I claimed at the meeting that Wesley
College's essential mission (the 'sap' of the Wesley 'tree') is, in a nutshell,
to nurture the goodness of all its students through education.
I went on to say that the distinctive
imprint that Wesley gives this mission is that the school is extroverted
in professing it and in encouraging its students to further it beyond the
The College has many conscious and
unconscious symbols that proclaim this -- not the least of
which, although I did not say so at the time, is the inscription at the
foot of John Wesley's statue in the foyer at Prahran.
I also did not mention my belief
that a highly significant aspect of this essential extroversion is the
environment of Wesley's Prahran Campus.
No Wesley student who has attended
that Campus since 1866 has been able to avoid the inculcation of some degree
of social conscience, an awareness of the needs of others who are significantly
different: the deaf, the blind, the aged and the ill --
Wesley students at Prahran are confronted
constantly and inescapably with the needs of these people.
Glen McArthur's 'opening' of the
fence between Wesley and the VSDC is very significant in this context.
(Incidentally, modern-day Wesleyans might like to investigate the siting
of John Wesley's Kingswood School in the late 1740s.)
ANOTHER DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
PRAHRAN AND GLEN
We outlined a number of valid and
significant differences between these two Wesley campuses at our meeting.
I believe that the fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs above highlight another
one. Glen Waverley students are not confronted physically and daily
with these issues.
Whilst it is probably necessary that
we go through a period of 'one school uniformity', I believe we must be
ready soon to shape the vision of how our mission may serve differing communities
in varying environments -- to find the way to be one Wesley
College Melbourne but three schools independently fulfilling a common mission
on different fronts.
I believe we cannot see this way
yet but we must look hard for it. Again, our educational and religious
history tells us not to be too surprised that we might think like this.