Deaconess House Update
16 April 2019
For over 125 years, Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM) has been focused on raising up women with theological formation for practical and public engagement. More than 100 years ago, several Deaconesses, along with the women and men who supported them, sought a permanent place for the headquarters of the ministries and 26-28 Carillon Ave, Newtown, (Deaconess House) was purchased.
Over this past century, Deaconess House has been an important investment in the preparation of women for the work of God, either in Australia or overseas, and a symbol of that same commitment. We are grateful to God for Deaconess House which has enabled so many women to be formed theologically and prepared for ministry and mission, in the varied ways in which that has occurred. Deaconess House was even the first place in Australia to offer accommodation to overseas students.
Since January 2008, ADM has leased the Deaconess House buildings to Moore Theological College to accommodate Moore’s single female students. Consistent with our organisational commitment, we leased the buildings to Moore College in good faith so as to support the theological formation of their female students.
To that end, ADM undertook $250,000 of works on the buildings prior to the lease, a lease which then included $1 per year rent for Moore College to pay. Under the lease, Moore also agreed to maintain the buildings and to comply with OH&S requirements to ensure the ongoing safety and comfort of its residents, while charging its single female students residential fees. The lease stated that ADM and Moore would equally share the cost of any major repairs over the value of $5,000.
On Friday 12 April 2019, ADM’s Board of Directors reviewed the findings and recommendations of an OH&S Report it had commissioned of the site, and which it had received just prior to the meeting. The findings of life-safety concerns highlighted in the OH&S Report necessitated a difficult decision and immediate action: ADM Board instructed the College to vacate the buildings immediately for the safety of the remaining five students living there and terminated the lease of 26-28 Carillon Ave to Moore College. (In October 2018 Moore had asked the rest of the student body to vacate these buildings for safety concerns and had been in dialogue with ADM’s Board regularly.)
ADM’s Board has made a one-time gift of $100,000 to Moore College to assist with transitional housing arrangements for their female students and those who would have been residents in the buildings this academic year.
Appropriate members of Moore College and ADM are continuing to work together to bring positive resolve and care to those involved. It is our hope that these actions will not compromise our partnership for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as we look forward to continuing to support one another’s efforts in helping Christian women flourish in God’s Kingdom.