26 February 2009: Australian Catholic University (ACU) and the Uniting Church’s Trinity Theological College signed an agreement yesterday pledging a sharing of teaching, resources and research.
The partnership represents a historic moment ecumenically, and will enable collaboration in theological education and open up further opportunities for theological research.
It builds on collaboration between ACU and Trinity Theological College over recent years, in the provision of library services and more recently, research training.
Pro-Vice Chancellor of ACU, Professor Gabrielle McMullen, said the University had been aware of and admired the ecumenical approach to theological education to which both the Catholic Church and the Uniting Church had contributed in Queensland.
“My colleagues and I have noted and appreciated the warmth with which the Uniting Church and its Synod have approached this collaboration with ACU and we very much look forward to working together and building on the long-standing ecumenical collaboration in theological education that exists here in Brisbane,” she said. “The presence of St Paul's Theological College, now within the University, makes this association with Trinity Theological College doubly precious.”
Rev Dr David Rankin, Principal of the College, said the affiliation would be a great benefit to both parties.
“From next year we will contribute by developing and teaching a number of units which will be part of the Bachelor of Theology at ACU,” he said. “As well as contribute to the supervision of PhD students and participate in research programs at the University.
“We are mindful of the fact that it’s a Catholic university with a profoundly Catholic ethos. Over the past 20 years or more our students have been taught in a faculty which comprises Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church lecturers - that ecumenical teaching has been a hallmark of our teaching for 30 years or more.
“This is an ecumenical agreement where there is deep respect - there is a lot more in common than there are differences - and where there are differences those are respected.”