Chair of the Theological Education Task Group Mr Rob Leivesley brought a preliminary report to the 25th meeting of the Queensland Synod.
The Task Group understands the need to provide quality theological education in a financially sustainable environment and said that, while the face-to-face college environment remains important, it needs to be supplemented by other facilities which provide for self directed and alternative learning experiences.
The needs of congregations which cannot afford an ordained placement has created a need for flexible lay theological education delivered locally where possible and with appropriately trained supervision and mentoring.
Describing the current arrangements as less than adequate Mr Leivesley called for a more robust relationship with Griffith University.
Mr Leivesley said that the relationship between the Brisbane College of Theology and Griffith University has been significantly under-developed and that none of the other synod theological colleges with more favourable arrangements had reported any loss of autonomy.
The Task Group report indicated that they are still exploring the range of benefits to be obtained but recognise the multiplier effects to be gained from systematically harnessing appropriate theological and secular studies into the life and mission of the church.
"The Task Group is well aware of the complexity of the task and the need for wide consultation before making substantive recommendations," said Mr Leivesley.
The Theological Education Task Group asked for an extension of time to complete its work before a final report is brought to the 26th Synod in 2007 with substantive reports to the Council of Synod as progress is made.
Photo : Mr Robert Leivesley, Chair of the Theological Education Task Group