News Archive

Historic link for ALC and MCD
18 January 2011

On Thursday 2 December 2010, in a setting of worship and prayer, Australian Lutheran College became a Recognised Teaching Institution (RTI) of the Melbourne College of Divinity (MCD) through the signing of a formal Memorandum of Understanding. This historic event is a milestone in the five year journey between the two bodies, and marks the beginning of an exciting new era of cooperation and collaboration.

Rev Linards Jansons, Rev David Gogoll, Rev John Henderson, Professor Paul Beirne and Dr Mike Semmler at the historic signing of memorandum

Rev Linards Jansons (liturgist), Rev David Gogoll (Chairman of ALC Board), Rev John Henderson, Professor Paul Beirne and Dr Mike Semmler (LCA President) at the historic signing of memorandum between ALC and the MCD.

‘This is a truly momentous occasion for MCD,’ said MCD Dean Professor Paul Beirne. ‘It is an opportunity for us to expand our horizons and offer a wider range of courses from an organisation with a great tradition of scholarship.’

The MOU was signed by Pastor John Henderson as Principal of ALC as well as Professor Beirne, during a special chapel service to mark the occasion, which was also attended by LCA President Rev’d Dr Michael Semmler, Chairman of the ALC Board of Directors Pastor David Gogoll, and the LCA College of Presidents.

‘This is a significant moment in the life of ALC, MCD and the LCA,’ said Pastor Henderson. ‘This is the culmination of a long period of discussion, debate, negotiation and discernment.

‘ALC stands in 170 years of tradition of Lutheran education in Australia, and shares that cultural and theological character. We have enjoyed a unique position as the only Lutheran school of our kind in Australia and New Zealand and we are now ready to engage further with other theological educators, and also to learn from their experiences.

‘In our generation, we must make good our Lutheran confession. We have a chance to live out the original meaning of the word evangelical, as we give account for the faith that is in us. Today we demonstrate that ALC is about more than institutional or personal survival. We are committed to the health and vitality of God’s church in this time, and in this place.’

The agreement means that ALC is joining a federated community of scholarship which is in the process of expanding and diversifying. The MCD, which celebrated its centenary in 2010, is in negotiations with two other Colleges, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, to join its ranks as Recognised Teaching Institutions, and with a national research institute soon to join it as well.

In his address, Professor Beirne thanked Pastor Henderson and emeriti Principal Rev Dr Michael Hassold for their commitment and creativity during the negotiation process. He also brought greetings and salutations from the Council of the MCD which met on 1 December to witness the signing of the MOU by the MCD President, Rev Dr Terry Curtin, and the MCD Registrar, Mr Jeff Reaney.

‘The signing was greeted with resounding applause from Council members, who expressed their delight, pride and excitement in witnessing this new and very significant relationship with such a reputable academic institution,’ said Professor Beirne.

‘I am firmly convinced that both our institutions will benefit from this union,’ he said. ‘The MCD has already been changed and enriched with the addition of six new Regulations which incorporate a suite of education awards, including a Masters in Education (Coursework and Research), as well as a Bachelor of Ministry degree and a Graduate Diploma in Faith Community Nursing.

‘We have, and will continue, to learn from ALC in a wide and diverse variety of ways. In this very exciting time in the history of the MCD, we consider it a great honour to extend membership of the College to an institution of such academic stature as and unwavering Christian commitment as the Australian Lutheran College.

Ad multos annos: May this relationship last for many, many years into the future,’ said Professor Beirne.