a very positive impact thus far, with many students taking on an educative role themselves, explaining and demonstrating the values to other children. However, giving these values real and tangible meaning for children is not always easy, especially with some of the younger children. “Try explaining what justice is to a two year old,” Cherylyn jokes. “We had to get creative with that one.” Cherylyn goes on to explain how she used the idea of ‘fairness’ to explain justice to the younger children, and brought this idea to a situation that they could relate to. Every day the younger year levels receive fruit that is cut up to share with the class, so Cherylyn proposed a scenario related to this. She asked children to imagine that there was a plate that had both apples and strawberries on it. Most children would want strawberries. But if one person took all the strawberries, how would that make everyone else feel? Is that fair? In relating values back to experiences and knowledge that the children already have, as well as drawing links to particular Bible passages, Cherylyn feels the teachers are better able to communicate the meaning behind them. “Lots of schools have values – so what makes Annesley different?” Cherylyn asks. “The difference is that we try to include these values in everything – it’s not just a 40 minute lesson each week. We’re living and breathing values as well as teaching them.” In 2012, Annesley College became Annesley Junior School. Annesley is a co-educational school featuring an Early Learning Centre and Reception to Year 6 classes. For more information, please visit annesley.sa.edu.au or call 8422 2288.
Getting to know...
Cherylyn Skewes, Annesley Junior School Principal
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I went through many different phases – I wanted to become a veterinary surgeon, a translator in a foreign embassy, even a bus driver! At the end of my undergraduate degree, someone suggested I should complete a Diploma in Education; I fell in love with teaching from the day I started my first appointment. I relish the way students, staff and families continually challenge my view of the world. Frequently I am pushed outside my comfort zone and I am a better person for it.
before they turned 15. When she reached me, the young woman gave me a hug and said, “Do you know the difference you made to my life? You made me see that I could learn, and change my destiny.”
What has been your most memorable, inspirational or entertaining moment in teaching/as a principal? A moment of inspiration took place in Grenfell Street many years ago. I heard someone yell my name across the peak hour traffic and saw a young woman running between the cars towards me. It was a girl from an infamous Year 9 Maths class I had taught 10 years earlier – the students in the class had major behavioural problems and were at risk of leaving school
What most motivates you – both in your workplace and in your wider life? I want the world to be a just place. In my position of influence, I feel responsible for motivating those around me – students, parents, families, staff – to learn and to care enough to make the world an even better place for our children.
How would your family describe you? Unfortunately, I think the first word that would spring into their minds would be ‘workaholic’ – but, in my defence, perhaps that is a prerequisite for becoming a principal. I would hope that my husband and daughter would also say that I am passionate about whatever I do, and that I care for people and the greater good.
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Stepping stones from school to adulthood Lincoln College is an unusual star in the Uniting Church SA’s education constellation. A residential college for over 200 university students, Lincoln is a stepping stone between school and the independence of adulthood. Arriving at the college from interstate, overseas and country South Australia, Lincoln residents embark on a path of adventure through tertiary education. The university college is a community of scholars and with this comes all the challenges and joys of living and studying together. Residents eat together, share facilities, play together and work towards common goals. They see each other at their worst and help each other to be their best. Lincoln students plan and participate in an amazing array of activities including sporting competitions, charity auctions, refugee homework study sessions, book clubs, pub nights, art exhibitions and creative writing competitions. At Lincoln, new patterns of thinking, acting and being are forged in an environment of conversation, participation, discovery, forgiveness and exploration. College staff are guides, mentors, touchstones and occasionally, but lastly, disciplinarians. Lincoln provides a place for students to turn mistakes into learning experiences. Staff are interested in the wellbeing of the whole person and the connection between who they are and what they do – something that the college’s residents are highly encouraged to work on as they learn about life in the adult world. During these years of growth and change, Lincoln’s core values assist residents in being ‘life ready’. These values are focussed on areas such as caring for others, developing innovative critical thinking and decision
making, encouraging informed debate and committed citizenship, building resilience, fostering healthy traditions, modelling sustainability and accountability, and celebrating accomplishments. The growing up process is fraught with tricky questions like: “What can I do with this Arts degree?” “Do I really want to practice law?” “Where can I go next and how do I get there?” The college offers industry panel nights and networking events, as well as access to a group of alumni who are willing to mentor and guide residents in tackling these questions, making crucial decisions and taking those all important next steps. Emerging adulthood is a time of change, risk, and occasional confusion. The Lincoln College philosophy, support structures and policies acknowledge and embrace this whilst ensuring a safe environment which enables residents to focus on their academic goals and personal development on the road to adulthood. Lincoln College is a residential college for tertiary students. For further information, visit lincoln.edu.au or call 8290 6000.
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What are your personal goals as a principal? My personal goal is to keep growing the scholarship and bursary fund at Lincoln so that our students are not disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control – we often forget that we need philanthropy in our own backyard. They hold our future in their hands, we want them to succeed. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a child I wanted to be an actor or the first female Prime Minister (wise decision there).
Getting to know... Bec Pannell, Lincoln College Principal
What do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time I am an amateur botanical artist with the Friends of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Botanical Art Group: our 10 year anniversary exhibition is on in November – come and visit! What is the wisest advice you’ve ever been given? The wisest advice I was ever given was by a former Council member – to remember to ask ‘what do you think?’ This advice has served me well.
What has been your most memorable, inspirational or entertaining moment in teaching/as a principal? My most memorable moments as Principal have been watching my students walk across the stage at graduation and then watching their parents heave a huge sigh of relief and pride – and of course all of the ‘thank you for looking after our son/daughter’ moments that come with it. I have huge gratitude for those moments in life.
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Strengthening Christian faith As a unique coeducational Anglican and Uniting Church school, Pedare is faced with the challenge of being relevant in today’s changing society. Only 15% of Pedare’s student body regularly attend a local church, which can prove challenging for staff who seek to teach with the school’s Christian values and principles in mind at all times. Pedare is an inclusive community that is open to all students regardless of religious affiliation. The entire school is enriched by the opportunity for students to share their different faith backgrounds in a supportive and understanding way. Pedare Christian College is a coeducational Anglican and Uniting Church Reception to Year 12 school. For more information, please visit pedarecc.sa.edu.au or call 8280 1700. Worship Program One of the most important activities in the life of the school is the Worship Program. The Chaplain and the Junior School Christian Life Coordinator present engaging, challenging and fun services where students get to learn about God, faith, compassion, service and acceptance. The program also includes a daily devotion and is conducted in all three sub-schools – Junior (Reception to Year 5), Middle (Years 6-9) and Senior (Years 10-12). Year 12 Religion Studies Pedare requires students to complete Year 12 Religion Studies as part of their full education program. The course focuses on religion and spirituality within the Anglican and Uniting traditions, also allowing space for students to learn about other traditions, and explores the religious basis of ethical and social justice issues. During the course of this compulsory study, students develop an understanding of religion as something living and dynamic through exploration of the ways in which religious beliefs can influence how people think, feel and act. The course has also proven beneficial for those wanting to continue their education at university level, with over 60% of Pedare’s Year 12 students able to use their results in Religion Studies to boost their ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, formerly Tertiary Entrance Rank or TER) for university entrance.
Christian Life Program An important part of the curriculum at Pedare is the Christian Life Program. The program is undertaken by all year levels from Reception to Year 12 and is intertwined with the weekly delivery of curriculum. Participating in the Christian Life Program provides the opportunity for students to consider the place God has in their lives whilst developing an understanding of Christian faith. The program forms a basis for students to make informed and considered decisions, which in turn assists with developing a sense of care and compassion for others. Below are some quotes from Pedare teachers involved with the Christian Life Program; these reflections demonstrate the range of topics and challenges posed by the program. “The Year 4 class has enjoyed learning how to apply Christian principles to everyday living by striving to show the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in their daily interactions with others and following Christ’s greatest commandment : to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.” – Ailsa Burne, Year 4 teacher “My students enjoyed the unit on families, in particular comparing their family unit with other cultures. They also considered God’s plan for families.” – Andrew Penny, Year 9 teacher “In the Year 7 class this term, we have been studying the Ten Commandments. The students have really struggled with this topic as they don’t think they do anything wrong. Making the commandments relevant to real life teaching situations raised a lot of interesting discussion. Having a large number of students in the class who are not Christian also makes the teaching of the ‘forgiveness we receive through Christ’s sacrifice’ complicated.” – Lisa Kuhlmann, Year 7 teacher
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What most motivates you? The thing that motivates me the most as a principal is that the work done in schools has such potential for good for all our students as they move into adulthood. The work of an educator is so positive and rewarding. We have the chance to encourage, support, inspire and keep safe the students in our care. We have the privilege to be in vibrant, everchanging and enriching work places. This is not a bad way to spend one’s working life!
Getting to know...
Mike Millard, Pedare Christian College Principal
What has been your most memorable, inspirational or entertaining moment in teaching/as a principal? Whilst no particular event stands out, I have had the good fortune of being told by a few former students that I had influenced, encouraged and inspired them to pursue a particular pathway beyond school. In a teaching career spanning decades you don’t need many of these ‘special’ moments to sustain and uplift you.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a farmer – partly because my mother’s family came from a farming background in the Mid-North of South Australia. As a child I enjoyed practical things and had a rather idealistic view of what it meant to be a wheat and sheep farmer in the Mid-North. I had little understanding of the sheer hard work and the constant demands of farming.
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Shared campus creates family feel Pilgrim School has something that sets it apart from other small schools; it shares its Aberfoyle Park site with two other primary schools – the School of the Nativity, based around the Catholic community, and Thiele Primary School, a public school. The result is a small Christian primary school, which gets to preserve its own identity, while being bolstered by a much larger cooperative learning environment. The leaders of the three schools work together in a ‘big-family-type atmosphere’ in order to plan and run the schools and to cooperate as educators, aiming to provide choice for families and a wonderful education for local children. Staff, parents and community leaders collaborate to provide a unique educational opportunity. Each school operates independently yet, in their cooperation with each other, they have the best of both worlds. There is a small school feel, where students and staff know each other well, combined with the facilities and resources of a much larger school. Across the campus there are shared sports teams, a shared uniform, shared state-of-the-art facilities, and shared identity – yet there are three distinctively different schools. “If I were to summarise the school in a brief statement, it would be this: ‘Pilgrim is a Christian school that shows God’s grace to all who enter its doors’,” explains Pilgrim School principal, Nigel Bennett. “Schools are about the future – they’re about hope, growth, vision and foundations for life,” Nigel continues. “The foundation of Pilgrim is the Cross of Christ, as evidenced through the school symbol. It is about sacrifice, love, forgiveness and being a servant.”
The gospel is regularly shared at Pilgrim by its staff, local church community members and especially by local Uniting Church folk from Seeds and Coromandel Valley Uniting Churches. Worship times occur twice weekly in the Performing Arts Centre, and are a highlight. All of the school staff members aim to teach the new Australian curriculum from a Christian perspective – a bigger challenge than one would think. God’s Word is read, studied and applied every day, by staff and students, providing a solid foundation for the challenges of life in our modern wired-up, connected world. “The campus of three schools is rather like being part of a large family – full of great opportunities, experiences, struggles, and sharing,” Nigel says. “The work in a school, like in a family, is often routine, sometimes tough but also delightful. “I would like to invite and encourage New Times readers to pray for our community, that God’s grace may continue to work in Aberfoyle Park through Pilgrim School.” Pilgrim School is a single-stream, Reception to Year 7 School. For more information about the school, visit pilgrim.sa.edu.au or call 8270 3033.
What most motivates you? Serving God, seeing children grow and develop, and seeing God’s faithfulness in many tough and sad situations. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A league footballer, a test cricketer and, a bit later, a meteorologist – I didn’t achieve any of these goals!
Getting to know... Nigel Bennett, Pilgrim School Principal
What is the strangest thing a student has ever said to you? One day, when I was working at a school in Sydney, a little girl knocked on the door of my office and calmly said; “Excuse me Mr Bennett, there’s a snake in the girls’ toilet.” There was and it was a very angry red-bellied black snake! Who has most inspired you in your career as an educator? Amongst many people, there are five that particularly stand out – three ministers, a principal, and my wife: Rev Peter Nicol – a radical Christian; Rev Brian Arthur – he has helped me understand God’s grace; Rev Rod Thompson – he has helped me understand
how to read, teach and use the scriptures well; Robert (Bob) Johnson – longstanding principal of John Wycliffe Christian School in the lower Blue Mountains, who showed grace, energy and passion for Christian education for many years and is still leading Christian schools in Australia; my wife, Libby, a creative artist, who has encouraged me to understand, persevere and be faithful. What is the wisest advice you’ve ever been given? The following quote is always pinned up somewhere in my office: “The world saw greatness as a pyramid where, the closer a man gets to the peak, the higher his prestige, the lighter his burdens and the more people he commands to serve him. Jesus inverted the pyramid so that the closer a person gets to the peak, the heavier the burden and the more people to care for in love for Christ’s sake. For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve. The disciples were slow to get the point; so are we.” – Leonard Griffith
eGive, it’s up to you. Choosing to financially contribute to your church is a truly personal choice.
UC Invest has a new initiative for 2013.
The UC Invest eGive program makes the practical side of giving easy. You choose how much and how often you wish to contribute – it’s up to you.
For every new sign up to eGive, UC Invest will contribute $20 direct to your congregation*.
We’ve made it simple, safe and secure to give from your bank account or credit card. In fact over 1,500 people in our Uniting Church community are already giving in this way.
*Some conditions apply - offer starts from 1 May 2013. UC Invest is an activity of The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (S.A.) ABN 25 068 897 781, the legal entity of the Uniting Church SA. Investment services are provided on behalf of the Uniting Church SA pursuant to ASIC Policy Statement 87 exemptions and APRA Banking Exemption No. 1 of 2011 (“The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (S.A.)”). Neither UC Invest nor the Uniting Church SA are prudentially supervised by APRA. Investments and contributions lodged with UC Invest will not benefit from the depositor protection provisions of the Banking Act (1959). All products offered by UC Invest are designed for investors who wish to promote the charitable purposes of the Uniting Church SA.
Visit ucinvest.com.au/eGive or call 1300 274 151 to find out more. Your Minister or Treasurer can also provide you with information about giving with eGive.
8261 8211 All hours
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start A child’s first steps in junior school life are most important. Their self-concept as a learner is formed. Their communication skills develop. Their self-confidence around others begins to grow. And their love of learning and self-respect is established. At Scotch they will grow and benefit from low student/teacher ratios, the very best academic staff, a broad curriculum that blends ‘traditional’ subjects with agriculture, viticulture, performing arts and unique environmental and outdoor education opportunities. And Scotch provides them with the only dedicated fully equipped junior science laboratory for them to explore and understand their world. At Scotch, we firmly believe the position you end up achieving, strongly reflects your starting place. Book a tour online or for enrolment enquiries please contact email@example.com or telephone the Registrar on 8274 4209 SCA0347
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Getting the balance right The debate about single sex education is a long standing one – parents are often divided on the subject of co-ed or single sex. At Prince Alfred College (PAC), staff feel that there is no debate. Boys develop differently to girls, and mature much later; they develop socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally at different rates. Boys learn at their own pace, and learning often drops off if classroom discipline is not maintained. The PAC staff know that boys learn best when they are happy and confident, and that their sense of wellbeing is central to their ability to learn. At PAC, the aim is to develop men who will engage in the world with confidence and compassion, while maximising their academic and all-round potential. Kevin Tutt, the Headmaster of PAC, believes that getting this right begins with the teachers. “We look for a number of qualities in our staff,” Kevin explains. “The first is passion – a genuine love of teaching and an enthusiasm for learning. We also look for staff who are able to form strong relationships with our students. “Our teachers understand that, at the heart of it, praise, competition and challenge are important for boys,” Kevin continues. “Boys learn by being hands on – they have a tremendous amount of energy, are active learners and they learn best when they enjoy what they are doing.”
But most importantly, Kevin believes that boys have a quirky sense of humour, and that “understanding the sense of mischief and humour of our students is the secret tool of many of the teachers at Prince Alfred College.” PAC seeks to give students the foundations to become confident, competent and compassionate men by developing independence, selfdiscipline, integrity and a sense of self-worth and social responsibility. Prince Alfred College is a day and boarding school for boys, offering classes from Early Learning to Year 12.
A personal perspective Lucas Lovell, a 2009 graduate of PAC
I left my co-ed primary school when I was 13 and it was the turning point in my life. Right from the start the things I loved doing were suddenly 'cool'. I felt comfortable trying new things, whether it was in the arts, academics or the sporting field; effort and success were genuinely praised by those around you. It was a culture grounded upon taking opportunities and building experience; something embraced by both students and staff. My experience at PAC has convinced me that boys and girls learn differently, both socially and academically.
Teachers and classes were focussed entirely on teaching boys. A typical school day was very different to what I had previously experienced, integrating physical activity and an acceptance that boys behave and learn differently. I know many of us would say that they are more confident around the opposite sex for having undertaken single-sex education. Boys and girls at single-sex schools are forced to expand their social groups beyond their own classrooms. Building the confidence to meet new people outside your circle is a skill that proves useful well beyond one’s school years.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher – my Year 9 teacher, Miss Taylor, was inspirational. My passion for the job has never diminished. What is the best advice you have ever been given? Follow your bliss.
Getting to know...
Kevin Tutt, Prince Alfred College Principal
What has been the most inspirational moment as a Headmaster? Having a student say, “Mr Tutt, when I grow up I want to sit in your office.”
What do you like to do in your spare time? Travel – there is a beautiful world out there and I want to see as much of it as I can. What are your personal goals as a Headmaster? To achieve PAC’s vision to develop men who will engage in the world with confidence and compassion while challenging and inspiring them to maximise their academic and all-round potential.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it? I’d teach. I miss my everyday classroom contact with the students, so I’d choose to read books like Are You My Mother? by Dr Seuss and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney to the Early Learners and Junior Primary boys.
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Two Heads are better than one Tim Oughton, Scotch College Principal
About this time last year, my wife and I began a real journey of discovery – we traded places with Hugh and Yvonne Ouston from Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, Scotland, the school where Hugh is Headmaster. Senior students at both Scotch and Robert Gordon’s have been taking part in exchanges between Scotland and Australia for several years, but we were keen to try something new. So, with the support of governing councils and senior management from both schools, Hugh and I initiated a ‘Principal Swap’– something we believe to be the first of its kind to occur between Australasia and the United Kingdom. Hugh and I have known each other professionally for several years and had visited each other’s schools prior to the swap. However, an exchange is different from a mere visit – while you do learn from visiting other schools, there’s always an element of seeing their best side. An exchange or swap of this nature allows you to get to know a school from the inside out, the most challenging elements as well as the best. At Robert Gordon’s, I was able to say exactly what I thought about many different aspects of the school. While it was clear that, as a visiting headmaster, I couldn’t make any solid decisions about the management of the school, I had carte blanche to be involved in the processes taking place there – an experience that I found incredibly rewarding. Now, eight months after the completion of the exchange, I have been able to reflect on just how valuable and successful the project has been and, most importantly, how such a relatively simple idea has refreshed and reinvigorated my passion for Scotch and my enthusiasm for education in general. New strategic opportunities for both schools arose out of our conversations and already some have been put into practice. I was particularly impressed by the high academic standards demanded in the Scottish Qualifications System and the methods many schools were using to regularly monitor and report on student achievements.
Hugh and Yvonne Ouston from Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, Scotland
Their target setting and tracking of individual accomplishments was most effective, and is something that we have incorporated into our new digital Learning Management System that was rolled out in Term 2 this year. To ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’ in another educational setting is both a challenge and an opportunity; challenging in that so much is unfamiliar (even the accents!) while providing the opportunity to explore new systems and practices. Both Hugh and I can state, unequivocally, that this has been the most stimulating professional learning that we have ever undertaken. Scotch College is a coeducational day and boarding school that caters to students from Early Learning to Year 12. For more information, please visit scotch.sa.edu.au or call 8274 4333.
What most motivates you – both in your workplace and in your wider life? Making people motivated, engaged and happy. What are your personal goals as a principal? To create a school with an enviable record and students who are good people with lifelong learning capability.
Who has most inspired you in your career as an educator? My mother. What is the wisest advice you’ve ever been given? ‘Don't sweat the small stuff.’
What’s the strangest thing a student has ever said to you? “Why did you go into this job – I mean you could have done so much more!”
Getting to know...
What do you like to do in your spare time? I go fishing in remote places without my phone.
Tim Oughton, Scotch College Principal
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Wellbeing through positive psychology Anne Johnstone, Seymour College Principal
Positive psychology, often referred to as the science of flourishing or optimal functioning, is a relatively new branch of psychology that promotes wellbeing. Positive psychology encourages individuals to create lives filled with meaning, engagement, resilience, accomplishment and positive relationships. At Seymour College, we believe this is vitally important in seeking to provide an excellent education for our girls as it not only helps develop character but also promotes learning and achievement. In particular, positive psychology enables us to help our students discover their own strengths and learn how to harness these to find a greater sense of engagement, flow and meaning, so as to optimise their learning and experiences both within and beyond the classroom. Positive psychology also assists with encouraging our girls to see strengths in each other, and teaching them how to foster good relationships. During Professor Martin Seligman’s final lecture as South Australia’s Thinker-in-Residence on 19 February this year, it was argued that “wellbeing is a birth-right” and that this should be an individual, community and national goal. Prof Seligman shared compelling research in positive psychology that has found the critical components in building wellbeing are building positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment (encapsulated in the acronym PERMA). He referred to evidence that demonstrates building PERMA reduces depression and anxiety, helps promote better relationships and could contribute to higher achievement, greater success in life and even optimising physical health. Importantly, the research is clear – building wellbeing also bolsters academic achievement. Indeed, in the area of ‘accomplishment’ (the ‘A’ of PERMA) there is much research in positive psychology and in neuroscience that demonstrates the importance of ‘grit’ – tenacious, dogged perseverance – and how this develops the brain and optimises learning and accomplishment.
Putting theory in practice – Seymour’s journey so far Earlier this year, the Seymour leadership team attended training led by a team of scholars and instructors who specialise in positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. This enabled us to explore recent research in this area and receive the benefit of intensive training by some of the world’s leading experts. We have also had the privilege of an expert consultant working with the staff, as well as workshops for staff and parents, and teacher focus groups. Since this time, we have begun developing a ‘scope and sequence’ for implementing positive psychology initiatives. As staff, we are working to help our students master strategies in this regard, establishing helpful thinking patterns and developing a positive self-concept. We also continue to strive to foster strength of character through cultivating resilience and the capacity to persevere, as well as developing tenacity in the pursuit of goals. As a pilot project, we used positive psychology to enrich the visual arts curriculum and, thus, promote a powerful ‘strengths focus’ while working on developing critical and visual literacy skills for students. We have used a range of approaches including: collaborative activities identifying artworks across a range of media that employ symbolism or exemplify certain clusters of character strengths as a way to begin conversations about the nature of values and strengths in action; students exchanging stories about when they have been most proud of themselves or have identified strengths in other classmates, using these as the basis for a mural of class strengths; detailed selfportraits based on strengths to provide students with an opportunity to reflect and focus on who they are from the perspective of what is ‘right’ with them. These units of work offered intensive skills development and a deeper conceptual understanding while aiming to bolster student wellbeing through the visual arts curriculum so that students can harness their strengths to serve a cause greater than themselves. Seymour College looks forward to hosting a conference on Positive Education on Saturday 7 September this year where educators and other community members will have the opportunity to hear from experts and practitioners in the burgeoning area of student wellbeing. For more information on this event, please use the contact information below. Seymour is a single-sex girls’ day and boarding school catering to students from Pre-School to Year 12. For more information, please visit seymour.sa.edu.au or call 8303 9000.
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What are your personal goals as a principal? My primary goal is to help our Seymour girls flourish, as learners and as people. I hope that, with the help of our outstanding staff, I can help these girls fulfil their potential, find a great sense of engagement and meaning in their studies and in their lives, encourage them to be ‘other-person centred’ and make a positive contribution to the world both within and beyond our gates. I also hope that I can help inspire and enrich the staff and broader community through my work.
Getting to know...
Anne Johnstone, Seymour College Principal
What most motivates you – both in your workplace and in your wider life? I am motivated by making a positive contribution to others. I hope that as a principal I can truly enrich the lives of students through helping to provide them with an outstanding education. I feel the Seymour motto, Crescam Ministrando (‘I grow by serving’) is a deeply motivating ethos and really resonates with my own Christian faith and how I strive to live my life.
Preparing for life – beyond university At Westminster, everyday school life incorporates the values and philosophies of both the Uniting Church and Round Square, a global initiative that plays a pivotal role in the school’s holistic approach to learning. Round Square is an international association of nearly 100 schools that share a commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. Each Round Square school offers students a range of projects to assist them in learning how to be of service to others locally, nationally or internationally. Westminster embraces the program’s philosophy of preparing students for life beyond university, focussing on developing each student into a ‘whole person’ – academically, physically, culturally and spiritually. The school achieves this by focussing on the six pillars of the Round Square program, which are defined by the acronym IDEALS – Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. Below are just some of the ways Westminster assists students in connecting with the pillars of Internationalism and Service. The pillar of Internationalism encourages students to value and respect all cultures, religions and languages. Students learn to see themselves as global citizens, and are asked to look beyond gender, class, race, nationality and culture to understand human nature. This is achieved by encouraging students to participate in an array of activities including: international conferences, global and regional student exchanges, the school’s own community overseas service projects and GAP years. Cultural and musical exchanges are also popular between Westminster and many fellow member schools,
including Daly College in India and Tamagawa Academy in Japan. Additionally, Westminster sponsors students at Starehe Boys’ Centre and School in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tiger Kloof School in South Africa. The Service pillar inspires students to achieve and learn for life by undertaking community service hours in school-sponsored, local, regional or international projects. Round Square International Service Projects bring together young people from a variety of member schools to work on initiatives that cater to the needs of particular communities in developing countries. Westminster attendees have been involved in projects in Cambodia, Canada, India, Kenya, South Africa and Thailand. Closer to home, Westminster School has an extensive service learning program in which students volunteer with numerous community partners, including Uniting Care, Moorundie Wildlife Reserve, Resthaven Marion, Riding for the Disabled and the Red Dove Café at the Royal Adelaide Show. One of the key Westminster programs is supporting the Community Accommodation and Respite Agency, in which students provide a four day camping experience for children with disabilities. Westminster School takes great pride in its vibrant and supportive community, which includes an active network of Old Scholars who continue their life-long learning through the engagement of the IDEALS taught through Round Square programs. Westminster School is an Early Learning to Year 12 coeducational day and boarding school. For more information, please visit westminster.sa.edu.au or call 8276 0276.
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What most motivates you? Doing what I can to help others is the biggest motivator in my professional life. Most explicitly this translates to aiming to provide an environment where every young person will develop their attributes to the full. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a veterinary surgeon but somehow, at a young age, the qualifications seemed ‘out of reach’. Now that I am qualified to this level, I wonder if this is what I would choose if I had my time over again.
Getting to know...
Steve Bousfield, Westminster School Principal
What do you like to do in your spare time? I try to spend some time attempting to keep fit and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. I enjoy gardening and cooking. I exercise through cycling and working out with a personal trainer at the gym. I love travelling to Asia, and I regularly visit the UK to spend time with family. Who has most inspired you in your career as an educator? My first Chemistry teacher, Mr Bill Shaw, was an inspiration for me both in studying Chemistry and going into education. Bill was always entertaining, trusting and brought the subjects he taught to ‘life’.
Minister of the Word or Ministry of Pastor Wagin Group of Congregations Wagin Western Australia Applications are invited from Ministers of the Word or Pastors to fill a vacancy based in Wagin, WA. The successful applicant will have: • theology in line with, and supportive of, the reformed and evangelical tradition, • a passion to build up the next generation of believers, • a leadership style which welcomes and encourages lay participation and development. For further information, contact the JNC Chairperson, Rev Alistair Melville on 0439 940 997 or the Church Council Chairperson, Mr Ian Pederick (08) 9861 2612
Applications should be addressed to: Associate General Secretary(Pastoral) Uniting Church in Australia Synod of WA, GPO Box M952, Perth WA 6843
EXECUTIVE OFFICER MISSION RESOURCING SA Uniting Church in Australia Presbytery and Synod of South Australia Applications are invited from enthusiastic, exceptionally gifted and highly motivated members of the Uniting Church, either ordained or laypersons, to this senior leadership position within the Church. The task embraces the functions of: • leading and managing all matters relating to the Mission Resourcing SA Ministry Centre • high level leadership across the Presbytery and Synod The successful applicant will have: • a passion for the mission of God through the Uniting Church • exceptional visionary leadership • the ability to build and maximise the potential of a high quality staff team • leadership, management and administrative skills that concentrate on delivering quality service that will energise a complex organisation • the capacity to think strategically and manage multiple complex issues at the same time • disciplined thinking and a capacity to manage change combined with a pastoral heart • the ability to continue to increase the level of missional momentum This is an exciting opportunity for a church embracing challenging times. A full information pack and Position Description is available from Tracey Bost, Executive Assistant to the CEO/General Secretary, 82364232 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close 4pm Friday 30 August 2013. Please forward applications to: Rev Dr Graham Humphris, CEO/General Secretary, GPO Box 2145, Adelaide SA 5001 or email@example.com
diary ANNIVERSARY Salisbury Uniting Church (corner of Park & Brown Terrace) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Uniting In Care Salisbury Inc. on Sunday 11 August at 10am. A light lunch will be served after the service. Enquiries to the church office on 8258 2675. STATE MISSION FELLOWSHIP, Tuesday 27 August, 10.30am at Scots Church, Adelaide. Rev Ian Dow will speak about Kiribati. All welcome to join us before for morning tea and stay for lunch afterwards. Enquiries to Lesley on 8261 3843. To have your upcoming event or message published here, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.
classifieds RESTORE your phonographic records or tapes to near original quality & preserve them on CD Restore your faded 35mm slides to bright colour and preserve them on DVD. Ask us about VHS or MiniDV video tape & 8mm film to DVD conversion, SA MEDIAWORKS, Kent Town SA Ph: 8362 2251 email@example.com Send your letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 2145, Adelaide 5001. Be topical, be brief, be timely. Letters over 150 words will be edited; responses to previous letters /articles will be considered within two months of the original item’s publication only. All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.
Internship – New Times Are you interested in a future in journalism or communications? If you are currently a tertiary student or recent graduate of Journalism, Communications or a related field, New Times, the award-winning newspaper for the Uniting Church SA, is offering an internship that will bolster your growing knowledge with hands-on experience and mentoring. Interested candidates must have plans to pursue a vocation in Journalism or Communications and an affiliation with the Uniting Church. Applications must include a cover letter, response to the position description and a resume (no longer than two pages and including at least two referees). The role is a three month, permanent part-time (0.4 FTE) internship. For more information, or to apply, please contact the New Times Editor: Catherine Hoffman p. 8236 4230 e. email@example.com
SHARE | BELONG | SUCCEED
â€œEDUCAtiON Of tHE HEARt iS tHE HEARt Of EDUCAtiONâ€? This quote speaks volumes of the role education should play in the lives of young people, along with the responsibility on all of us in the education system, to instil a love for learning which is deeper and more meaningful than just the offerings of the curriculum. Too often we hear about the focus on NAPLAN and student performance, which in turn has seen governments focus on the curriculum. This has meant potentially the most important part of what education is about can be missed: young people developing a love of learning. Creating an environment where students develop a love for learning through engagement, and where every student is encouraged to reach their full potential by striving for excellence in all that they do, is difficult
with the demands placed on educators to meet set standards. Yet, it is developing a love for education that enables young people to learn. Learning should be fun, and teachers have the responsibility for making sure students are engaged each day by a curriculum that is relevant, accessible and purposeful; a curriculum that prepares young people for their place in a world beyond the gates of school. The Middle School at Pedare Christian College is a place where we aim to develop a love for learning amongst our students through the offering of a diverse curriculum; a curriculum that is living and evolving to engage and meet the needs of the young people in our care. Our vision is to keep building on the strong foundations in place and continue to develop a sense of love of learning in our students. David Nolan, Head of Middle School
R-12 Anglican & Uniting Church School | Phone: 8280 1700 www.pedarecc.sa.edu.au | Golden Grove
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Learn. Lead. Live.
Learn. Lead. Live. These three words have been carefully chosen as the new tagline for Uniting College for Leadership & Theology, reflecting the tertiary institution’s commitment to learning that has practical implications for all aspects of life. “People study with us for a wide range of reasons, from personal exploration of theology and Christian discipleship, to training for chaplaincy, leadership and of course practical ministry,” says Uniting College Principal, Rev Dr Steve Taylor.
“Personally, I'm incredibly committed to helping every person find and fulfil their personal mission in our world,” he continues. “Our faculty and team are also committed to that – serving and empowering people not just to know more, but to discover how it can change their life and the lives of those in their communities and neighbourhoods.” “Because our courses range from a VET certificate through bachelors, masters and then doctoral level, we have a very diverse, growing community of students across several generations,” Steve explains. Uniting College also offers courses and individual subjects which can be credited towards degrees undertaken at other universities. The college provides the added flexibility of distance learning, which is sometimes a preferred or more convenient method of study. “Our mandate is to develop life-long disciples and effective leaders for a healthy, missional church, who are passionate,
Uniting College Logo, with new tagline
Christ-centred, highly skilled mission oriented practitioners,” Steve concludes. Uniting College for Leadership & Theology provides tertiary education and vocational training in Christian leadership, theology and ministry. The college teaches courses both as part of the Adelaide College of Divinity consortium and on behalf of Flinders University. To find out more, please visit unitingcollege.org.au or call 8416 8420.
Tackling tough questions Craig Mitchell, Director of Christian Education & Discipleship at Uniting College
When I began studying theology, it was like someone set off a bomb inside my head. My brain was inundated with a crashing wave of amazing ideas and information about God, the universe, and why the world is the way it is. In earlier years, I had been part of a church youth group but had drifted away.
Upon returning, a few years later, I was full of questions: How do you know God exists? What difference does that make anyway? If there’s a God, why is the world such a mess? Do I, as an individual, matter in the cosmic scheme of things? How can the Bible be reliable when it’s a pre-scientific book of religious myths? Are Christians supposed to be different, or are they just as messed up as everyone else? Studying theology introduced me to a world of rich resources that helped me to tackle these questions, including excellent teachers, a wealth of literature and a large number of other students whose opinions challenged my ideas and sparked debate. I found clarity of understanding through the study of biblical writings; exploring the
times, places and cultures from which these writings originated, helped me to make sense of them. I loved learning about Christian ethics because I could finally wrestle with big issues of right and wrong, morality and virtue. In subjects about practical ministry, I realised that I possessed a passion for working with people; this realisation shaped my vocation from that day forward. Compared with my other university studies (in economics, media and communication), theological study has changed and formed me much more deeply – impacting on my beliefs, my values, how I see the world and how I live in it. Studying theology and ministry has been an awesome experience for me – it opened doors and helped me discover my vocation. Could it do the same thing for you?
Old Testament has modern relevance Dr Liz Boase, Co-Director of Biblical Studies at Uniting College
I spend most of my working life reading, analysing, writing and talking about texts that were written 2000-3000 years ago. Texts that were written in another language, in another part of the world, for a group of people whose life and experience, it would seem, could not be further removed from our own. And I love doing it. As a lecturer in Old Testament, I constantly come up against the question of what I love about these ancient texts – why am I fascinated by them and what have they got to do with anything? My response – what’s not to love? These writings have so much to say to us today. There is a real stereotype about the Old Testament. It’s full of smiting, anger, violence and judgment. A lot of people think that the God of the Old Testament is somehow different to the God of the New Testament, so we might as well not bother so much with the Old anyway. But that’s a long way from my experience. We may think that the life and experiences of the people we meet in the Old Testament are far removed from our own, but really they’re not. These writings deal with the big questions in life – the ones we’re still grappling with today. Where did we come from? Why is life complicated? Why do people have trouble relating to others? Why do nations fight against each other?
What does it mean to live in a community with other people, and how do we do that well and fairly? Why is it that some rise to power? Why do some leaders lead well, looking out for the interests of those in their care, and why do some leaders abuse their power and look out only for their own interests? How do we live life well and to the fullest? Is prosperity only about material wealth and gain – or is it about something else all together? What do we do and where do we turn when things go wrong in our lives? Then there are the really big questions: Why does suffering occur – especially innocent suffering? Where is God when people suffer? What is the meaning of life, especially given the inevitability of death? These are the sorts of big questions that I encounter all the time as I read, and analyse, and write, and talk about the Old Testament. These are the sorts of questions human beings have been dealing with since the beginning of time. In the history, the laws, the prayers, the colourful stories and the soaring poetry, these are the big questions I have the fun and the privilege to deal with every day. What’s not to love?
Keen to explore faith and life at a deeper level? Big Year Out is a two-day a week flexible Certificate IV in Christian life and Ministry, which can be combined with existing study (Uni or TAFE) or part-time work. The program specifically designed for young people, combining teaching with practical, real-life experiences whilst exploring Christian faith and life at a deeper level. Its three core purposes are: • To explore God • To explore yourself (how God has shaped you) • To discern your vocation (what God is calling you to do in this world) The program includes two three-day retreats, a five-day Mission Immersion in inner-city Melbourne, eight Special Encounter Experiences around Adelaide, weekly Group Focus Experiences and individual life coaching sessions over the course of the year. Enrolment for Cert IV is through the Adelaide College of Divinity. To find out more about how you can get involved in 2014, contact Uniting College on 8416 8420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREEDOM 29 – 31 August 2013 www.lwc2013.com
Experience God, discover hope and get real about the challenges of living in a broken world. Visit www.lwc2013.com or call 08 8261 1844 for details. @Lifewellconf facebook.com/LifewellConference
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Finding a path
Nicole Mugford always knew she wanted to help people. After finishing high school, Nicole enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of South Australia, believing this would set her down a career path that would cater to her passion for helping others. However, about half way through her first year of the course,
Nicole realised that this degree wasn’t for her. “Why don’t you study ministry?” – was the question posed by many of Nicole’s friends, particularly those at Hope Valley Uniting Church, which she attended regularly. While Nicole could identify with why people were directing her towards studying ministry, she was fearful of living in a Christian ‘bubble’. The idea of studying with other Christians who moved in the same circles was unappealing to Nicole, who always relished risk-taking and stepping outside of comfort zones. She didn’t want to ‘live her faith safe’. When chatting about her future with a few leaders from her church, Nicole first learnt about Uniting College. The flexibility of the tertiary institution, which gives students
the option of studying one subject at a time, really suited Nicole’s frame of mind. After enrolling, Nicole quickly discovered that the college was refreshingly diverse – not only in the types of people studying there but in the range of study options available, different theologies and variety of courses. She felt free to learn, explore opinions and ask questions in a professional learning environment with knowledgeable staff – staff who actually knew her name! At the college, Nicole found that she was treated as an individual who had been called, rather than just one student among many. Nicole is currently studying a Bachelor of Ministry at Uniting College, supplementing that with a Certificate IV in Youth Work; she’s decided on a career as a youth pastor.
From doctor to chaplain
Cheryl Wilson was always a good student at school and, although shy and reserved, she always knew she wanted to attend university. However, in her final year of high school, Cheryl struggled to determine what she wanted to study next – should she be a veterinarian? A teacher? Or something else entirely? A chance-made remark from one of her teachers convinced Cheryl to become a doctor. After completing her tertiary studies, Cheryl married a farmer and moved to Mt Gambier where she worked in general practice and obstetrics.
“Over the years I was able to combine having my own family with part-time work,” Cheryl recalls. “I developed a special interest in obstetrics and delivered babies at the Mount Gambier Hospital for 20 years.” Cheryl also worked in Continuing Medical Education, tutored International Medical Graduates and GPs preparing for their Fellowship exams, taught medical students as a lecturer with Flinders University, and completed a post-graduate Diploma in Clinical Education. But in 2007 she made a decision that surprised many – she began a period of discernment after feeling that God was calling her to further ministry. Cheryl had been raised in a Christian home and, although she had undergone some rocky moments in her younger years, had been involved in supporting lay ministry at her local church. “I was – and still am! – passionate about lay ministry in the local congregation, and quite content in my family and work situations. I saw my work [as a medical practitioner] as a vital and effective ministry
in itself, and did not want anything to change,” Cheryl explains. “However, I felt an unexpected and inexplicable conviction of needing to trust and follow God into this, despite the uncertainty it brought. In 2008, I candidated for ministry, and began a Bachelor of Theology with Flinders University through Uniting College.” Cheryl was ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in January of this year. She now works as a full-time chaplain at Eldercare on the Yorke Peninsula. “I have appreciated enormously the flexibility of Uniting College in allowing me to complete the majority of my subjects by distance education, while continuing to work part-time in Mount Gambier,” Cheryl says. “I have found studying theology extremely stimulating, although challenging at times. Uniting College provided a nurturing and supportive community for my spiritual growth and formation to take place, while equipping me with practical skills for ministry and for helping others grow.”
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School provides foundations for faith Anton van Bavel
Placements News Placements finalised since the June edition of New Times: Robyn Caldicott (Candidate for MOW) to Ascot Community Uniting Church (0.8) from 1 February 2014. Rev Douglas Monaghan to Campbelltown Uniting Church from 1 November 2013. Upcoming Special Services: Rev Rob Tann, Kangaroo Island Linked Congregations Sunday 11 August at 10.30am, to be held at Kingscote. Ordination Service: To be held at Adelaide West Uniting Church on Sunday 8 September at 2pm: Robyn Caldicott, Candidate for MOW Lyn Leane, Candidate for Deacon Albert Patrizi, Candidate for Deacon Christine Manning, Candidate for MOW For information on vacant placements, please visit sa.uca.org.au/pastoral-relations/placements-vacant
When appointed to head the Australian Fair Pay Commission in 2005, Professor Ian Harper (who will speak at the South Australian Prayer Breakfast this year) explained how his Christian faith intersected with his work – “It brings me a set of values that I carry into my life.” A Uniting Church education at Prince Alfred College offered me a similar grounding, providing a foundation of Christian values that I will always carry. For my parents, the quality of the education was the primary consideration in making the sacrifices necessary to send me to Prince Alfred College. We had no Uniting Church connection or history in our family and, whilst Christian faith was present in my upbringing, we were not regular churchgoers. This would be the same for many other parents who choose to send their children to Uniting Church schools. But Uniting Church schools should also provide something different, more than just a good quality academic curriculum. They should offer holistic education in an environment in which individuals can reflect upon and develop their values and morality, guided by Christ; learning what shapes people well beyond their school years. Christian principles and commitment to scholarship, service and care were the essence of my educational experience. A passage of Scripture that stands out from my time at school, and summarises the values I carry with me, is
Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings.” Upon completing my schooling, I did not immediately seek a church community or sense a call to ministry. However, I did embark on the next phase of my life with an enduring set of Christian values that I strongly attribute to my experiences and learning at Prince Alfred College. This foundation was essential to the choices and decisions I made as a young adult, ultimately leading me to worship in, and work for, the Uniting Church. When asked whether there is a continuing role for the Uniting Church to play in education, I say absolutely. We cannot decline the opportunity to positively influence generations of students who might not otherwise hear the Gospel message, nor can we rest on our laurels as we continue to explore what a Uniting Church education means today and in the future. Anton was a student of Prince Alfred College from 1997 until 2001. In his work as Governance Officer, UnitingCare in the Presbytery and Synod Office, he supports the work of agency and school boards, including Prince Alfred College. He is also Pastor at Woodside Uniting Church.
Happy 50th Birthday Lifeline Adelaide