Vale Robert Bos
On 29 December 2020, the Uniting Church lost a long-faithful servant, when Rev. Dr Robert Bos passed away.
Rev. Dr Bos served the church in a wide variety of roles in ministry, education, and training. At one point, this included working as the Assembly’s National Consultant on Theology and Discipleship.
He also served in numerous roles with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and partner churches through UnitingWorld.
Rev. Dr John Squires is the Presbytery Minister (Wellbeing) for Canberra Region Presbytery. He knew Rev. Dr Bos from a number of ministries they both served in. According to Rev. Dr Squires, Robert Bos was, “a gentle soul with a strong intellect, a compassionate man with wonderful gifts for leadership.”
“We are the poorer since his death, but he has left a wide and deep legacy that ensures in many arenas,” he said.
“His work with indigenous peoples, as Dean of Students and then Principal of Nungalinya College in Darwin, was ground breaking, and laid a foundation for significant work subsequent to him.”
“His vision for distance theological education, realised when he took on the role of Principal of Coolamon College, was likewise deeply important at the time, and paved the way for the proliferation of theological education opportunities across the UCA that later followed. Many UCA people have a deeper grasp of their faith through the study opportunities that this initiative offered.”
“I have often consulted his website, with blogs on a range of matters theological and biblical, and have appreciated and made use of some of the many studies that he had published with Mediacom in more recent years.”
Rev. Dr Elizabeth Raine shared with Insights her experience working with Rev. Dr Bos in Coolamon College.
“I worked with Rob as a distance tutor then lecturer for Coolamon College, so most of my communication with Rob was via email,” Rev. Dr Raine recalled.
“As well as being something of a visionary in establishing an institution aimed at educating lay people across the synods (I think Coolamon was a wonderful idea and maybe a little ahead of its time in some ways), Rob was an innovator as well as being quite a pastoral person.”
“He was prepared to trust a newly minted Master’s graduate to teach Coolamon’s students, which turned out to be an interesting exercise as quite a few of said students found my standards rather high in regard to their assignments. Rob found himself in the middle of a few mediating conversations, where I insisted that retelling the story was not exegesis and students insisted that I was expecting Bachelor of Theology standards and picking on them because they had conservative views (definitely not true).”
“It is due to Rob’s skill as a negotiator in the middle that we found a happy middle way to travel, and I continued to mark assignments and help plan course for some years.”
“I did enjoy my time working with Rob through Coolamon College, and Iearnt many things from him and the experience that made me a much better teacher,” she said.
Insights sends condolences to Rev. Dr Bos’ family and friends.