I’m generally pretty topic-focused in this blog, a bit shy to share details about what I’m up to and so on. I’m not sure why – I always like to read that sort of thing in blogs I follow – it helps me to feel a bit more connected. Plus I haven’t quite gotten it together this week with something thoughtful. So, I’m going to give this whole “personal story” thing a try.
Over the past year and a bit, I have been working as the registrar at Sentir College – a theology college specialising in spiritual formation, technically a “work” (like a department I guess) of the Jesuit Province of Australasia. Anne also works there – she’s a lecturer in Spiritual Formation – and we were two of the three permanent staff (the other being the then Dean, Michael Smith SJ.) I enjoyed saying “if someone had told me that I was going to end up running a theology college for the Jesuits, I would have found it unlikely.”
However, it is time for me to move on. I’m not a great registrar – for instance, I am developing a great hatred of forms. But it was a good job which got me out of a difficult spot when my ability to earn a living in IT hit a brick wall, and I worked with some great people, and got involved in a really interesting spiritual tradition – expect to read lots about Ignatian spirituality over the weeks. And it has resulted in some interesting opportunities.
The first of which is that Michael Smith, Bert Verhoeven from Swinburne Uni and I are getting together to run a one day workshop rather grandly entitled “Entrepreneurial Apostolic Leadership” where we are going to try to piece together a few thoughts about how the ideas of being entrepreneurial and being apostolic might relate to one another, and get a few practical things to move forward with. It’s on the 20th of February 2016, at the Campion Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Kew – if you’re interested, you can read more here and book here, It’s $100, and includes lunch. Let me know if you want to come and you’re low / unwaged and I’ll do you a good deal 🙂
We are planning to run a unit on similar topics (via the University of Divinity, with which Sentir is affiliated) in second semester. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll keep you in the loop.
There are two other things which have been developing for me which are going to have some more space this year. I have been accepted as an ordination candidate with the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). This year I begin my three year formation thing. Currently that looks mainly like doing another masters degree (an MA (Theol) to go with my MSc and MDiv – as my dad says “no one can serve [with] two masters” ho ho ho.) There’s some academic stuff, some practical stuff – like a placement at a parish (though I don’t know which one yet.) It’s a good thing that I’m in a position to leave Sentir, otherwise this would be a mad year.
The other exciting thing is that the UCA have very generously extended some funding to Cafechurch – the equivalent of three days a week for three years. This is an incredible opportunity – in our 16 years we have never had any real support from anyone outside our own members and alumni. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with all this time, but at least some of it needs to be spent talking with people. I’m especially interested in people who have left (or are leaving) big evangelical / pentecostal / charismatic churches, so if you know anyone in that situation then put them in touch with me – especially if they are in Melbourne. I’m also going to be able to spend more time on this blog.
So, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. It’s exciting, and a bit scary, and marks a big change in my life.
Finally, if you are a praying sort of person, you might like to include Ken and Jocelyn Elliot – a Christian surgeon and his wife who is a teacher. They have spent the last 44 years serving the people of Burkina Faso – building and running the only reliable surgical services for 2 million people – who have been kidnapped by Islamists. They have been living in Burkina Faso for 44 years, with only 3 trips back home to Perth in all that time. That’s a level of love of neighbour which completely awes me. I really hope it works out for the best.