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A Lockdown Prayer

Keith Dyer • A Lockdown Prayer • September 2021

God of love and hope,

We find ourselves trapped in a world far smaller than we are used to

but far bigger and more privileged than most people on this planet.

Help us to keep things in perspective

We find ourselves in a world far too familiar, the consequence of our own making and past decisions

yet imposed on us, not by our choice but for the safety of all.

Help us to see new possibilities in our lives

We find ourselves in a world of blurred boundaries — the days, the weeks, the months, our work, our leisure

— encircled by a 10km boundary, a city limit, a State border.

Teach us to value the moment, the opportunity, the kairos

We find ourselves spending more time than ever with ourselves, our close family, our pets, our bubble-friends,
our masked neighbours passing by

— but losing touch with so many colleagues, acquaintances, relatives and those we used to travel to meet.

Help us to be faithful friends by whatever means possible
to all we know and encounter

We find ourselves worshipping a screen, zooming for fellowship, sharing virtual communion, hearing talking
heads and pre-recorded music

— and challenged by new technologies, creative connections, new ways of expressing meaning, images
of hope and despair.

Keep us rigorous in seeking truth, in valuing honesty,
and in challenging vested interests and fake news

We find ourselves prisoners of daily routines, trying to eat healthily, exercise regularly, live hopefully, engage meaningfully

— and sometimes struggling to see connections between our own lives and the huge issues facing our planet.

Keep us faithful in the daily disciplines of sorting our own rubbish,
tending to our environment, and caring for our wider world

We find ourselves, over and over again in our little world

— and sometimes forgetting to marvel at the resurgence of life in Spring, the signs of love, hope and justice
in the most unlikely places.

In all this, help us to find You and to find each other.

Amen

Download a copy of A Lockdown Prayer

Whitley College is pleased to announce the permanent arrival of a lecturer in the Hebrew Bible and language.

Dr Megan Turton will take on the role she has effectively been working towards since 2016 as an adjunct lecturer at the college. In joining the Whitley staff, her professional life will be more fulsome and collaborative, working with the Whitley community and faculty.

“My association with Whitley began in 2012 when studying Hebrew with Rev Dr Val Billingham,” she says. “She was an amazing teacher.

“Even from the earliest days of study I could tell Whitley was a warm, learning community. There was a difference in how people cared for each other.”

She is attracted to the Hebrew text because it gives deeper understanding and access to the Holy Bible. “It is also a beautiful language in and of itself,” she says. “It’s a cultural window into the text, allowing direct access into those thoughts and ideas.”

Dr Turton has nurtured a deep passion for the topic for more than a decade.

“It’s fascinating that the ancient authors were concerned with the same fundamental questions that occupy us today,” she says. “I’m eager to speak into the way the Hebrew Bible speaks into these issues.”

Dr Turton feels this is especially true now during Covid 19, where we are collectively experiencing problems of physical and mental health. “We are trying to make sense of what is happening, this all relates to crises we see in the Hebrew Bible.”

She has high hopes for what she will bring to the role: “Passion and excitement. I want students to feel excited by the Biblical text, to feel empowered to read and interpret it, and understand how the interpretation relates to them.”

She plans to continue her personal research into the character of Biblical law and its propensity for change and interpretation, the topic on which her PhD was based.

When Dr Turton does take a break from the books and study, she enjoys the outdoors. “I’m definitely a different person in nature,” she says. “It tends to bring me out of myself and my human concerns. You can see you’re part of a great ecosystem.

“I love bushwalking and the Australian landscape. Last year, during lockdown, I took up bird watching. I’ve been really enjoying doing this with my husband Micah.

“I’m also a Geelong supporter. I never thought I’d be into football but I married into a Cats family. And they (the team and the in-laws) have grown on me!

We are excited to announce Collins St Baptist’s Reverend Carolyn Francis has been appointed as the new lecturer in Baptist Identity and History.

The preacher, musician and public speaker, says she is excited by the opportunity and is eager to thoroughly and passionately present Baptist identity and history to a wider group of people.

The appointment continues a long relationship between Whitley and Collins St Baptist Church, the beginnings of which hark back to the early days of the college’s existence.

She will start her new role in January 2022.

“This feels like a coming together of the past 20 year’s work, study and research. So much of what I do at Collins St has been around teaching and preaching. This is a way of expanding and developing my lifelong commitment to the Baptist movement.”

Rev Francis says she was born into the Baptist church and that she is now Baptist by conviction.

She already has a relationship with the college and has even taken on some adjunct lecturing over the years. However, her initial association with Whitley goes back to 1999 when she was a Bachelor of Theology student. In fact, this was when she met her husband Karl. “It was in our first class, Introduction to Mission with Ross Langmead. People seem to enjoy hearing this story of how we met.” The couple now have two teenage children.

Rev Francis says she loves the free exchange of ideas which happen in the classroom, and that she is looking forward to developing strong relationships with colleagues and students.

She also anticipates furthering her own research at Whitley and plans to do a PhD around the topics of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

When she is not working, Rev Francis describes herself as a passionate Western Bulldogs supporter; even going so far as to calling her commitment “a second religion.”

Another fun fact, she is a classically trained singer and in non-pandemic times performs with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra!

Rev Francis will be taking over for Rev Dr Marita Munro who will be retiring at the end of the year.

Whitley College

As the Baptist College of Victoria and as an agency of the Baptist Union, Whitley College is dedicated to providing high quality theological educational resources to all of those committed to the call of God and to the life and mission of the Church in a rapidly changing society. In offering theological education through a comprehensive range of diplomas and degrees accredited by the University of Divinity, professional development opportunities, advanced research programs, and innovative and flexible training initiatives, Whitley seeks to fulfil its mission to equip men and women for leadership and service in a variety of ministries in church and society. Whitley is committed to creating an even stronger and dynamic learning environment for students and to develop further the relationships with partners and stakeholders.

Primary objectives

Whitley is seeking a person to fulfil the position of (Associate) Professor of New Testament. The (Associate) Professor is to be responsible for conducting, coordinating and developing teaching and research in the area of New Testament studies at Whitley College.

The (Associate) Professor of New Testament is responsible for making original contributions to knowledge and practice through research, writing and teaching.  It is expected the (Associate) Professor would develop the educational offerings in the area of New Testament studies, building links with other national and international partners in teaching and research.

Position Description

Read the full Professor of New Testament Position Description.

Enquiries

Prospective and interested candidates may direct inquiries to the Principal of Whitley College, Rev Professor René Erwich.

Applications

Please submit your application no later than 14 September 2020 to ntstudies@whitley.edu.au.

Applicants are kindly requested to include in their application:

The successful applicant will be expected to take up the position by 1 November 2020 or earlier by negotiation.

A Dialogue Between Human Rights and Theology

Join Brendan Byrne & Mark Zirnsak for a discussion about the complex issues of privacy, citizenship, freedom, and rights in the digital spaces we occupy.

What do our relationships to the online world mean? What role do governments and technology corporations have in facilitating such realities, and their risks? How to we negotiate the different expectations we have in the online and other worlds we occupy? what theological convictions can we bring to bear on such questions?

Wednesday 3 June, 7:00 – 7:45pm AEST

This event will be presented via Zoom Webinar software. Recording available here.

Free of Charge | All Welcome | More information & Register here

Enquiries: whitley@whitley.edu.au | 03 9340 8100