VIC Branch


St Andrew’s Hall: A living monument to those who have followed His call

What will it be like on the other side of the world?

How will I deal with the loneliness of being away from my family and friends?

Is there an institution with the experience to teach me how to minister in a completely different culture?

These are the burning questions on the minds of every aspiring cross-cultural Christian worker, and happily, the answers can be found at St Andrew’s Hall.

St Andrew’s Hall (SAH) is the Melbourne-based national training college for CMS, and those who undertake long-term mission are required to complete a specialised 19 week programme.

SAH provides training in mission and culture, and nobody knows the curriculum better than David Williams.

“CMS first started training missionaries in the early 1900’s,” said David, “on a property that was bequeathed to the Anglican Evangelical Trust by the Griffiths family. The college was a womens-only missionary college known as St Hilda’s.

“In the early 1960’s CMS developed a vision for training men and women together from across Australia. St Hilda’s was sold and a new property, St Andrew’s Hall, was purchased. Since then, SAH has trained over 1000 people.

“The highest number of missionaries at SAH was in the 60’s, in part due to changing attitudes toward world mission after WWII. The Billy Graham crusades also had a huge impact; the largest crowd ever at the MCG was on the last night of the Melbourne Crusade.”

In response to the needs of missionaries of the time, in 1964 CMS built an accommodation block at the rear of the property. This was done as cost effectively as possible out of Besser block, which was separated into male and female areas. However, the building is aging and has been unfit for its original purpose as singles accommodation for many years now. Since the early 70’s, many families have passed through the doors, who do the best they can.

“I think the families are coping fine because they’re pretty resilient people and they’re heading into long-term mission. But there’s just a lot of frustration living here. The heating systems in the building are degrading and are as loud as a cross-channel ferry, so that staying warm comes at the cost of disturbing families early in the morning. The building is degrading and we are having to spend a lot of money on more and more repairs on a building that we don’t believe in.”

Moreover, the building is generally full, and for next semester, SAH has had to knock back some people from New Zealand, who would have been welcomed if space was available.

“We either have to undergo a redevelopment, or hand the keys back and walk out. At some point, we’re not going to be able to keep on operating with the way things are now:”

“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” 1 Thess 2:8

“As a staff team, we aim to model 1 Thessalonians 2, but we can’t love people if we aren’t able to welcome them here in the first place.

“We press on, but doing nothing is not an option.”

CMS has been working steadily on a redevelopment plan for SAH. Please pray for good progress in this work.

Find out more and see the plans here >>