The Heritage Colleges of Australia are Christadelphian schools, and the name comes from the Bible passage “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3 AV). Christadelphian parents recognise their great responsibility as caretakers of the precious children that God has ‘lent’ them, and the Heritage Colleges aim to assist in raising and saving these children for Christ and his coming Kingdom on Earth.
The Christadelphian movement began around 1850 when John Thomas, a medical doctor with a family background in theology, studied the Bible to find out ‘the truth’ about God, mankind and the afterlife. We believe that he rediscovered the original Christian beliefs and that our community most nearly matches 1st century Christian structure and practice. Over 150 years later, our beliefs system remains unchanged and congregations are active in more than 100 countries worldwide. We do not believe that Thomas or any of our pioneer members were ‘inspired’ or infallible, and we hold the Bible to be the only authority on doctrine and practice.
With no paid clergy or centralised hierarchy, we are a lay organization, and very small in comparison to other Christian movements of similar age. Membership is determined by a full understanding of, and assent to, our doctrines. Each community of believers, called an ‘ecclesia’, is autonomous, and is responsible for their own finances, yearly programs and policies. Each ecclesia has a committee of annually elected brethren who manage ecclesial affairs. Other office holders and speakers are also elected by their ecclesial members on a yearly basis. Many special events and projects are organized by ad hoc committees who see needs and voluntarily fill them, as in the case of the Steering Committee which founded the Heritage College Perth project.
Ecclesias are bound together in ‘fellowship’ by a common statement of faith, exchange speakers for Sunday services and special studies, and may cooperate with inter-ecclesial activities and projects. We have strong ties with ecclesias in other places throughout the world, to the extent that members often attend Bible Schools and Study Weeks in the eastern states and overseas. We expect and encourage our young people to marry within the faith, and they meet each other at Youth Conferences and other scheduled events. For these reasons we are a learning society with very rich social and family connections and decades-long friendships.
We do not tithe, or have any dietary requirements or ritual observances, other than adult baptism upon conversion and an expectation that members will regularly attend meetings where possible, especially the Sunday morning service. In general we have a conservative culture with a somewhat academic emphasis, especially in regard to Biblical knowledge. Christadelphian parents are increasingly concerned at the influences of secular society, and there is, therefore, wide support for the concept of our own school, along with the expectation that the academic level be competitive and the education broadly based and suitably enriched.
There have been Christadelphians in Western Australia for 100 years, and the number of Perth ecclesias has increased from one to nine within the last thirty years.
Our young people are free to choose to be members of the Christadelphian community, and understand that a life-long commitment is expected. We hope that this school will assist in equipping our children to overcome some of the problems and temptations which they presently encounter in society and support their integration into the Christadelphian community.