“We are here today to enter the Centre for Ministry as representatives of the multitudes who will come in the years to come. May all who come and go today and every day, be blessed.”
With these words, the Moderator, the Rev Dr Bill Ives welcomed the great congregation present on Sunday 3rd May, 1987, for the Official Opening of the Centre for Ministry. The Governor General, Sir Ninian Stephen opened the Centre and the Assembly President, Rev Ian Tanner dedicated it, before an audience of 1500 people. Today, it is with grateful hearts that we give thanks to God for the ministry that has taken place over a quarter of a century and which we welcome in the future.
Following approval at the 1981 Synod to develop the Centre for Ministry, the opening of the Centre 25 years ago was the culmination of years of cooperative dialogue by four partners: the Board of Education, United Theological College, the Assembly Commission for World Mission and later, the Board of Mission.
Central to the philosophy behind building the Centre was the education of the whole people of God. Its structure would reflect the Basis of Union, encouraging “both ministers and laity to develop their individual gifts to enhance the life of the whole and bear witness to the one ministry of Christ.” The Centre was therefore designed to bring together people physically, intellectually and in faith and worship. Spaces were planned to emphasise the importance of community and service. The Atrium, like the hub of a wheel, would create a forum for discussion and interaction of people – lay and ordained – with the various schools, library, chapel, dining room and auditorium interconnecting like the spokes of the wheel.
Equipping all its people for ministry has been a central part of the planning of the Synod, with the vision of a single centre which would help the whole Church more effectively minister into the 21st Century. We bear witness to that vision, which has been, and continues to be fulfilled by the grace of God in and through all of us in “the one ministry of Christ.”
The CFM celebrated 25 years since its opening in 2012, and a Compendium of this special event is available for downloading: