The Priscilla & Aquila Centre focuses on benefitting women and their ministries, but it intentionally avoids considering women and the ministries of women in isolation from men and the ministries of men. It is a centre for the encouragement of the ministries of women in partnership with men.
The Priscilla & Aquila Centre aims to
- Encourage: Encourage strengthen, and improve the training of women for ministry at Moore College.
- Encourage partnerships: Encourage and promote a wide range of ministries by women, in genuine “complementary” partnership with the ministries of men.
- Pursue: Encourage and support women to pursue postgraduate theological study at Moore College.
- Nurture community: Encourage and support Christian women to write and publish in the fields of Theology, Biblical Studies, Church History, Ethics, Ministry and Mission; at both a popular and academic level.
- Promote Complementarianism: Encourage, strengthen, and improve the practical expression of Complementarianism at Moore College in order to teach and model biblically faithful patterns of men and women in partnership in ministry.
- Communicate: Communicate the fruits of its work to the church and the world.
The management and governance of the P&A Centre is vested in the Director, in conjunction with the Academic Board of Moore Theological College. The Director of the Priscilla and Aquila Centre is accountable to this board, and reports twice a year on the activities of the centre where advice can easily be given concerning the implications of the centre’s work for the wider college programs.
Why is it called the Priscilla and Aquila Centre?
Aquila and his wife Priscilla (or Prisca) were a remarkable Jewish couple, whose labours for Christ left their mark, not only on the lives of many, but on the New Testament record. They were tent makers living in Rome when they came to faith in Christ Jesus. They were among the first Christian believers in that city. In about ad 49 it is likely that their testimony to Christ contributed to the troubles that arose among the Jews in Rome concerning the message of Christ. The emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome “for constant rioting at the instigation of Chrestus [that is, Christ]” (Suetonius). Priscilla and Aquila were among those expelled (Acts 18:2).
In the years that followed they travelled and together became widely known and loved for their gospel work (Rom. 16:4). From Rome they went first to Corinth (Acts 18:2). There Paul met them and they provided him with accommodation, and a place for him to engage in his trade of tent making – a trade in which they shared (Acts 18:3).
After more than a year and a half, when Paul left Corinth to return to Antioch, Priscilla and Aquila travelled with him as far as Ephesus (Acts 18:18, 19). There they settled for some time and believers would meet in their house in Ephesus (1 Cor. 16:19, written from Ephesus). When the eloquent Apollos came to Ephesus teaching about Jesus, Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and “explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:27). They had evidently learnt well from Paul, and Apollos’s ministry was powerful as a consequence (Acts 18:28).
Priscilla and Aquila returned to Rome, presumably after Claudius’s death in ad 54. It has been suggested that they may have been sent as Paul’s ‘vanguard’ to prepare support for his visit before he set off for Spain. It is noteworthy that in his magisterial letter to the Romans, in advance of his visit, the first persons to whom Paul sent greetings are Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:3). In Rome they again hosted a church in their home (Rom. 16:5).
Later again they returned to Ephesus and in his last letter before his death (written to Ephesus) Paul mentioned this couple warmly (2 Tim. 4:19). Unlike some, they had not abandoned the faith.
Paul considered Priscilla and Aquila to be his “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 16:3). We do not know the details, but they had risked their lives for him (Rom. 16:4), possibly during the 18 months in Corinth or when he experienced fierce opposition in Ephesus (1 Cor. 15:32; 2 Cor. 1:8, 9). What we do know is, that Paul and “all the churches of the Gentiles” gave thanks to God for Priscilla and Aquila (Rom. 16:4).
Priscilla and Aquila are a wonderful example of faithful service together in the cause of Jesus Christ and their example has broad application to women and men together in ministry, so it is fitting that the Centre is named after them.