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Steadfast Foundations: Sam Charles’ Exploration of Faith and Learning at Trinity

The solid foundations of his Christian family and upbringing in Albany, a town 400 km south-east of Perth, mean that Trinity student, Sam Charles, can’t remember a day when he didn’t know who Jesus was.

But as for many of us, our convictions about what it means to be a Christian and live our whole lives for Jesus often become clearer the further we get into our teen and young adult years. For Sam, it was at around age 20 after a challenging time in his life that he recalls realising his deep need for Jesus and the significance of committing everything in service of Him.

Sam reflects, “I started actually reading the Bible and praying regularly. From there I started attending church with a much greater purpose of actually serving people and living out the gospel, ultimately bearing fruit for the kingdom of God.”

Around this time Sam was working as a carpentry apprentice with his dad who is a registered builder. After completing the apprenticeship Sam became qualified and worked for a further nine years in the industry. But studying the Bible was always floating around in Sam’s mind as something he would like to pursue.

“I wanted to do full time study, but I wasn’t planning on pursuing vocational ministry at the time. It was more just the intention of studying for a year, moving up to the city, and then figuring out what I wanted to do after that.”

So, Sam began to consider what theological study could look like for him. 

“I had a mate from my church in Albany who had moved up to Perth to go to Trinity. He would come back down for the holidays and rave non-stop about how awesome it was to study at Trinity. He initially was just going to study for one year to complete the diploma, but he had become convinced to pursue the bachelor’s degree… Of which I later would become convinced too.” 

Sam enrolled to study a Diploma of Theology at Trinity at the beginning of 2023 and has loved every minute of it. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing academically for Sam as he had not engaged in any previous tertiary education. Sam says, “I hadn’t done a written exam for ten years, so getting back into a routine where you’re doing a lot of book work was challenging.”

But Sam has felt enormous support from both staff and students at Trinity. He has particularly appreciated the opportunity to engage with lecturers both in and out of class time, and the tight knit community of students.

Sam says, “You don’t just get to know the faculty, you get to know all the staff, all the administrative staff, all the registrars, librarians, and then all of your fellow students because it’s not a massive student body.”

This support stretches even further for Sam as he reflects on the positive influence it has been to have lecturer Thom Bull as his Pastoral Care Coordinator at Trinity. “Thom and I would meet up one-on-one every now and then to check-in and ask how I was feeling about my study at Trinity. Thom is a great encourager and helped me to think through whether I should stick around at Trinity to continue studying with the goal of pursuing vocational ministry.”

In 2024, Sam will continue to study at Trinity, now on trajectory towards a Bachelor of Theology. He will also be a Student Minister at St Alban’s Anglican Church, Highgate.

Sam is thankful for the many ways that God has grown him through his time so far at Trinity. He is particularly thankful for the opportunity that studying at Trinity provides to focus closely on studying the Bible and going really deep through class discussions, assessments, asking questions of lecturers, incidental conversations with peers, and ultimately just being in and around the community at Trinity.

To those considering where to study theology, Sam has this to say, “You can stay in WA, you can stay close to your family and friends, you can stay within your church community, and you’re going to receive a great theological training at Trinity. I just think it’s a great college. I think what Trinity is doing is fantastic. They’re very focused on the gospel, keeping that at the centre of what they’re doing, with a clear vision of growing and ministering more and more to the people of Perth, getting the good news out there. I really do commend it as a college for sure.”

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