eNews – December 2015
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
By Executive Director Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes
“Behold – I bring you glad tidings of great joy” – the good news of the Christmas experience. Beholding means to ‘thoroughly hold’, to perceive or apprehend. For us to behold means a relationship between the beholder and the one or thing being held – it’s a relationship that comes to life only in the relationship.
We behold the mystery of God breaking into our lives. This has taken a stronger focus for me as I link the Kairos moment – a moment beyond our earthly time-keeping – breaking into my chronos reality. Its power is in the experience that I, at this particular time and place embrace an experience of a truth universal and timeless. The mystery of the incarnation is in the very experience that the mystery does not float above and beyond me, rather it has its very reality that I, in my flawed and yet vibrant humanity, hold this good news.
Well, does that all seem a little serious or intellectual at this time?
Not for me, this is the only thing that makes sense for me in the Christmas season. The joy, peace and love that is embodied in the birth of Wisdom, which we celebrate at Christmas, is that it is beheld by someone (me and you) who is time and place bound.
It’s a joyful discovery that is experienced again and again. May you too experience the joy of the time-less grace and peace being birthed again and again in the days and moments of your life.
A blessed Christmas from your colleagues at the Centre for Theology & Ministry. A big thank you for the journey through 2015 and a joyful anticipation of the journey continuing in 2016.
Advent resources available online
Our Advent resources for 2015 are available from the resources section of our website. If you haven’t checked them out please take a look.
Otira Theological Book Club’s new titles for 2016
Five exciting new titles are available to borrow in 2016. They are:
- Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans | In Searching for Sunday, Held Evans exposes her own thorny relationship with church, articulating the concerns, frustrations, and hopes of many of her peers.
- Pondering Pieces of the Puzzle by Julianne Parker | A series of sermons offering some of the author’s knowledge and experiences across a range of contexts.
- Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology by Val Webb | A fast-paced, lay friendly book, backed by serious, inquisitive scholarship Webb shines a spotlight into dark corners and dusty shelves to observe ideas silenced and others declared eternal.
- Inklings edited by Mac Nicoll | A third volume of the work of 35 Australian poets, writers and artists at.
- Being Christian by Rowan Williams | Williams’ new book explores the meaning and practice of four essential components of the Christian life: baptism, Bible, Eucharist and prayer.
Visit the Otira Theological Book Club page to explore the book club’s collection and arrange your 2016 borrowing online.
Exhibition heads to Warrnambool
The impressive Caught in the Moment exhibition – the second VicTas Art and Spirituality Network group exhibition – heads to Warrnambool Uniting Church, 115 Koroit St, Warrnambool, in the new year.
Running from Friday, 22 January to 17 February, Artfull Faith Co-ordinator Christina Rowntree will officially open the exhibition at 7pm on Thursday, 21 January, with music, supper and of course the inspiring artworks to be featured. The exhibition is open Tuesday to Friday, 9am-1pm but please check the Australia Day weekend opening hours at the congregation’s website.
If you’d like a sense of the work featured, Anne Mallaby opened the exhibition at its first showing in Parkville and you can read Anne’s opening words here.
|24||CTM Closes for 2015|
|11||CTM reopens for 2016|
|22-17 Feb||Caught in the Moment Exhibition – Warrnambool|
|30||Artist Network Gathering – NGV gallery visit|
|18-19||Bill Loader event|
|20||Artist Network Gathering|
|22||Semester two begins|
Pilgrim Theological College Distance Survey
By Lisa Wait
Thank you to Distance Survey respondents
Eight five per cent of Pilgrim students who study online by distance mode recently participated in a survey. Approximately one third of Pilgrim students studied by distance mode in 2015 with people located in regional towns, rural communities across Australia.
The purpose of the survey was to establish student confidence and engagement with technology based learning and to investigate if Pilgrim needs to provide further educational or technical support for their distance students. The students commented on what worked and didn’t work for them and made a range of thoughtful suggestions on how they can be further supported by Pilgrim.
An important aspect of the survey was to understand if distance students feel part of the Pilgrim academic community with 82 per cent indicating that they do. This result compares favourably with the national University Experience Survey 2014 where 53 per cent of students identified a sense of belonging to their university.
The survey results will be reported to the Board, overseeing the work of Pilgrim and recommendations will be considered by Faculty at a meeting during December. An early outcome of the survey is a new interactive ‘Distance student orientation’ eBook available in ARK for 2016.
Many thanks to students who participated in the survey!