A word from our Director
Even though the pandemic years have become the ‘new norm’, shocks and difficulties continue to assail us. In such times it is easy to go inward, hunker down, cut ourselves off. And then, it becomes hard to reengage with others. That kind of ‘overhang’ from the pandemic affects each of us personally. It also affects churches, workplaces and communities as they try to rebuild. I have found that reconnecting with God, and with others, has been the most stabilising way to reintegrate after the years we’ve had. Learning at St Mark’s can be part of that, and has helped many people during the past few years. The help has been both ‘everyday’ and profound.
Every day, our rhythms of learning have been an anchor. Our livestreamed chapels; our library support, delivered to your door, if needed; close personal support by faculty into homes across Australia and beyond—it adds up to become community. More profoundly, to delve deeply into Christian traditions that reveal and discover who we are meant to be—the person God ‘dreams’ for us to be, if I can put it like that—revolutionizes our lives. St Mark’s was a national leader in theological distance education long before the pandemic. That strength has come into its own, with the aid of Charles Sturt’s fantastic infrastructure, and through established RTO courses.
And when we engage by these means, we learn about times and places where people had it tough. We hear of Christians enduring the callousness of ancient Rome, or the pains of medieval Europe, or recent colonial excess; they made it, because they learnt from Christ’s endurance of his Cross, and what it was like to have the Spirit. Our learning gives a kind of perspective that enables us to transcend the anxieties of now.
For anyone who wants in to Christian faith, there comes hope. We take all comers at St Mark’s. You may be an agnostic seeker or a convinced Christian. You may be a highly motivated member of a Christian denomination, or someone who put it aside years ago, and is cautiously looking at it all again. You may be none of the above. But whoever you are, hope is on offer, because the Christian story does not stop in the past. It reaches into the future, way beyond the pandemic years. It offers a new present start now, whoever we have become. Christ offers a way to become that person God ‘dreams’ us to be—someone stabilized and confirmed within God’s all-embracing love and kindness, and in a community of others who are learning to care. We would love to share that story with you, in an environment that is ‘centrally orthodox’, ecumenically collaborative, practical, missional and scholarly. Come and join us.
Director of St Mark’s National Theological Centre