Trinity College Theological School, Melbourne

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Trinity College Theological School (TCTS) is part of Trinity College,[1] the oldest college of the University of Melbourne. The school was founded in 1877 by Bishop James Moorhouse for the purpose of training a "learned and dedicated clergy".[2] This founding vision has been the core of the school's contribution to the church and its focus has now broadened to forms of theological education and formation including lay people as well as ordination candidates.

Overview and history[edit]

Trinity is committed to shaping men and women in ordained and lay ministry in the Anglican tradition. It represents a moderate Catholic tradition of theology, worship and spirituality and seeks to embody the Anglican way in a critical, reflective and articulate style in dialogue with the contemporary world.[citation needed]

The school community consists of around nine full-time and part-time staff and over 40 students in the Ministry Formation Program, many of whom are preparing for ordination. More than 60 students participate in the Theology Online program, founded and administered by Trinity but now shared with the University of Divinity as a whole, which reaches all over Australia and internationally. In addition there are over 30 parish groups in regional and metropolitan Australia using the Trinity Certificate in Theology and Ministry.

The original pattern of studying theology at Trinity was based on residence in the college, with participation not only in chapel and other formational activities but full engagement in the sporting and social life of a university college. From the 1970s changes in demography of ordination candidates meant non-resident membership of the school became first possible and then normal.

Since 2002 the activities of the school have been centred on the Old Warden's Lodge (OWL), on the southeastern corner of the Trinity College campus. In 2009-10 OWL was renovated and extended to provide a more adequate and self-contained centre for theological education, with two lecture rooms, three tutorial and meeting rooms, common room and academic staff offices. Staff and students nonetheless have access to all the facilities of Trinity College, including the chapel, dining hall, tutorial rooms, library and grounds.

Academic program[edit]

Until the 1960s, Trinity theological students normally undertook a degree program of the University of Melbourne, followed by the Licentiate in Theology of the Australian College of Theology. The teachers were often local clergy and lectures were shared with nearby Ridley College.

In 1969 Trinity became a foundation member of the ecumenical United Faculty of Theology (UFT). This partnership with the Jesuit Theological College and Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational theological schools (later combined as the Uniting Church Theological Hall) created an ecumenical context for higher learning rare in its degree of integration, which continues to the present.

Trinity students normally undertake either the undergraduate Bachelor of Theology degree of MCD University of Divinity or the graduate Master of Divinity degree - formerly Bachelor of Divinity - of the MCD. Additional studies with a specifically pastoral or formational character have often led to the further award of the Diploma in Ministry.

Trinity students are served by the Leeper Library at Trinity and by the Mollison collection, the library of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, which is also held at the college. They also have access to the Dalton-McCaughey Library, the joint collection of the Jesuit and Uniting Church colleges, with one of the finest research theological collections in the southern hemisphere.[3]

Deans and directors[edit]

Leadership of theological education at Trinity was originally the responsibility of the college chaplains under the supervision of the warden. Since the 1970s there have been lecturers specifically appointed to teach in and lead the school, holding the positions of Stewart Lecturer, Director and, more recently, Dean. The following have held these offices:

  • Max Thomas: Stewart Lecturer, 1971–75
  • John Gaden: Director and Stewart Lecturer, 1976–85
  • Richard McKinney: Director and Maynard Lecturer, 1986–1997
  • Scott Cowdell: Maynard Lecturer and Acting Director, 1998
  • David Cole: Director and Woods Lecturer, 1999–2003
  • Andrew McGowan: Director and Munro Lecturer, 2003–2007
  • Tim Gaden: Dean and Stewart Lecturer, 2007–2010
  • Dorothy Lee: Dean and Frank Woods Distinguished Professor, 2011–present

Academic staff[edit]

In addition to adjunct teachers and the registrar, the school has six academic staff formally appointed to named lectureships:

  • Dorothy Lee: Frank Woods Distinguished Professor of New Testament, dean of the TCTS
  • Stephen Burns: Stewart Distinguished Lecturer in Liturgical & Practical Theology, formation co-ordinator and associate dean
  • Jasmine Dow: Noel Carter Associate Lecturer in Practical Theology, co-ordinator of the Certificate in Theology and Ministry
  • Cecilia Francis: Emily Gavan Lecturer in Practical Theology, co-ordinator of Supervised Theological Field Education Program
  • Mark Lindsay: Joan F. W. Munro Professor of Historical Theology, research co-ordinator
  • Don Saines: Farnham Maynard Senior Lecturer in Systematic Theology, coursework co-ordinator

The school has appointed several experienced priests as mission partners who serve as part-time lecturers:

  • Craig D'Alton: St Mary's North Melbourne Lecturer in Anglican Studies
  • John Deane: ABM Lecturer in Mission
  • Hugh Kempster: St Peter's Eastern Hill Lecturer in Spirituality
  • Richard Treloar: Christ Church South Yarra Lecturer in Ministry Studies

Permanent adjunct lecturers include:

  • Brad Billings: New Testament and Early Christian studies
  • Ray Cleary: public and pastoral theology
  • David Gormley O'Brien: patristics and Biblical Greek

Notable alumni[edit]

Trinity has produced many clergy who have held significant appointments in the Anglican Church. These include:


  1. ^ Trinity College - The University of Melbourne
  2. ^ James Grant, Perspective of a Century (Melbourne: Trinity College, 1973)
  3. ^ Ian Breward, Holding Fast, Letting Go: A History of the UFT, United Faculty of Theology Commencement Lecture, 1999 (Melbourne: The Author, 1999), p. 17.

Coordinates: 37°47′45″S 144°57′31″E / 37.79583°S 144.95861°E / -37.79583; 144.95861