Wednesday, 18 September 2019  | Gerry - Administration Manager

What a great year 2018 was as we reconnected and celebrated our 45th anniversary! Well, the party hasn’t ended. 2019 is also a year with a significant anniversary for MECS. That’s because 1979 marked the launch of the Institute for Christian Education (ICE) which has now become the National Institute for Christian Education (NICE). The formation of ICE is worth remembering because of the deep significance of NICE for the Christian Education movement today in Australia.

Reading the history of ICE, it was clearly a massive challenge to get it off the ground. Two Victorian Christian schools, along with MECS, together with the Association for a Christian University, the Foundation for Christian Scholarship and the Bible College of Victoria, formed ICE. Many of the actors in that drama of launching ICE are big names in our MECS story. The substantial sounding ICE Commission had among its commissioners: Jos Goudswaard, Keith Greenwood, Jack Mechielsen, Geoff Wilson and Stewart Miller. Dr Doug Blomberg, another key MECS figure, was the Principal at the beginning. There were of course other significant non-MECS people involved, most notably Dr Stuart Fowler as he initiated this ambitious venture.

ICE launched its Graduate Diploma in Curriculum Studies in 1979, with Dr Stuart Fowler and Dr Doug Blomberg as the main faculty. In keeping with the incredibly sacrificial nature of efforts in our pioneering years, these men were initially working voluntarily. Ten students who began their studies in 1979 completed their studies after three years. Their graduation ceremony took place in the MECS Theatrette (by the way, if you were one of those graduates we’d love to hear your story – please get in touch). Dr Doug Blomberg wrote in a recent Christian Teachers Journal about the vision of ICE. He said, “This vision affirms the paramount significance of God’s revelation in Christ, scripture, and creation. Scripture is the supreme authority for interpreting experience, so a biblical perspective must permeate curriculum, pedagogy, and indeed, the structure of schooling.”

Fast forward 40 years. MECS is still deeply entrenched in NICE, the successor of ICE. Staff members Jacqui and Tim have teaching roles, as did our Principal, Narelle, until recently. We expect all our teachers to engage in post-graduate studies with NICE. I have a role as the Chair of the Christian Education National (CEN) Board in overseeing the governance of NICE. In early September 2019 the CEN Board together with the current Principal of NICE, Dr Rod T, renewed the mission statement for the Institute. It now goes like this: “NICE provides formative tertiary training grounded in Biblical immersion that shapes cultural engagement, specifically in the arena of education, for leaders, teachers, Board members and others within CEN school communities and further afield”. I’m encouraged that this looks like it is on the right trajectory, living out the vision of our pioneers who were also pioneers of NICE.

The MECS community has an amazing legacy in NICE. As you ReConnect with us in this edition, take some time to thank the Lord for that ongoing legacy. And please pray for NICE and all who are involved both as faculty and students (including MECS teachers).


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