For the first time in 10 years, the Australian Union Conference (AUC) conducted an education consultation which invited leaders from various ministries, including chaplains, education directors, ministry conference officers, board chairs, principals and conference officers to take part in discussing the future of Seventh-day Adventist Education. Held at the Foothills Conference Centre in Mooroolbark (Vic), nearly 100 attendees gathered for three days to reflect on the past decade and plan for the next 10 years.
South Pacific Division (SPD) Adventist Education director Dr David McClintock said, “Education consultation 2 has provided direction into the next decade; a strengthened focus on Adventist identity; affirmed the role of chaplaincy; and provided opportunities for closer collaboration and investment between church and school.”
Education Consultation 2 focused on two of the four guiding pillars for Adventist Schools Australia—Adventist identity and systemic support—highlighting the need to keep the purpose, vision and mission of the Adventist education system clear and strong during the next decade.
There were four keynote addresses from associate director of education Jacques Calais, ministerial association secretary Pastor Brendan Pratt, director of education Dr Daryl Murdoch and AUC secretary Pastor Michael Worker. After each presentation, attendees broke out into groups to discuss the issues presented.
Seventeen recommendations were put forward, including recognising chaplaincy as a ministerial calling and providing chaplains with a clear pathway to ordination; the establishment of a national office which will oversee Adventist Education across Australia; a focus on teaching students skills that are transferrable; and creating a community where students, parents, teachers and leaders encapsulate the love of Jesus.
According to Dr Murdoch, “there was a wonderful spirit of unity and common purpose” at the event.
“The agreed declaration at the end of the program was heart-warming for Adventist educators and read as follows: ‘Consultation 2 affirms the role of Adventist Education as an integral ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Further, we acknowledge that the focus of Adventist Education must remain clearly set on Adventist identity, mission and quality student outcomes.’ We look forward to deepening the partnership between our churches and schools”.