Ridley Melbourne, formerly known as Ridley College, is a Christian theological college in the parklands of central Melbourne, Australia. Established in 1910, it has an evangelical foundation and outlook and is affiliated with the Australian College of Theology and the Anglican Church of Australia. The college offers on-campus and distance learning and provides training for various Christian ministries in a range of contexts.
Named after a 16th-century English Reformation martyr, Nicholas Ridley, Ridley Melbourne was established on 1 March 1910 as Ridley College to provide residential theological training. Its founders were evangelical Anglican clergy and laypeople from throughout Victoria. Ridley Melbourne's principals have included the prominent New Testament scholar Leon Morris (1914–2006; principal 1964–1979), known for his studies of the atonement.
For much of its history, a main feature of Ridley Melbourne was its residential college, with students accommodated mainly in the Aiken and Baker buildings. Like other residential colleges in the area, it provided its students with a range of academic, social and religious programs. From 1965 to 2005, Ridley was an affiliated residential college of the University of Melbourne and, in 1972, it became the first of the university's colleges open to both men and women. In 2005, the residential college was closed due to rising costs. The following year, it was reopened to provide accommodation specifically for international students from the surrounding universities, the University of Melbourne, RMIT University and Monash University. The residential college was again closed at the end of 2007. Ridley Melbourne retains a small residential theological community in the renamed Baker building (formerly Bearham).
The Principals of Ridley Melbourne have been:
- George Aicken, 1910–1917
- Eustace Wade, 1918–1938
- Donald Baker, 1938–1952
- Stuart Barton Babbage, 1953–1963
- Leon Morris, 1964–1979
- Maurice Betteridge, 1979–1992
- Graham Cole, 1992–2001
- Peter Adam, 2002–2012
- Brian Rosner, 2012–present
Education and training
Ridley Melbourne aims to provide Christian theological formation with a balance across three domains: ministry practice, Christian thought (theology and ethics) and biblical studies (including Greek and Hebrew languages). While the college teaches from an evangelical theological perspective, it is open to Christians of all backgrounds. Its stated aims are to equip its students for Christian ministries in a variety of settings, including a range of church denominations and cross-cultural contexts. The college actively supports parachurch work as well as ordained and local church roles. Along with Trinity College Theological School, Ridley Melbourne also trains ordinands for ministry in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and other Anglican dioceses.
Ridley Melbourne's academic resources include its library and bookshop. The Leon Morris Library has a collection of 46,000 volumes and 150 journal subscriptions and contains significant resources on biblical studies. The Ridley Melbourne Bookshop provides a range of theological titles from various publishers, with emphases on biblical studies, ethics and ministry and is also open to the public.
Ridley Melbourne is a government-recognised tertiary institution and a CRICOS provider, offering education to international students. This means that domestic students have access to government support for tuition fees. The college offers undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs and courses from the Australian College of Theology, the education provider for 20 Christian colleges in Australia. Its programs include the Master of Divinity, the Graduate Diploma of Divinity and the Bachelor of Theology.
There have been a number of developments in recent years at the college. In 2008, Ridley Melbourne completed a new vision for development and began restructuring its education around six learning communities. These include the college's distance learning program, eRidley, which was established in 2007. eRidley – renamed Ridley Online in 2014 – is particularly designed to provide training for Australians in remote areas, in collaboration with the Bush Church Aid Society. In June 2008, Ridley Melbourne sold the southern half of its property to residential developers, including the Aickin, Baker, Cumnock and Larcombe buildings and the octagonal chapel designed by James Stahle. The Bearham building was subsequently renamed Baker to preserve naming according to the college's principals. In May 2009, Ridley announced the establishment of a Jonathan Edwards Centre affiliated with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University. Kenneth Minkema, executive director of the Jonathan Edwards Center, commented, “The establishment of the Jonathan Edwards Center–Australia at Ridley Melbourne is a significant expansion of Edwards scholarship and will serve widely both academia and the church.”
Campus and community
Ridley Melbourne is located in Parkville, a residential parkland suburb roughly three kilometres from the centre of Melbourne, Victoria. The campus is situated between Royal Park to the west and Princes Park to the east. The campus buildings surround two main courtyards and are used as follows:
- Babbage—chapel; faculty offices
- Baker—faculty offices; student recreation block; residential theological apartments
- Stanway—classrooms and bookshop (ground); Leon Morris Library (above)
- Wade—reception; staff offices
- Dining room with adjacent kitchen and meeting rooms
Campus life centres around lunches and chapel gatherings. The college community eats lunch together on Tuesdays and Thursdays and dinner is provided for evening students on Wednesdays. Chapel gatherings occur on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and alternate between Anglican and open styles of worship. The chapel services are organised by the Theological Students Association along with prayer groups, student newsletters, social events and the annual Launch Camp.
- Brian Rosner — Principal
- Tim Foster — Director of Theological Education and Formation
- Lindsay Wilson — Academic Dean; Old Testament
- Andy Abernethy — Lecturer in Old Testament
- Ken Barnes — Dean of Marketplace Institute
- Michael Bird — Theology
- Rhys Bezzant — Dean of Missional Leadership; church history
- Lisa Brown — Youth ministry
- Len Firth — ESL lecturer
- Charlie Fletcher — Dean of Global Mission
- Andrew Malone — Dean of eRidley; Greek; New Testament
- Kara Martin — Associate Dean of Marketplace Institute; Certificate program
- Anthea McCall — New Testament
- Richard Trist — Dean of the Anglican Institute; Supervised Field Education
- Trinity Theological School, Melbourne
- Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
- Presbyterian Theological College
- Melbourne School of Theology
- Yale University
- "FAQs". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-04.
- "History". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-07.
- Stuard Piggin, Evangelical Christianity in Australia: Spirit word and world, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1996): 205.
- Resolution 9.3 in "University of Melbourne Council Meeting No 6/07". University of Melbourne. Retrieved on 2009-03-07.
- . ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-15
- "FAQs". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
- "Leon Morris Library". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
- "Help and Information". bookshop.ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
- "Ridley Melbourne". actheology.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-09.
- "About Ridley". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
- Bruce Kaye, Anglicanism in Australia: a history(Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2002): 263.
- Nicole Harvey, Ridley Melbourne and Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, Ridley Melbourne. http://www.ridley.edu.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=213&Itemid=1 Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Ridley Melbourne (3 February 2009). "Student Handbook II". p. 16.
- "People". ridley.edu.au. Retrieved on 2009-03-08.
- Ridley Melbourne - Mission & Ministry College
- Ridley Melbourne Bookshop
- Leon Morris Library
- Jonathan Edwards Centre