Mary Andrews College celebrates another cohort of graduates
On Friday 25 March, Mary Andrews College held its ceremony for the graduating class of 2021.
In the beautiful surrounds of Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral, 21 women were awarded Diplomas or Certificates, presented by Dr James Dalziel, Dean and CEO of the Australian College of Theology.
Unfortunately, MAC Principal Dr Louise Gosbell was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness. However, she wrote in a message to the graduates and guests, “A graduation… is more than a recognition of achievement, it is a commissioning of graduands for the ministry contexts that they have each been equipped for throughout their studies, which is many and varied, as each seeks to serve Jesus faithfully.”
Following a welcome from Rev. Jo Gibbs, CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries, an Aboriginal graduand Sharon Minniecon gave an Acknowledgement of Country. Rev. Dr Keith Condie, Co-Director of the Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute and member of the MAC faculty, then presented a year in review, reflecting on the changes and challenges that have faced MAC over the past year, including changes in leadership, the ongoing difficulties of COVID and the long lockdown in 2021.
Keith shared, “Our God is a faithful God. He keeps his promises. He always does what he says he will do. The writers of the Psalms tell us that his ‘faithfulness reaches to the skies’ (Ps 36:5)… [and] that the Lord ‘is faithful in all he does’ (Ps 33:4). And when I think about the past year – I think we have seen evidence of God’s faithfulness to Mary Andrews College.
The Lord hasn’t made any specific promises about MAC. He hasn’t promised that we will have a certain number of students or anything like that. But as we have worked to see women grow in their knowledge and love of God and to be equipped to serve him – we’ve seen evidence of God’s mercies and his provision.”
Faculty member Rev. Di Morgan read Ephesians 4:1-16, reminding the graduating students of the important calling they have received.
Following this reading, Rev. Kate Snell, MAC’s new Dean of Students, gave the main address. Kate chose to focus on the ‘three Cs’ of ministry – conviction, competency and character – and her hopes for how MAC may have shaped graduates in these areas. Kate concluded her encouraging address with these words:
“We’ve briefly considered three big questions today. What do I believe? What am I like? What am I good at? We trust that as we send you out from MAC you have some answers to those questions.
We know that while this ceremony is an end to one chapter, it might also the beginning of another. We know that God will continue his work in you and trust that you’ll keep growing in your convictions, that you’ll keep growing in your character and that you’ll keep growing in your competence, all for God’s glory.”
The class of 2021 are already putting their studies into practice, some in formal roles in churches and parachurch organisations, and others in continued lay ministry. Many are involved in pastoral care and women’s ministry.
Graduate Jane Rummey was interviewed on the night of the graduation about her time at MAC. Jane previously received a Certificate in Theology and has now received her Diploma of Christian Studies. She spoke warmly of many people in her life, in her family, church and social circle, who had encouraged her to study, both practically and through prayer. But she also gave credit to the community within MAC:
“There are some amazing people at MAC – lecturers, staff, fellow students. I think this is what helped me to keep going. It’s that fellowship – and also the fun! It’s an amazing thing to have.”
Jane shared with us prior to graduation, “I have increased confidence in leading a group as we study God’s word and pray together supporting each other pastorally. Studying with MAC has been the inspiration for change and growth that has undergirded my confidence as the Lord has allowed. I am incredibly thankful yet remain surprised by my success and achievement. Who would have thought this would happen to me!”
Faculty member Karen Ray concluded the evening in prayer, followed by a commissioning of graduates by Rev. Jo Gibbs. Graduates and their families then mingled over supper in the cathedral.
The MAC faculty and staff warmly congratulate our latest cohort of graduates, and continue to pray that God will work powerfully through this group of faithful women, for the sake of His people and His Kingdom.