MAC Autumn Newsletter 2017
What a start to the year! We moved back into our newly-renovated space with only one week before lectures commenced. You can imagine the challenges that gave us – but we did it! A great thank-you to MAC staff, Sarah, Karen and Anna for patience and perseverance beyond the call of duty. We wanted everything to be organised when students arrived. And arrive they did – with another great year of enrolments. We currently have 206 people studying at Mary Andrews College, with many of these students doing more than one unit.
We had just settled in when graduation was upon us. It is always the highlight of the year for the staff and faculty. At graduation we get to celebrate not just academic achievement but the incredible journey some have been on to arrive at this point. One graduate this year has studied with us for 16 years! For me, personally, Nicole’s story is very close to my heart as I saw God transform this woman and use her so powerfully in the lives of others. Read about Nicole’s story below, which is a powerful testimony to God’s ability to turn someone’s life around.
Mary Andrews College is part of an organisation called Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM). ADM has been doing wonderful things for many years and this year new exciting developments are happening. Many of these developments may interest or even involve MAC students, so in each newsletter we want to share some of those developments with you.*
My prayer is that many women will be encouraged in their Christian life and ministry through Mary Andrews College. I hope you are encouraged as you read what we share with you in this edition of our newsletter. Please feel free to pass this on to your friends and family.

Warm regards,

Rev. Jackie Stoneman
Director of Studies, Mary Andrews College

*Click here to read Jackie’s article about how MAC fits into ADM, and the outstanding women who shaped MAC.
The MAC community celebrated the achievements of 55 students at this year’s graduation ceremony on Friday 24 March, at Village Church Annandale.
The graduates included 16 Diploma and five Certificate students, who were presented awards by Rev Dr Martin Sutherland, new Dean and CEO of the Australian College of Theology. Pastoral Care Course awards were also presented to 34 students by Gillian Davidson, former Chair of the ADM Board. A special presentation was held for MAC student Nicole Gertenaar, who passed away last year before receiving her Diploma of Christian Studies. Nicole’s award was accepted on her behalf by her friend Joanne. (Read a tribute to Nicole later in this newsletter.)

The 2016 Mary Andrews Prize for the highest mark for a Diploma student was awarded to Karen Ray, for completing the Reformation Study Tour unit with High Distinction. Michelle Lim – one of the first ADM trainees to graduate with a Diploma – shared her experiences of studying while engaging in church ministry through her traineeship.

Rev Jackie Stoneman, Director of Studies at MAC, encouraged graduates and the MAC community to continue serving Christ and those around them, based on the teaching of Isaiah 58. She pointed graduates to the rich heritage of women who have been raised up for Kingdom work through Mary Andrews College and Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM). Praise God for raising up another group of women for his service in these graduates.
How should Christians respond to major needs in our world, such as poverty, refugees, government aid, debt and warfare? This is the basis of a new Aid and Development unit starting at MAC next semester as part of diploma courses.
This is the first time MAC has run the Aid and Development unit, and one of the first times it's been offered anywhere at diploma level. This means the unit is now accessible to a broad range of students, including those who have never before undertaken formal study.

“As a diploma level unit, we are putting together a subject that is engaging and thought-provoking but that will also offer practical ways that people can make a difference in their own life and ministry,” says unit lecturer, Dr Louise Gosbell. 
“It is easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about complex issues such as global poverty, but small changes we can make in our own day-to-day lives and in our churches can actually make an enormous difference.”
The unit will feature a range of key speakers who have experience working in Christian aid, development and advocacy positions, including those from TEAR Australia, CBM Australia and fair trade organisations. Topics will cover three main areas:
  1. World need – examining the extent of problems such as poverty and refugees, and current aid and development responses to these problems;
  2. The foundations for Christian responses – looking at Christian aid organisations, and the role of mission and evangelism in aid and development;
  3. Rethinking response methods – with discussion about topics such as fair trade, the Indigenous community, disability and climate change.
The Aid and Development unit ties into the Mercy and Justice Ministries arm of Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM). As part of its Mercy & Justice work, ADM has played an integral part in the Anglican Syrian Iraqi Refugee Response, providing $50,000 in small grants to assist churches to develop or expand ministries that connect with refugees.

“This is continuing to give expression to what ADM has always sought to do,” says Rev Jackie Stoneman, Director of Studies at MAC. “So, it seemed really appropriate that Mary Andrews College should offer some units in our diploma courses that reflect this emphasis – to provide solid biblical training and practical care ministries in the name of Christ. It is exciting that we can offer all students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding about global issues, and the skills to engage with these issues in their own lives and in their communities.”
The Aid and Development unit will be run over five daytime intensives, at the MAC city campus, starting on 17 July. For more information, visit or phone 1300 590 531.
We hope you are enjoying the beautiful space in our new ‘garden in the city’. It is wonderful to see students engaged in training rooms, conversing in the kitchen and pondering over books in the library.

We are pleased to let you know that the kitchen is officially open! We would like to invite MAC students to make use of the kitchen from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please be mindful that this is a communal space, and ADM and MAC staff will need access to this space as their lunch area. Please also note that the kitchen fridge is not available for food storage by students, as it is needed for functions and for staff use. Thank you for your consideration and please make yourself at home!

Archbishop Glenn Davies (left) joined some of the ADM and MAC community as we officially launched our newly renovated space at an event last Thursday evening. 

Here's Cathy Harris, MAC Academic Dean (left), Kim Robinson, Librarian (centre) and Jackie Stoneman, our Director of Studies (right) at the launch event.
Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM) has announced the appointment of Rev Jenni Stoddart, School Chaplain at Abbotsleigh, as its new Chair of the Board, following the retirement of Gillian Davidson after 13 years of service.

In taking up the position of Chair, Jenni said: “As I reflected on this appointment, Psalm 127:1 kept ringing in my mind: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.’ Throughout the history of ADM, the deaconesses laboured with clarity about the gospel, teaching God’s word and sacrificially serving those in need … As ADM encourages women to flourish in ministries of word and action, my prayer is that we will do so in the same way as those who went before us.”

What’s a Hub and a Fellow, I hear you ask … Two of MAC’s faculty members share about their involvement in these innovative mentoring and project-incubation programs, run through ADM.
ADM's Hub class of 2017, from left to right: Ruth Lewis-Jones, Dana Gruben, Sarah Morse, Michelle Koh and Sarah Kinstead

Reflections from The Hub: Sarah Kinstead* 

“It’s only my fourth week as part of The Hub, and I already feel incredibly thankful and blessed to be a part of this amazing program. I was accepted into The Hub in December last year, based on my idea to improve pastoral care services within healthcare facilities in my local community of the Northern Beaches in Sydney. However, I’m already realising that this project may have an even further reach.
Before starting at the Hub, I spent a couple of years praying about and reflecting on possibilities for a Northern Beaches chaplaincy project. However, I wasn’t sure where to start or how it could work in with my other work and life commitments. Not surprisingly, God knew this too, and enabled me to free up time to work on the project and commit to the weekly sessions of The Hub.
Before commencing The Hub program, I expected it to offer a supportive mentored environment in which to approach this project, both one-to-one with a professional mentor, Kara Martin, and other members of the Seed initiative, as well as a peer group who are going through their own journeys. I also hoped it would provide weekly accountability and support, as well as a useful network of people and resources – all of which has been the case. I suppose what I hadn’t expected to find was the level of expertise, and the concrete tools and input that would aid this process, which have been provided by The Hub. I can now see that I couldn’t do this project without the Hub. So at the same time that God has freed up my time to focus on this project, The Hub has become an essential part of God’s enabling provision for me to do this work.
Needless to say, this is a very different picture to the year I had planned for and imagined! ‘The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9).”
*Sarah teaches the MAC Pastoral Evangelism course unit. For more information about The Hub, visit

Reflections from an ADM Fellow: Louise Gosbell*

“I was selected as an ADM Senior Research Fellow in December last year. The Fellowship program has given me a platform from which I could begin work on a project that I have been contemplating for over five years. This project focuses on the experiences of people with a disability in the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, with the aim of also creating a handbook on disability inclusion to assist churches in this area.
I am so grateful for the incredible opportunity to be part of the Fellowship program in 2017. Not only have I met a wonderful group of dedicated, intelligent, thought-provoking Christian women, but through the funding and professional support provided to Fellows, I have the opportunity to work on a project I am really excited about.
Being part of the Fellowship program means being part of an organisation that brings together the collective voices of Christian women. One of ADM’s great strengths is providing connections for women in various areas of ministry. ADM provides not only links with other women who might be working on similar projects, but also connects mentors and those who have long-term ministry experience with those who are only in the formative stages of their ministry work. The opportunity to bandy around ideas, to be challenged with new ideas, to find new arenas within which to present our work have been key parts of my experience so far in the Fellowship. I look forward to seeing those opportunities continue to develop throughout the rest of the year, and to bringing my project to completion.”
*Louise teaches a number of MAC course units, including the new Aid and Development unit (see story in this newsletter). For more information about ADM Fellowships, visit
ADM Fellows, from left to right: Annette Pierdziwol (Fellowships Manager), Meredith Lake, Louise Gosbell, Amelia Schwarze, Alix Beeston and Jo Chew.
Nicole (‘Nicky’) Gertenaar started studying at MAC in 2014, after coming to know Jesus through Kairos Prison Ministries. She was working towards a Diploma in Christian Studies, and was to be awarded the diploma at the recent graduation ceremony on 24 March. Sadly, Nicky passed away in December 2016 before she could graduate. 
When friends are asked about Nicky, the first thing that they speak about was her authentic love and care for others – the mark of a life transformed and shaped by Christ. There are endless stories of Nicky’s selfless commitment to others during her time at MAC. Janice Kennedy, who met Nicky through Kairos, says, “I met two people at her funeral who told me stories about her kindness. One was a new MAC student who was struggling with assignments. The other was a young person who told me how recently, when she found herself in trouble with the law, Nicky was there at court to support her.” Jackie remembers conversations when Nicky shared that she was late to class or late to submit course work because she had been too busy helping out other people. This was true to Nicky’s character. She was deeply convicted of her responsibility to help others, and she did this joyfully, regardless of the personal cost.

Nicky loved and valued her time at MAC. This was partly because of the joy she took in growing in her knowledge of the Scriptures and learning how to apply them to her life. Margaret Padroth, a friend of Nicky’s and fellow MAC student, says, “She told me she had especially enjoyed the subject ‘Holy Spirit, Grace and Hope’.” However, Nicky enjoyed MAC for more reasons than just the study. She found MAC to be a warm, Christ-focussed community that welcomed her in. Margaret says, “Apart from learning, I think, for Nicky, MAC was a safe place. A place where she was loved, welcomed and accepted for who she was.”
MAC also gave back to Nicky the confidence in her academic abilities that she had lost since high school. Margaret says, “Being at MAC gave Nicky new-found confidence and direction in life.” It renewed Nicky’s focus, and she approached her studies with great enthusiasm. One friend recalls Nicky phoning her and saying, excitedly, “Would you believe it? I got a high distinction!”
There are many things that Nicky’s friends and fellow students know were true of her. She was kind, authentic and caring. She was compassionate and eager to help. She had a hard life, with a past that caused her pain. But how would Nicky like us to remember her? There is little doubt that she would want to be remembered as a saved child of God, and a sinner made holy.
At Nicky’s funeral, her friend, Jan Dower, presented a poem she wrote in memory of Nicky that ended with these words:
“And our loneliness will end …
And we’ll enjoy God’s promises too,
When we’re united with you one day.”

Nicky’s experience at MAC encourages and reminds the MAC community to continue to be a place where people are equipped to serve Christ, not only in ministry and at churches but also in fellowship with each other. It is a community that loves and cares for one another, regardless of each student’s different story. In this way, it is a community that reflects the love of Christ.

-- Story by Hayley Lukabyo

16–18 JUNE 2017

Slow down in a beautiful, peaceful setting in the Southern Highlands. Take the opportunity to reflect on God's word, enjoy peace and tranquillity, and to be renewed and refreshed physically, emotionally and spiritually. Led by Gillian Davis, this weekend's focus will be 'Growing Through Stress'. 

Click here for more information or to book your place. Spots are limited!


To celebrate the 500th anniversiary of the Reformation, Mary Andrews College will be hosting an interactive experience focussing on Martin Luther and Katie von Bora, the nun who became his wife. Suitable for all ages and educational backgrounds, this event will give a taste of life and thought in Reformation, and the impact it made on everyday people, both then and through to today. 

Sat 23 Sept and Mon 25 Sept 
at MAC City Campus. Stay tuned for more info coming soon.


Have you got a great Kingdom-building idea and need support to get it off the ground?
ADM partners with Seed to bring you The Hub – a program that provides training and mentoring, while helping to shape initiatives and bring them to life.
Applications for Hub Winter Class 2017 open on 1 May. 

Find out more here.


Our college Information Mornings are the perfect opportunity to find out about study at Mary Andrews College. Meet the faculty, staff and other students over morning tea and gain an understanding about how our courses equip you to serve Christ, by applying God’s word to your heart and mind. Be sure to invite your friends!
Next Information Mornings:
Thur 20 April 10am–12pm
Wed 28 June 10am–12pm
At MAC City Campus
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