Every year, the Uniting Church Adult Fellowship (UCAF) supports young people engaged in theological or leadership studies through the Joan Stott bursary.
Established in 2009, the bursary provides a $1500 grant to assist people under the age of 35. The UCAF National Committee, currently based in the Vic/Tas Synod for the 2015-2018 triennium, may award the bursary to up to two people annually.
Matthew Julius is a member of ‘SPACE’, a faith community of the Banyule Network of Uniting Churches at Heidelberg. He was awarded the 2017 bursary alongside Bradley Case from Queensland.
Mr Julius had previously studied philosophy and cultural sociology at university, which fuelled his interest in theology.
“What struck me about philosophy and sociology is their propensity to engage with questions of meaning; there’s the possibility of an existential weight there,” he said.
“My pursuit of theological study grew out of this trajectory.”
Mr Julius said he always had a penchant for asking ‘difficult questions’ and theology was a natural fit with his sense of curiosity about the world.
“Theological study is a way of more fully articulating who I am,” Mr Julius said.
“But the point, then, is to see how this passion I have can aid others in their own way.
“So I hope what I can contribute is giving voice to questions, validating people in their pursuit of meaning and faith, and then helping connect people to the resources that might enrich their curiosity.”
Mr Julius is now pursuing full-time postgraduate study at Pilgrim Theological College in Parkville. He hopes to one day work in academia, with a focus on tying together interdisciplinary approaches to theology.
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