A moment of divine intervention
Sammy Wilkinson, 23, was born in Redcliffe, near Brisbane, and raised in a Christian family that belonged to an evangelical community church. He was also educated in a church school. As a teenager, however, he became disillusioned with the church and subsequently left.
So what led this young man, who rejected the church, to study for a Bachelor of Theology at Trinity College Theological School in Melbourne?
Sammy explains: “I moved to Melbourne after finishing high school and worked part-time in retail positions for a few years. While working in a sneaker store, I was lucky enough to meet my lovely girlfriend, Hope.
“I tried studying film and television, but dropped out in my first year after growing tired of it. Then I had a short-lived attempt at studying ancient history, which also didn’t stick. I guess I didn’t find a sense of meaning in these fields.
“Then I started a Diploma of Theology at Trinity, partly out of interest, but also, I thought, to obtain a diploma so I could study Arts at the University of Melbourne. In retrospect, I now understand this to have been a (much needed) moment of divine intervention which subsequently reoriented my whole life. I am very lucky.
“I studied on campus and what I discovered there was a warm and engaging academic community which reignited my faith and genuinely nurtured my learning. So I decided to stay at Trinity and undertake a Bachelor of Theology.
“Seeing the faith through an academic lens is encouraged at Trinity, and for me that allowed a fresh and exciting perspective on the whole of my religious life.
“I’ve appreciated the high standard of lectures as well as the very genuine personal support afforded to each student. The lecturers actually do care about our learning, which is cool.
“Having just finished my second year, I am now taking my first baby steps on the path towards ordination, starting with the year of discernment next year. I want to grow in my faith, put down roots within a faith community and discover ways in which I can make a tangible difference in the lives of the people around me.
“There has understandably been a widening gap between my generation and the church. It’s my wish to be able to demonstrate the life-giving nature of being a part of a community gathered around the love of God.”
“I also want to express my gratitude for what Trinity College has done for me and I am thrilled to be continuing my theological studies at such a remarkably special institution,” he says.
Article written by Rosemary Sheludko