Telling the stories of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia

Anglicans explore college ministries

Chaplains, Heads of Colleges and Board members from Anglican tertiary institutions across Oceania gathered in Dunedin last week to grapple with the challenges and opportunities of ministry and education in Anglican Colleges.

Taonga News  |  10 Jul 2024  |

The Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) Oceania chapter met at Selwyn College and Otago University last week, to consider the role of Anglican special character in tertiary Colleges, and dig deep into the educational and pastoral roles of colleges in the Anglican Church in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia and Melanesia. 

Rev Dr Hirini Kaa, Manukura of Hoani Tapu St. John the Evangelist College, Auckland presented the opening keynote at Puketeraki Marae in Karitane highlighting the value of placing Indigenous knowledge first in the design of theological education and practice of special character.

Prior to the CUAC chapter meeting the one-day chaplains’ programme organised by Rev Te Ata Roy, Māori Chaplain University of Otago and Rev Samuel Dow Chaplain of St. John’s College Brisbane included worship and reflective practice, as well as a panel conversation on Indigenous ministry with Rev Te Ata Roy and Rev Aunty Lenore Parker (Yaegl elder, NSW).

Archbishop Philip Richardson presented on the second day of the CUAC meeting, highlighting theological education strategies arising from the Oceania Primates’ fono, which have pinpointed the importance of colleges in building up the church’s capability to serve across the unique contexts within the region. He shared the Primates’ plans to set up a Pacific theological hub in Suva, which will respond to the need for high quality theological education in the Anglican tradition, but closer to Pacific nations and led within a Pasifika framework.

Principal of St. John the Baptist College Suva, Rev. Liliani Havili led a session on the shape of theological education in the context of Polynesia, and shared the image of theological colleges as being akin to a traditional Tongan headrest named after a mothers’ arm – as the place where a child’s knowledge of God is shared and known.

University of Otago lecturer in chaplaincy studies, Rev Dr Graham Redding presented on the professional practice of chaplaincy in church colleges, and encouraged the conference to prioritise special character in Anglican institutions. 

The Oceania chapter of the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion Network will next meet in Australia hosted by St John’s College Brisbane.