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Student Story by Adam Bamforth

17 Aug 2022

I work full time for a financial institution, I’m a part-time solo pastor in West Footscray, I’m on year-two of the ordination pathway, and I study part-time. I’m married to Val and we have two daughters, 11 and 13.

Time is not always my friend.

I try to leave Saturdays free as much as possible for family, running around for the girls’ basketball games and social commitments. Everything seems to work but it is a constant balancing act.

This is probably why I really notice the environment that staff and students create at Whitley.

My name is Adam Bamforth. I’m studying a Masters of Theology and I’m on an ordination journey for the Baptist Union of Victoria.

I thought it would be very controlled around what units I needed to complete for the Masters but Whitley has provided a great pathway to build and progress an award without having to do units that I’m not interested in.

I thought that I was just going to be a number.

My undergraduate was at a large university in the South of England and, returning to study almost 20-years later, I thought that as a part-timer I would be lost in the system and ‘left to it’.

What I found was that the staff and lecturers really work hard to make all students feel welcome.

Indeed, I’ve been impressed by the pastoral care and the effort of the staff to help and support students. Small groups in the classroom make sure everyone has the opportunity to share, learn and engage.

As a mandatory unit for ordination, my expectations for the Toolbox for Ethical Pastoral Leadership unit were not high. But I found the scenarios and the case studies brought by fellow students were insightful and applicable to real situations.

Every week I felt I learned something that was highly practical for my ministry.

When I first applied, I would say that I was overwhelmed. Navigating that path in the beginning was a little laborious. However, since then, I have been thoroughly impressed with how easy it has been to get through the administration and focus on completing my studies.

I have just completed my first online unit which I found more difficult to engage with than the face-to-face units.

So a special thank you to Rev Carolyn Francis, who was very responsive over
email, helping me with additional readings and generally ensuring I didn’t fall through the cracks.

In a nutshell, Whitley is a great place to learn highly practical content in small and friendly groups, in a welcoming environment. I’m surprised that I actually want to do more units than the course requires – or even that I have time to do.

The range of topics and help from everyone keeps me coming back – it makes learning fun.