When people think of Moore College students they usually envisage a younger person sitting in a lecture theatre in Newtown – but the college has hundreds of other students who are studying in their homes, in school or even overseas.
That diversity was on show last month at the distance graduation
That diversity was on show last month as the college hosted a graduation ceremony for students of its distance programs. This year, 133 men and women received awards with graduands coming to the ceremony from all over the greater Sydney area, interstate and even from Hong Kong.
“The distance graduation is one of the true highlights of my year,” says the Rev Dr Chase Kuhn, the college’s Director of Distance Education. “I most enjoy hearing the wonderful testimonies of how men and women of various ages and stages continue to study to be equipped for kingdom service around the world.
"One of the true highlights"
“This year we heard from high school students considering mission; from stay-at-home mothers who persevered in study while raising their children; from a man in jail who has been studying with his chaplain, and from a medical student who wanted to keep growing in biblical knowledge while she grows in biological knowledge!”
Moore has offered correspondence programs for more than 75 years
For more than 75 years, Moore College has been offering correspondence programs to train men and women, most notably in the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC). Through a network of partnerships, the resources of the PTC are also now being used by thousands of people around the world in more than 18 languages. Some, like Tin Thing Yow, proceed slowly at first and then attain a higher level of qualification.
“When I first started it was nine years ago, and I started with PTC,” she says. “The Introduction to the Bible is really good. It gave me the foundation. I came in with the intention to just equip myself, so I would be ready to do anything in any way [to] defend the gospel and share the good news.
“So, moving forward from now on, if God has opened the door, hopefully I can go with my husband to India for mission. We will see how God might lead us.”
"If God has opened the door..I can go with my husband to India for mission"
Likewise, Annette Calwell took some time to get through the course but graduated with first-class honours.
“I think it took me about four years to get through stage one,” she says. “I’ve been more sure for myself that the Bible does all hang together and it's self-supporting. So that's encouraged me in my conversations with people outside the church… that I can talk with great certainty about the love of God and his power in their lives.”
There were even school students who graduated
Michael Walsh has been studying for two years through Pacific Hills Christian School and says the course has given him the big picture of ‘the wholeness of Scripture’.
“I think the fact that the Bible was written over such a long period of time by so many different authors and yet it is interlaced, interwoven, it's full of references to different parts,” he says. “We might think of it as Old Testament or New Testament or prophecy [but] it's God's word. It's all God's word and being able to study that and see the wholeness of it is really cool.”
Moore is committed to distance education
Dr Kuhn says the college is committed to distance education. “As a College, we see PTC as a valuable part of our mission to the world. We want men and women everywhere to have access to trustworthy resources that will help them grow in their love and knowledge of God.”
Janette McCool came from Hong Kong to attend the graduation ceremony. “There have been times when it's been a love-hate relationship [with assessments],” she told the audience at the ceremony. “But the higher level of assessment is really where the rubber hits the road. I'm learning the material, but knowing that you can actually then apply it into real situations.”
"I can apply the material to real situations"
Her four years of study has now resulted in a church staff position. “I have got involved in women's ministry in my church, and now I am co-ordinating the women's ministry and trying to get the rest of the women in our church to be really enthusiastic and passionate about God’s word,” she said.