New building for Australia’s Moore Theological College unveiled
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The keys to the new teaching and learning centre for Sydney diocese’s theological college have been handed over to principal Dr Mark Thompson this week. The scaffolding and the wraps which have covered Moore Theological College’s new building have been removed and preparations are underway to welcome students and staff ahead of its official opening in February.
Building work has been taking place on the multi-million-dollar building, situated on the corner of King St and Carillon Avenue, since 2014.
“This is a significant milestone. In one way or another a building has been planned on this site for 50 years and now in God’s goodness it is here,” principal Dr Thompson said.
Dr Thompson thanked the builders, Kane Constructions, who have been very concerned to accommodate a working college in and around their building site.
He also thanked Cam Capel, the college’s dean of operations for his “extraordinary contribution to the project.”
Dr Thompson said: “Without Cam I am sure we would not have reached this point. Our heavenly Father has provided our needs through generous friends and through wise stewardship and management of this project. This is a time for profound thanksgiving to God.
“We look forward to many people from all over the city sharing with us on the day of the official opening.”
The new centre has one lower ground level and six above ground levels, providing almost 8,000 square metres of space. There is also room to expand the Moore College Library, which is already the largest theological library in the Southern Hemisphere.
The new building includes a large lecture theatre, flexible teaching and meeting rooms, an auditorium large enough to bring together the entire undergraduate student body in one place, and purpose-built built research and study spaces for students.
Moore College has been training people for ministry for 160 years, since it first opened in Liverpool, New South Wales, in 1856. It has had 13 principals and over 4,000 graduates.
One of the great elements of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney’s success as a Protestant entity in the Anglican Communion’s outreach to the world has been the conservative teaching emanating from Sydney’s Moore College. If there were ever to be an examination of the source of that success, it might just lie in the capability of its provenance to raise money to further its strictly conservative evangelical message. The modern evolution of the ‘Prosperity Gospel’ theory would no doubt have its supporters at Moore College, whose new buildings – here being celebrated – will enable many of Australia’s Evangelical preachers to “Go forth and multiply” its mainly ‘Sola Scriptura’ message to the world outside of the Sydney diocese.
In a historical link-up, New Zealand’s Nelson Diocese has long been a major beneficiary of the Evangelical provenance of Moore College, Sydney; with many of its clergy and some of its bishops having studied there and brought its influence back to ACANZP. In fact, it is likely that people like former Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, currently the General Secretary of the separatist GAFCON Provinces of the Communion, and an alumnus of Moore College – will have influenced the recent formation of FOCANZ – the New Zealand arm of GAFCON which is currently challenging the right of ACANZP to all0w Same-Sex Blessings to take place within the New Zealand Anglican Church.
So, is the extension of the campus at Moore College likely to benefit ACANZP in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in the near future? A lot will depend on its willingness to change and participate in the modern world of Anglicanism that accepts the role of Women and LGBTI people in the mission and ministry of the Church. Otherwise, Moore College may end up being an enclave within Australia, a South Pacific outreach of GAFCON – a role that the Diocese of Sydney seems to have arrogated to itself by its alliance with the mostly African Provinces that still have a problem with Women’s leadership and the place of LGBTI people in the Church.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand