Joyce Carswell

1994-1995 / Diploma for Graduates (Henderson Campus)

1996-1997 / Master of Theological Studies (Henderson Campus)


I felt rather overwhelmed when I began my four years of study at BCNZ. I was bridging from an MA in Counselling to the still-to-be-initiated Master of Theological Studies. I needed enough credits from a Bachelor of Ministries to achieve this, so it was a steep but valuable learning curve. I enjoyed being part of a worshipping community, so different to my previous academic environments. I also loved to go and sit under the huge old oak tree that was between the women's wings. A great spot for time out and contemplation in my busy life.


I achieved what I set out to do, which was to become theologically informed to help me in my professional career as a counsellor working with Christian clients. I especially enjoyed hermeneutics and exegesis and found the paper on spiritual formation to be both challenging and enriching. Everything I undertook gave me a broader and more thoughtful and reflective perspective, not only in my professional life, but in general.


I thought when I completed my MTS that I would return to counselling and supervision, but it would seem that God was several steps ahead of me. I became involved in setting up the NZ Association of Christian Counsellors, and in the setting up of the Diploma of Counselling at the Henderson campus, commencing in 2000. At this time standards were being set NZ-wide on what constituted a 240 credit diploma, and the Diploma of Counselling was re-developed to meet these. I became Head of Department of Counselling, and worked with other centres to accomplish this redevelopment. I then went on with others to develop the Bachelor of Counselling. On retiring from the counselling department I continued part time on the staff at Laidlaw, providing general academic support and pastoral care coordination for international students. I continued my private counselling practice and supervision, working mainly with Laidlaw counselling students.


I retired from counselling two years ago, and now I am involved with lay ministry in my church, a little academic support, and involvement, as far as Covid permits, with International students. I am also enjoying making new friends in my retirement village, right next to Laidlaw.


I am grateful to God for God's calling and leading, and the provision to see this through while encountering some tough times. During my time as a student at Laidlaw my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was grateful to be part of a supportive and prayerful community. I am grateful for all the wonderful students I have taught or counselled, especially those from cultures different to my own who have enriched my understanding and my life. I am grateful to appreciate that there is a place for both knowledge and wisdom. I have fully experienced that God who calls us is faithful.

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