Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I went teaching, frankly, not only to earn a living, but to gain skills which might be useful in pastoring or possibly theological lecturing later. I always knew it would be an interim vocation: teaching theology (or a subset like practical theology or apologetics) would be my main life's work. I'd known that since the age of about 16.

I taught at St. Andrew's Cathedral Choir School in Sydney for a term, while at Sydney University... more about that here.

After two years at Bathurst Teachers' College I was appointed to Captain's Flat Central School (k-10) 
- 1959-61 - teaching just about everything (except science, domestic science, woodwork/metalwork) to 12-15 year-olds. 

As any teacher will attest, first year out is challenging: how does one exert authority over teenagers whose hormones are mucking up? In the holiday-period between my first and second year I gave a lot of thought to this (in addition to thoughts associated with getting married to Jan!!!). The next four years were - professionally - a 'breeze'!

Then two years (1962-3) at Jannali Boys' High School (Sydney) 
 - where I taught Geography, History and English.
 While there I helped to start up an Interschool Christian Fellowship (ISCF) group. One of the co-leaders was Paul de Plater, who later became a Baptist pastor - and ministered for a short time at Narwee Baptist a few years after we left. He was a good man, given to depression, and later committed suicide. I remember having dinner with him at a restaurant in Cronulla, when his estranged son walked in. It was very moving. The other co-leader I have just met again at a UNOH conference (July 2008): David Chambers, who has had a lifetime of ministry in Christian education and serving the poor. He and his wife Margaret live at Coburg in Melbourne these days. 

After Jannali I entered the NSW Baptist Theological College, and began a student pastorate at Narwee Baptist Church.


Churches in these five years:

1. Captain's Flat Presbyterian Church. 80+ year old Rev. Robertson drove in all weathers from Braidwood (I think twice a month) to preach at the services - an inspiring example of ministerial longevity.  

2. St. Thomas' Kingsgrove (1962). The memory of the evening vesper comes to mind regularly: Lead me Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make my way plain before my face. For it is Thou, Lord, Thou Lord only, that makest me dwell in safety'. 

3. Mortdale Baptist Church. Rev. Colin Campbell was in inspiration in other ways - especially the value of 'home visiting' members of his congregation, and administration. (This was the largest Baptist church in NSW at the time, and he had only one other pastoral staff-member - Deaconess Elaine McCormack).

Here I've written an article about the teaching ministry of the church... 

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