“Nobody studies alone at Moore College and certainly nobody successfully completes a course of study on their own,” acting principal the Rev Dr Simon Gillham told the audience at this year’s graduation ceremony. “There'll be 101 different sets of stories of all the support that's gone behind a successful completion of studies for those who are graduating today.”

Online diplomas to PhDs were celebrated by the crowd in the City Recital Hall as students received their awards. Twenty had completed the Diploma of Biblical Theology, including Dr Su-Lin Chong – who has just been appointed honorary secretary to the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia – and Jude Marie, currently attached to St Paul's Cathedral in the Anglican Diocese of Seychelles.

A further 18 students received the advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission and Ministry, a course that aims to provide a biblical foundation for lay ministry in a congregation or a Christian organisation, so graduates can be better equipped as a Christian in the workforce.

After three years of full-time study, another 20 students received a Bachelor of Theology degree, while two students were awarded the Associate Degree of Theology (two years).

The Bachelor of Divinity (BD) forms the core of the college's academic program, providing the opportunity for students to specialise in the biblical languages of Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew as well as having a strong emphasis on Christian Scripture, Christian thought and Christian practice.

One of the 29 graduates, Hosea Luy, was interviewed and spoke of growing up in Minto, southwestern Sydney, and his path to full-time ministry. 

“My parents, they're refugees from Cambodia and very thankfully and fortunately they became Christians in a refugee camp in Thailand,” he said. “The people who invested in me over the years, mentored me, they'd all gone to Moore College… I've been so thankful for the community of college, and that includes people that I've met for the first time at college – whether that be in prayer groups or studying alongside them.”

Hosea and his wife Jess have moved to St Michael’s Cathedral in Wollongong where Hosea will be an assistant minister, taking care of the morning family congregation and the Easy English congregation.

Six candidates achieved a Master of Arts in Theology and two were granted PhDs. PhD graduate Vivian Cheung serves at St Phil’s, Caringbah with her husband and also lectures at Youthworks College. “I ended up doing a Master's thesis on ‘calling’ in 1 Corinthians,” she told the gathering. “I still couldn't work out the answer and so my PhD topic was the ‘calling’ motif in Romans because I think that's where the answer lies.”

Dr Cheung hopes her work will be used for God’s glory. “Academically, [calling] is something that hasn't been explored much at all in the Pauline scholarship and so I'm hoping that it might start conversations. And in terms of… people who want to do ministry, I actually want to encourage them to work out what Paul is saying about calling. We often are so focused with the terms of calling – about our tasks and our function – when I think it is actually much more about relationship and what God has given us by his grace.”  

Leadership and perseverance

Two college staff, the Rev Dr Paul Grimmond and Rev Dr Archie Poulos, were recognised for higher awards earned at other institutions. 

Dr Grimmond, who is the Dean of Students, obtained a Doctor of Ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His major research project was an eight-week program designed to help Christian preachers develop appropriate applications in preaching.

Dr Poulos is head of Moore’s ministry department and graduated from the University of Western Sydney. The work for his PhD thesis, “The Assessment of Professional Leadership Competency with Application to Faith-Based Settings”, has already been used to help identify better alignment between people and roles in the Diocese, and develop more specific training pathways for people in Christian leadership.

Former lecturer the Rev Dr Ed Loane gave the address and spoke about perseverance in ministry, using the example of Colonial chaplain Richard Johnson – “a man who knew how to face difficulties in ministry”.

“There will be difficulties and there will be dangers ahead of you,” Dr Loane said. “There will be temptations and there will be things pulling you away. Richard Johnson didn't deny those things were there, but his belief in God's work – that it was God's work, not ours – his effort to proclaim Christ, not himself, his focus on the eternal, not the temporary… put all of those fears in perspective and they enabled him to face those challenges with courage. 

“That's the DNA that began ministry in this country, that's the DNA that's ingrained in a Moore College education and that will be the backbone of you persevering in the years ahead. I trust that you will have that DNA in you, too.”

Feature Photo: Students sing during the graduation ceremony. Credit: Tim Robinson, World View Productions