BY DAN McALOON
"Education is the soul of a society passed from one generation to another", wrote the English intellectual GK Chesterton. He was referring to the bequeathing of literacy and numeracy to the young.
Yet his words apply even more to Christian faith formation where the soul is more than a literary metaphor. But what children absorb in the classroom, adults pursuing faith education must work hard to attain.
Jennifer and Scott Rumbel live on a dairy farm in Eccleston, a hamlet in the Hunter Valley about 100km from Newcastle. As a mother and wife, Jennifer knows all about giving to others and being there for her family, yet at the same time her need for spiritual growth keeps pushing her to new places.
When her daughter, Ellie, tore the ligament in an ankle just before enrolment at Newcastle University, it was Jennifer who drove her down to the UoN Open Day and stayed around to listen in on the courses on offer. When they left that day Ellie had enrolled in a Bachelor of Visual Communications Design and a Diploma of Latin and Jennifer in a Diploma of Theology.
Jennifer sits here surrounded by materials assembled for her latest assignment – a 1000 word essay on the third century theologian Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. The essay is a component in the subject she’s currently studying, ‘Christianity: The History of a Global Religion’. Theology at UoN is currently undergoing a renaissance, in part from the recent partnership with Catholic theological provider, The Broken Bay Institute. The result is an array of theological and spirituality courses on offer to UoN undergraduates.
Grace is the gift you give (Aurora)