Bishop Jonathan Holland is the Principal of St Francis College and the Executive Director of the Ministry Education Commission. He is a husband and father and the son of a Bishop.
Where do you currently live and where do you worship?
I live at Wavell Heights and I worship at St Francis College’s Chapel of The Holy Spirit in the Parish of Milton.
How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?
I’ve been involved with the Anglican Church all my life. My father was an Anglican priest and Bishop. I grew up in Perth, was ordained in the Diocese of Perth and also served in the Diocese of Sydney before moving to Brisbane in 1993.
What is your current ACSQ role and how does this role contribute to the Church’s mission?
As Principal of St Francis College, I‘m involved in the training and formation of our future clergy. I’m also Executive Director of the Ministry Education Commission, overseeing a suite of ministries and services including Anglican Youth, Children and Families ministry (AYCF); the Community of the Way, an intentional community of young people; a lay education program ministry, called FormedFaith; the Spiritual Directors Formation program; and, the Roscoe Library.
What projects and activities are you currently working on?
We’re planning for our upcoming Open Day on 18 May and 20 May and I invite readers to come along and find out what we have to offer. I’m also delivering a series of lectures this semester on the Early Church and Christian Worship.
How and when did you feel called to the priesthood?
In my childhood, the Anglican Church felt like a second home. When I was 22 years of age, my younger brother died tragically and unexpectedly and I felt then, more keenly, questions of meaning and purpose. After that I gravitated towards ordination.
Why did you decide to become a priest?
I had a growing conviction that it’s a good way to spend a life and as I explored it further it seemed like a natural fit for me. Looking back, it’s been a good and right decision.
What advice do you have for those considering entering the priesthood in our Diocese?
You are giving your life to a very good cause: dealing with ultimate realities, with God and Christ. You meet a tremendous number of people from all walks of life and it is an incredible privilege to engage with others – sometimes at the most significant moments of their lives, happy and sad, as Christ’s ambassador, as it were.
How do theological studies help to form and encourage people in their faith?
Theological studies ground faith in a deeper and richer understanding of God; they help to bring faith more alive. They deepen the union with Christ – or at least that is my experience.
What has been one of the highlights of your time as Executive Director of St Francis College so far?
Seeing those we have trained at St Francis College be ordained. It provides a real sense of pride.
What have been the key challenges of your role so far and how have you worked through these?
Growing enrolments is a key challenge in my role as Principal of St Francis College and getting word out about the available resources and courses so people can grow more in their faith.
Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?
My faith journey has been a very rewarding and enriching experience, made more so because I have journeyed with Kerry, my wife, in many ways. We have grown in Christ together.
What is your favourite scripture and why?
It’s the image of the father throwing his arms around his lost son and kissing him tenderly. It’s the highlight of the New Testament. It represents God’s attitude to each one of us.
What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?
The Church’s primary strength is the faith that lives in its people. There is a great and understated kindness in Anglicans, one fruit of the Spirit. You find people of faith and kindness in every Anglican Church Southern Queensland parish.
What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?
I enjoy gardening and exercise (which is mainly walking in my local park) and reading novels, biographies and a variety of non-fiction.
What book have you given away most as a gift and why?
I am very possessive of my books. I don’t give them away too readily!
What makes you nostalgic and why?
I’m not given to nostalgia. I love history and the past, but I recognise that to learn from the past is life and to live in it is death.
If you are having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
I usually talk to Kerry and have a glass of wine.
When do you do your best thinking?
In the mornings, in the first hour or two before 8.30 am.
You are invited to St Francis College’s Open Day to find out about the College’s wide range of study options for exploring the Christian faith:
Virtual Open Day – Tuesday 18 May 2021: 7-8.30 pm
On Campus Open Day – Thursday 20 May 2021: 12.30-2pm or 5.30-7 pm
Editor’s note 17/05/2021 and 11/08/2023: Text and image updated.