It was a great privilege and blessing to be invited to participate in a recent online 50 year alumni reunion via Zoom. It is always encouraging to be a part of College reunions, but even more so whilst being stuck at home during Covid lockdown. Sitting at my kitchen bench, I was able to listen, absorb and learn from the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime of ministry experiences. The common denominator of all who were able to share online, was the perseverance of their gospel hearts.
Reunion coordinator and alumnus, Ron Watts (pictured above), started making plans for a reunion at College over a year ago. Unfortunately, due to Sydney’s lockdown restrictions the in person event has been postponed to April 2022. However, 16 people from this year group were able to come together for two hours of fellowship, story sharing, prayer, and to see how God continues to work through his people for over 50 years.
Many Alumni shared how God had placed them in ministries they never thought they would be doing. Rex Swavley (pictured below) spoke of the opportunity he has been given at Norwest Anglican Church teaching ESL to overseas students, most of whom are from China. He shared how God had given him a great love for Chinese people and he is now studying Mandarin every day. Rex said, “as a result of teaching ESL to so many Chinese people, we have had people who have never heard about Jesus, people who have never seen a Bible, who have become Christians and some have become members of our church. It’s been such a wonderful thing to bring the gospel to people who have been unaware of it and have never heard of Jesus.”
After being ordained as a Deacon in 1975, Alan Colyer was instructed by his superior at his first church appointment that he was not to preach on the resurrection, the virgin birth, or the Old Testament, or he would never preach again. Despite being warned, one month later Alan preached on Abraham, and at the end of the service he was told he would not be preaching at that church for the next six months. Although Alan did not agree, he submitted as one under authority and instead went door to door visiting people in the area and started a Bible study group for 45 people in a nearby hall. Alan later went on to become an Army Chaplain and also served at St Thomas’ Moonee Ponds for 11 years. He believes the biggest mission field we have is in this country: “people are thirsty for the gospel,” he says.
Meeting in the front row of a lecture in their first year at College, Jack (pictured above) and Vicki Normand married in their second year and then both went on to become missionaries in Tanzania with the Church Missionary Society (CMS). After working in various church ministries, Jack had the opportunity to become a teacher and taught high school science. In this position, he had wonderful opportunities every day to share the gospel. After retiring, Jack taught the Moore Preliminary Theological Certificate (PTC) to pastors in Rwanda. Jack and Vicki are now living in an Anglican Retirement Village and looking for new opportunities for ministry where they live.
We at the College are very much looking forward to welcoming this faithful cohort back to our Newtown campus to have a face to face reunion next year. Please join me in giving thanks to God for over 50 years of ministry and service since leaving College. We give thanks to God for the gospel hearts and perseverance of these men and women in proclaiming God’s Word in every season and situation.
Read more . . .