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Growing Pains

TALKING to so many educators for this issue could not help but make me think about how much I am learning myself every day at work on Journey.

It made me reflect, too, on how we really do learn in community with others whether in dedicated classrooms or lecture halls, or in the midst of the communities we find in our families, neighbourhoods, congregations or workplaces.

More than one of the distinguished educators in this month's pages made the point that it is the congregation itself that is the seat of learning when it comes to Christian formation.

I was also struck by how the graduates of Trinity Theological College we spoke to emphasised the significance to their formation for ministry of the experience they found at the college of community, with lecturers and fellow students alike.

Life itself is a great teacher.

And if we stop learning, we also cease to grow.

Sitting still is comfortable, to be sure, but it's a comfort we indulge in at our own risk.

Much better is risking the unknown by taking that journey to what Pilgrim Learning Community director Neil Thorpe calls the "learning edge".

Although Trinity Theological College Principal Rev Dr Geoff Thompson is thinking about theology when he quotes Sarah Coakley in his piece on page 7 as saying that discipline must involve duress, discomfort and bewilderment, I think we could say that all learning, and indeed all teaching, requires us to shake ourselves up in this way.

Committing to lifelong learning is the same as committing to lifelong growth – and being curious, exploring the new, and challenging ourselves in our existing knowledge will keep us vibrant and youthful in our outlook forever.

During this month of September, members and congregations of the Uniting Church will have the opportunity to increase their knowledge of our neighbours from other faith communities through the Assembly initiative, Interfaith September.

As Rev Heather Griffin points out on page 3, it is important that we choose our beliefs and actions out of knowledge not fear.

I hope you find this education issue of Journey not just interesting, but thought provoking and illuminating.