Pilgrim Theological College farewelled 44 students at a ceremonial service on 31 October.
Twenty one were able to attend the ceremony at the Centre for Theology and Ministry where they were recognised for completing, or almost completing, a variety of awards. Six were exiting candidates for ministry.
Synod of Victoria and Tasmania Moderator Denise Liersch was among the valedictorians, having completed a Graduate Certificate in Leadership.
Banyule Network Minister Rev Sandy Brodine gave the valedictory address, where she reflected on the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, the despised tax collector who Jesus surprisingly decided to stay with.
“Whatever the reason that Zacchaeus climbed that tree to see Jesus, the important thing is that Jesus made eye contact with him – he sees Zacchaeus,” Sandy said.
“What seems to be a story about a short man wanting to see Jesus is turned on its head into a story about being seen by Jesus.
“Zacchaeus is seen not merely because he is up a tree but because it is Jesus’s mission to see those who are excluded and marginalised.”
Sandy associated Zacchaeus’s story with her congregation’s relationship with Banyule’s transgender community.
“I find it hard to think of a group that has been more actively marginalised and victimised than the trans community, but their friendship has been a gift to us, as I hope ours has been to them,” she said.
“The truth about the world is there are lots of people climbing a tree, clambering to find a place where they can be loved, accepted and seen.”
Here is a list of the 2019 valedictorians and exiting ministry candidates:
Advanced Diploma in Theology and Ministry
Amanda Jane Cooke
Bachelor of Theology
Theodora Ghaitidis, Alexis Ward
Graduate Certificate in Children and Families Ministry
Claire Dawe, Brenton Prigge, Anthea Maynard, Julie Penno, Jillian Ross, Jeffrey Savage.
Graduate Certificate in Divinity
Timothy Angus, Tupe Ioeleu, James Leslie, Margaret Dahl.
Graduate Certificate in Leadership
James Aaron, Nicole Fleming, Robert Floyd, Danielle Hemsworth-Smith, Faaimata Hiliau, Rachel Kronberger, Denise Liersch, Cameron McAdam, Bronwyn Murphy, Robin Yang.
Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology
Graduate Certificate in Theology
Graduate Diploma in Theology
Daniel Farnsworth, Brent Pelton.
Master of Divinity
Hoansung (Mike) You.
Master of Theological Studies
Lorraine Blamires, Fiona Bottcher, Ann Cantwell-Bartl, Annettia Goldsmith, Heather Hon, Ye (Viola) Liang, Timothy Marshall, Yoo Mi Park, Fiona Winn.
Master of Theology (Research)
Doctor of Theology
Doctor of Philosophy
Andrew Calder, Bryan Cones, Cathryn McKinney, Kathleen Ross, Jacob Joseph.
Exit Candidates from the Formation Program
Joy Blamires, for ordination to Ministry of the Word in the Port Phillip East Presbytery.
Fiona Bottcher, for ordination to Ministry of Deacon in the Port Phillip West Presbytery.
Annettia Goldsmith, for ordination to Ministry of the Word in the Tasmania Presbytery.
Ye (Viola) Liang, for ordination to Ministry of the Word in the Yarra Yarra Presbytery.
Yoo Mi Park, for ordination to Ministry of the Word in the Port Phillip West Presbytery.
Hoansung (Mike) You, for ordination to Ministry of the Word in the Yarra Yarra Presbytery.