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Wednesday, 06 August 2008

A new future for Coolamon

At its meeting over the weekend of July 25 – 27 the Assembly Standing Committee received a report on discussions that had taken place between the Assembly and Parkin Wesley College in South Australia.

The Assembly and the Synod of South Australia have agreed to merge the distance theological education resources of the Coolamon College with those of Parkin Wesley College. The Synod of South Australia has committed itself to strengthening its capacity in this area and the resources of Coolamon College will enhance the skills that Parkin Wesley brings to this educational ministry. 

The good news is that all current students will be able to continue with their studies as a seamless transition from one UCA provider to another is achieved. The technical situation is that students are either students of the Adelaide College of Divinity or of Flinders University and this situation is not changing. All that is happening is that the UCA will contribute to these bodies through one entity rather than two. 

For a number of years the Assembly has not been able to fund Coolamon College to the level required to achieve the demands placed upon it. This change of direction will build on the pool of voluntary assessors and writers with the administrative and professional expertise available through Parkin Wesley College. This is a very positive outcome for students and ensures that the best features of Coolamon College are retained and strength is added. 

The Standing Committee was very conscious of the enormous amount of work that has been done by many people over the years in support of the ministry of Coolamon College. It resolved to express gratitude to God for those who established Coolamon College, for the staff and various councils, committees and volunteers who have served the College and the contribution to lay leadership education made by the College.

The Assembly has not abandoned a commitment to an educated lay leadership and to the fulfillment of the dream expressed in the College’s vision statement. Assembly will fund a position for three years that will provide the link between not only Parkin Wesley but also a range of providers of distance theological education; liaise with synod lay education bodies and promote resources from across the church. Although Coolamon will no longer be a separate institution, in many ways Coolamon is returning to its original vision – to be a network of providers of distance theological education.

Terence Corkin
Assembly General Secretary