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March 27, 2020

As you are well aware, the entire world is going through some very complex and challenging times as we all begin dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

I trust that you, those close to you and your churches are keeping well and faithful. As a valued partner of Bible College SA, I wanted to send you this update on our situation.

In adherence with government requirements and the advice of the health services, we are in the process of shutting down our Wattle St campus. There are still a few people around for the time being, and best-practice hygiene protocols have been put in place for them.

The good news is that we are still fully operational, and still running all of our classes, having shifted them all to online platforms. While nothing matches face-to-face learning for face-to-face ministry, the online technology is proving quite workable. We have not missed a single lecture, we are continuing to run virtual chapel services, and our Ministry Formation Program—a central part of our training program—is still running. All of our staff have been set up to work from home and we still have complete office and administrative services.

I must credit all of our staff and students for making these changes so smoothly and cheerfully. Everyone has done a truly wonderful job with hardly any stress or fuss, and it has been a great encouragement and reminder of what magnificent people God has given us.

At this time, we have been freshly convicted that the work of Bible College SA is absolutely critical. We have always been a long-range, strategic ministry as we look forward and prepare the next generations of gospel workers for Adelaide, South Australia and beyond. It is now as clear as ever that our city, state and world is going to need more and more well-formed gospel workers in the months and years ahead. We need men and women with real biblical depth, theological sharpness and good ministry smarts. We are so thankful to have a great cohort of students continuing to train with us, and an exceptional faculty teaching them.

As is always the case, the College is dependent on the wonderful community of people who support it through prayer and donations. We are only at the beginning of this pandemic, and we are conscious that many people’s financial position has already changed. However, if you are still able to support us, we greatly appreciate your gift that enables us to continue in our ministry both now, and when it comes time to switch back to a fully operational on-campus work. All gifts to the College are tax deducible, and you can find all the details you need for giving at biblecollege.sa.edu.au/donate/

In addition to all that you are praying for the world, the vulnerable, our healthcare workers, and our federal and state governments, can I ask you also to join us in praying for the College.

• Give thanks for our excellent staff team and all they have done to so seamlessly shift our classes and operations online.
• Pray that our students would continue to study well and learn lots that will prepare them for good gospel service in the months and years ahead.
• Give thanks for all those who love and support the College and make up our wider community.
• Pray that those who are able would continue to be generous towards our ministry so that we can continue to provide world-class training here in Adelaide.

Over the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to send out regular updates telling you how we are going, what you can pray, and perhaps even some other ways that you can support us.

I leave you now with Psalm 46, a great reminder of the gracious sovereignty of God.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear,
   though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 
   though its waters roar and foam, 
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
   the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns. 
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; 
   he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord; 
   see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; 
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; 
   he burns the shields with fire. 
“Be still, and know that I am God! 
   I am exalted among the nations, 
   I am exalted in the earth.” 
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

If all of this is true and encouraging for the Old Testament people of God, how much more for us who recognise Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and who have the Holy Spirit working within us.

With every blessing in Christ,
Rev Dr Tim Patrick