Despite the disappointment of a semester where our teaching program had to transition online, we have seen God’s hand clearly visible in our journey this year. In the first part of 2021, a change in higher education provider categories resulted in the opportunity to apply to become an Australian university. We were subsequently excited to receive word in July that we had been successful and that the journey commenced decades ago had resulted in the unique opportunity to be Australia’s first Protestant university.
The biggest encouragement of all, however, is when we see transformational change in the lives of our students. Our stated purpose at Avondale is to “transform lives through Christ-centred higher education”, and it is within this endeavour that we find our greatest satisfaction.
Earlier this year we received a letter from a recently graduated nursing student, reminding us of this primacy. As an international student who came to Avondale with many learning needs, staff continued to pour in the necessary support. Though without a faith background, the influence of the staff and students led him to believe in God and he wrote to tell us of his commitment to follow Christ and of his recent baptism.
In looking at stories of transformation it can be tempting to view the process as a singular act, bringing instant change to a life. Typically however, it is a gradual journey that takes the heart by stealth rather than by storm. Little acts, faithfully and consistently performed. That is the exciting part of each new day, the privilege of working alongside Christ—every email, each conversation, even the next meeting—a fresh opportunity.
It is the stories of transformation that become an important link in our search for meaning and purpose. They serve as a bridge, connecting the mundane with moments of transcendence. A realisation that every act is part of a larger purpose and that in this context nothing is ever really unimportant. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Professor Kevin Petrie is vice-chancellor of Avondale University.