Mary McKinlay thinks she is the longest-running student at Moore Theological College. She may be right. Who else has been studying for more than 62 years and is still taking exams? Her next test is this month. But lest you think she is a slow learner, we must point out that she has done all her study part-time. She is one of the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC) distance students who took part in the College’s first virtual graduation.
“The online nature of the ceremony is fitting as this is mostly an online course,” said the Academic Dean of Moore College, David Hohne, as he began the presentations. 148 students graduated in 2020 and as instead of being present to receive their certificates or awards, they were encouraged to take part via video.
Studies began in the 60’s
Mary McKinlay sent a video from Tasmania with a story no-one could top. “I’ve been doing the course for 62 years,” she said with a smile. “I think I am the longest student they have ever had at Moore College.” She started studying while in school at Abbotsleigh and received her first PTC award in 1962. She did her last unit in 1972 and then signed up in 2019 to start studying again. She received the PTC Level 2 award after a break of 48 years and is already getting ready for her Level 3 exams. “I hope I pass!” she told the ceremony. More than 150 awards were given out with 125 going to domestic students and a further 31 awards to overseas graduates mainly in the United Kingdom, but also from Hong Kong, the US, Italy, Singapore and PNG. Jamie Telfer, Academic Administrator with the Distance team at Moore and who prayed at the distance graduation, described the students as “an amazing group of people that are genuinely thankful for and eager to learn from God’s word.”
“I have found my increased Biblical knowledge and deeper understanding of God extremely beneficial to my daily ministry and my personal walk with the Lord”
From the UK to Africa
One of the highlights of the night was the graduation of husband and wife Carlos and Gillian Olaaka from Uganda, who finished the Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC) Level 3.
“This course that we took has been a very big blessing to me and I look forward to using it, as I have been using it, even in tourism,” Mr Olaaka said in a video clip. He explained how the PTC study has been useful as he speaks to clients in his tourism job. “We need to equip ourselves if we are going to do the work of God, so thank you classmates, thank you teachers, thank Moore College.” he said. “I have found my increased Biblical knowledge and deeper understanding of God extremely beneficial to my daily ministry and my personal walk with the Lord,” said his wife Gillian, the director of a faith-based non-profit in Uganda. “I am so thankful for the grounded, authentic and trustworthy teaching I received through my Moore studies.”
Dr Chris Thomson, who is the Director of Distance at Moore, addressed the graduating students in his Bible talk on Colossians 2, saying “Your desire to grow in your faith and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is a great encouragement to all of us here at Moore College.” Dr Thomson noted that “the goal of all Paul’s hard work is the same as our goal here at Moore College,” namely that the Colossian believers "may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3).
Your desire to grow in your faith and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is a great encouragement to all of us here at Moore College.