On 5 December, the College announced the launch of a new Advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission and Ministry in 2017. A central feature of this course is the new women’s ministry study stream. It provides the opportunity for students to specialise in women’s ministry.
Women’s Ministry Stream
This branch of the Advanced Diploma contains the same biblical, theological and ministry foundations as the first year Bachelor’s degree program. Elective units in Greek, Biblical Exegesis or Evangelism are available. However, on top of this, it provides three extra elective units especially designed to meet the needs of women in ministry in the twenty-first century.
In a ground breaking development, these new electives provide opportunities for women to explore the social issues and intellectual trends that have a particular relevance for women’s ministry today, the historical context in which this ministry occurs, and what a biblically and theologically shaped ministry by women looks like.
These electives are:
- The Ministries of Women
- Influences on and Issues for Australian Christian Women
- Women and Children in Church History
Together with the foundational units and other electives, these new specialist units will enable women to develop a biblical and theological approach to gospel ministry by women in today’s world. This means women will be prepared even more effectively for ministry in a wide range of settings here in Australia and around the world.
Women’s training at College today
Women have been studying in connection with Moore College since the mid twentieth century. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women taking out Moore College diplomas and degrees. Currently about 150 out of the 400 full-time and part-time students are women. They attend the same lectures as their male counterparts, they share in chapel, chaplaincy groups and mission, and are a vital part of the life and vibrancy of the modern Moore College.
Two women serve on the College faculty: Tara Stenhouse, the Dean of Women, and Jane Tooher, who is the Dirctor of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre. As well as the teaching, pastoring and mentoring of these two gifted women, the College is served by 12 women, all active in gospel ministry outside of the College, who play a critical role as women chaplains, co-leading chaplaincy groups alongside male faculty members. Together this group of women already meet up one-to-one with women students and help women think through the issues which are specific to the ministry of women, wherever it may be conducted.
An advanced commitment to women’s ministry training at College
This new stream of studies within the Advanced Diploma is further evidence of the College’s continuing commitment to the most effective training of women for ministry available today. Jane Tooher, who has played a vital role in the design of the program, has commented,
“Moore College aims to provide women with the best possible theological training so they can share Jesus in whatever context God places them. Moore College already thoroughly equips women for ministry in Australia or overseas, through learning in community. This new women’s ministry offering is a wonderful addition to what we do and offers yet another option for those women seeking specialist training. The opportunities for women to serve are enormous and we want women to be thoroughly prepared for all that lies ahead in whatever context they find themselves.”
The development of this stream of study has been enthusiastically encouraged and supported by the College’s Governing Board and the entire faculty. Mark Thompson, the College’s Principal expressed his excitement at such an important advance in this aspect of the College’s work.
“I am thrilled that this cutting-edge program has been developed specifically to equip women for ministry amongst God’s people at this challenging and exciting time. We need women leaders who understand and are shaped by God’s word and who understand the context in which women’s ministry is conducted today.”
Christian leaders welcome the new move
This move has been greeted with enthusiasm by those who have a passion to see strong women’s ministry training in the diocese of Sydney and beyond.
“The ministry of women has been a significant feature of the Diocese of Sydney for over a hundred years. Moore College has played a critically important role in this. By 1916 a training college for deaconesses had been established in Deaconness House, just down the road from Moore College, and Moore College staff were involved in teaching there. In the 1970s women began enrolling in the Bachelor of Theology degree at Moore College and in the following years, with the ordination of women to the diaconate, Moore College assumed the responsibility of preparing women for lay and ordained ministry in the Diocese. Moore’s commitment to the importance of women’s ministry has seen this new development with a specialised women’s stream in the Advance Diploma of Bible, Ministry & Mission.
While both men and women need to hear the gospel, their needs are different. In providing the very best biblical and theological grounding for all its students, Moore College also recognises the distinctive challenges and differing ministry needs of women. This is an exciting development in the life of the College and I commend the introduction of this new ministry stream for women.” Archbishop Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney
“I am delighted that Moore College has taken this initiative for further equipping & training of women. I anticipate this course will provide wonderful grounding for women in theology and also areas specific to their ministries.” Kara Hartley, Archdeacon for Women, Diocese of Sydney
“The new Advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission and Ministry women’s ministry stream will give women students a rich understanding of their current social and ministry context, together with an appreciation of the historic contribution of women to the growth of Christ’s church. More importantly, they will be equipped to handle the Bible faithfully through deep engagement with God’s word, and have the blessing of doing that within a Christian community of women and men who are also hoping to serve Christ in his world.” Claire Smith, Speaker and writer
“How I wish this study stream had been available as I began my journey into women’s ministry more than 40 years ago! Here is an opportunity to reflect on the theological underpinnings and practical pathways that will deeply affect your ministry practice in a world that more and more wants to deny differences in gender. I’m really hoping that this initiative will result in many more thoughtful and theologically astute women’s ministry practitioners in the future.” Lesley Ramsey, Chaplain, evangelist and speaker
More detailed information on the new Women’s Ministry stream will be published online from late December. Applications for study are open now.