Connie Tay spent twenty years working in the corporate sector, before feeling a strong call to change her career path. After deep reflection and prayer, Connie took the brave step to embark on theological education at Whitley with the goal to become a school chaplain. Connie completed her Graduate Diploma in Divinity part-time from 2020 to 2022, where she majored in pastoral care.
Connie is a person of faith and a devout follower of Jesus. She says that studying at Whitley helped her to reflect on where God is in her life journey. “I particularly enjoyed studying pastoral care as it encouraged me to reflect on my life, and the events I participate in, to see where God is working. It also helped me to see how I can channel his blessing to support others.”
Connie also enjoyed studying the ‘Interpreting New Testament’ subject. She was initially reluctant to enrol in the subject but ended up studying the subject because it is a prerequisite. The subject helped Connie consolidate her understanding of the bible and helped her interpret the bible correctly. “When the bible passages I had completed for my assignment was preached by my pastor. I discovered that my interpretation matched his sermon. It was amazing to have the confirmation that I have understood the passage correctly.”
When asked about the meaningful connections and influences at Whitley, Connie speaks highly of the support from the staff, particularly the Registrar and the previous and recent Deans of Education, Anne Mallaby and Dr David Janssen. From her first enquiry to graduation, Connie was nurtured, and felt like a valued member of the community, not just a student. “Anne’s patience and guidance helped me choose the right course to develop my skills in pastoral care. David gave me the confidence to take up Interpreting New Testament and Theology, which consolidated my understanding of who God is and helped me to better connect to God. These subjects also helped me to built a strong foundation in God.”
Connie made a meaningful connection with a fellow pastoral care student who called herself “spiritual but not religious”. Connie reflects; “We related well with one another especially in our second semester where we were paired up to be spiritual partners. She was very helpful and encouraging. We reviewed each other’s assignments and provided feedback to each other. I really enjoyed the connection we had studying during lockdown as I felt very isolated. Being able to connect with a fellow student was a great comfort and support.”
In her free time, Connie enjoys keeping active by going to the gym, walking, hiking, and rock climbing. She also loves baking and cooking for her loved ones.
Connie comes from a large family where she is one of seven children. She has five nieces and five nephews, that she refers to as her “pride and joy”. Interestingly most of her family are not followers of Jesus. Connie hasn’t given up on her hope, and continues to pray that her family will join her in faith.
When asked about her decision to embark on theological studies after a long study break, Connie says; “If I had started my Theological education when I was younger, I may not have enjoyed it as much because I lacked that clear purpose for what I wanted to do with my life. This time around I knew how I wanted to do God’s work, and it made going back to school after twenty years enjoyable and purposeful. Of course, there were challenges like juggling work and study in the middle of the pandemic, but I had the patience to overcome them because I was excited to reach my goal.”
To those that are considering theological study Connie believes that if you have that calling or an interest that you should go for it. Your journey can start small with a Diploma or Graduate Certificate and continue to a higher degree if your passion and interest continues. Connie believes that at any level, the experience will enrich your life.
Connie is currently working two days a week at a Church and is actively seeking a school chaplaincy role. While she hasn’t found the right role yet, Connie has trust in God’s plan and believes the right opportunity isn’t far away; “I am still waiting for the Lord to open the door for a school chaplain role. I believe that He has a school with my name written on it and I need to be patient. I am hopeful the Lord will open the door for the right school soon.”
We thank Connie for her wonderful reflection and pray that she finds the chaplaincy role that God has intended for her.