Tributes flow for first recipient of Adventist Education medal

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Tributes flowed for long-time Adventist educator and inaugural recipient of the AUC Education Medal, Dr Arnold Reye, whose life was celebrated at a funeral in Brisbane, Australia, on Tuesday (December 13).

The funeral, conducted by Pastor Andre van Rensburg, saw Springwood church filled with friends and family of Dr Reye, including significant Adventist educators such as Dr Daryl Murdoch, Australian Union Conference (AUC) director of education; Jack Ryan, South Queensland director of education; Heidi Mazz, education project officer for the South Queensland Conference; Leanne Entermann, Brisbane Adventist College principal and Bruce Dever (head of secondary); Dr John Hammond, former AUC director of education; Dennis Reye (Arnold’s cousin), former AUC associate director of education; and Dr Grant Watson, former South Queensland director of education.

"His was an outstanding record: one any Adventist teacher would be proud of."

“Springwood church was full to pay respect to a humble, passionate Adventist educator who loved his God, family and Church,” Dr Murdoch said.

Dr Reye’s life sketch was shared by his close friend, Ross Ecclestone—a former principal of Sydney Adventist College.

Dr Murdoch shared that Dr Reye was a great mentor who saw the potential of people.

“His recommendation to Dr John Hammond led to the granting of a doctoral program for me, which opened new opportunities for service in Adventist education,” Dr Murdoch said.

Dr Arnold Colin Reye.
Dr Arnold Colin Reye.

Dr Reye served the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s education system for 42 years, continuing to support the system well into retirement.

According to the citation Dr Reye received with the AUC Education Medal on September 6, 2005, he was instrumental in changing the Adventist education system in Australia and New Zealand and, working with Dr John Waters, merged and streamlined many functions of the then Trans-Tasman and Trans-Australian Union Conference Education Departments.

“His was an outstanding record: one any Adventist teacher would be proud of,” said Pastor David Hay, editor of the Journal of Pacific Adventist History.

“Arnold published five articles in the Journal of Pacific Adventist History, and perhaps his most outstanding achievement in the area of Seventh-day Adventist mission service will be printed in the next edition of the Journal. It is a literary contribution taking up half of all the pages in the magazine and I believe will be read with great interest.”

Born in Samoa to missionary parents, Dr Reye had no aspirations to be a minister or teacher, wishing instead to be a professional sportsperson. However a commitment made during a week of prayer at the West Australian Missionary College, and his baptism in 1950, saw him move into teaching.

Dr Reye received his PhD from Andrews University, Michigan, US, where his supervisor was Dr George Knight, a well-known Adventist historian. In fact, Dr Reye, Dr Alan Lindsay and Dr Gil Valentine were Dr Knight’s first three chairmanships.

“Arnold and I spent two happy holiday trips of about a week each together in NZ,” reflected Dr Knight. “And many times I spent the night in his home. We did a bit of sailing in his ‘yacht’ in Sydney Harbour. I was hoping to see him one more time before he passed. But such was not to be.”

Dr Reye worked at all levels of Adventist education, from the local school to conference, union and division level. When working at Division office, Dr Reye’s work in curriculum and government affairs was highly regarded by the then director, Dr Gerald Clifford.  Dr Clifford remembered him as an astute thinker, a wonderful Christian gentleman, highly capable in whatever project he was given, and thoroughly dedicated to his work.

“The South Pacific Division wishes to honour the legacy that Arnold has left on Adventist education,” said Carol Tasker, South Pacific Division education director, “to thank him for his dedicated life of service, and to extend to Mary his wife, and daughter Rowena and the family, our heartfelt condolences and our gratitude for a wonderful life well-lived.”

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