I feel confident that the Sisters of St Joseph, Lochinvar, who established the Tenison Woods Education Centre (TWEC) after the synod of 25 years ago in order to offer opportunities for adult faith formation, are relishing a happy transition.
On Sunday, 28 May, a prayerful ritual in the chapel of the convent at Lochinvar marked the transition to the diocese of TWEC, to be known as the Tenison Woods Education Centre: Spirituality, Formation, Mission.
Participating in the ritual were many Sisters of St Joseph, course presenters, graduates of the Christian Formation and Ministry course and those who had benefited from other offerings under the auspices of TWEC. In fact, the entire diocesan community has benefited, directly or indirectly, from the deep faith, sound theology and spirit of hospitality that are the hallmarks of all things TWEC.
The “Ritual of Entrustment” acknowledged in word, music and symbol the riches of the TWEC heritage and expressed confidence that adult faith formation will continue to be valued and promoted.
Leader Louise Gannon rsj prayed:
Today is a special day; a journeying day.
It is a time to celebrate another shift in our lives and ministry,
and in the story of this land and these buildings.
It is a paschal time:
a time to remember with love and joy
and to look to the future with hope;
a time for letting go and a time to embrace what is new;
a time to gather and a time to move on.
It is a communal time; an entrusting time.
Congregational leader Megan Brock rsj explained the origins of TWEC. “The Centre was named in honour of Fr Julian Edmund Tenison Woods who missioned in the diocese in its early history and who, with St Mary MacKillop, founded the Sisters of St Joseph. A man who valued learning, music and the beauty of nature, he laboured to bring the good news of God’s love especially to people deprived of opportunity.…Today we mark the transitioning of the TWEC ministry to the diocese, where we know it will continue to grow and be shaped by others who are committed to adult faith formation, God’s People and the mission we serve.”
Bishop Bill responded, “…in the name of all of us, I accept, with faith, trust and hope, all you are handing on to us.”
Outside the ritual, there were opportunities to stroll the grounds, remember moments and opportunities, reconnect with TWEC people and enjoy the gracious hospitality afforded by St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar.
Graduate Jennifer Rumbel recalled, “My completion of the Christian Formation course has been a transformational experience, with the Sisters being the most inspirational and dynamic ladies − powerful and empowering role models.
“Fittingly, on the day of the ritual I submitted the final essay for my Bachelor of Theology, bringing to a close ten years of study which began at TWEC. To be asked to participate in the ritual was touching as a member of the Kamilaroi nation, acknowledging both many years spent completing Aboriginal studies and my grandfather’s removal from family and country as a two-year-old.”
Graduate Rick McCosker said, “As one of the many who have benefited from the knowledge, wisdom and passion of the Sisters teaching under the auspices of TWEC, it was a pleasure to be a part of the ritual on Sunday, and I’m grateful for being invited to do so."