At BTI we believe that people, teach, counsel, administer, do social work and relate out of who they are. Because of that, we are interested in the growth of our students, not only towards a professional goal, but toward reaching their God-given potential. Our focus is unapologetically Christ-centred and biblically-informed.
Among BTI staff we have a rich and varied diversity of expressions of Christian faith and of life; that is one of our great strengths as this Christ-following community. Our lives are marked by moments of great joy but also painful experiences that did not match the ideal we, or others, aspired for us. Our faith is a living, breathing, hope-filled, life-transforming redemptive relationship with Christ. It is from that dynamic that we speak prophetically into the times and places we find ourselves.
We can be very proud of the work of BTI. We have outstanding staff, students, and graduates. This has also been affirmed by our external stakeholders: in our External Evaluation and Review, in the unconditional approvals of our teacher education qualifications, in the counselling programme five-year review and the social work programme five-year reapproval, in our positive monitors’ reports, in our advisory groups, in our programme committees, in the small gestures of kindness and goodwill from our colleagues elsewhere, in positive survey results from our students, in moving commendations from the families of our graduates.
We know what it is to be on the frontline and in the real world: in the community, in the classroom, in the courtroom, in the hospital room, in the counselling room.
It is from those places, and our experience of the people we journey with, equip and train for those places, that we can offer tools to engage critically, carefully, and well with what meets us every day. As a whānau we walk, listen and witness together to the work of Christ with those on the margins.
Our students are of many faiths and of none, many cultures, ethnicities, and different identities including LGBTQIA+. We welcome everyone who wants to study at BTI. Students or their whānau are not required to sign a statement of belief. We do hope and pray that our witnessing of Christ’s love enables all to experience God more fully and richly for themselves.
There is no place for discrimination or bullying for those in the BTI whānau. If you have faced, or are facing, bullying and discrimination at BTI, or have felt victimised in any way, we treat it seriously. We want to hear your trauma, pain, grief and hurt. If this has been your experience, we apologise unreservedly. We must and we will do better. If this has been a trigger for you, or you want to talk, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear your story and would love to spend time with you.
My prayer is that for all people concerned in this situation that God’s love would prevail.
John 15:12: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Aroha mai, aroha atu is a Māori proverb meaning “love received, love returned.”
Mā te Atua koutou e manaaki – God bless you.
Dr Andrew Butcher
Bethlehem Tertiary Institute/Te Whare Tauira O Peterhema