Dr Michael Hassold
Dr Michael (Mike) Hassold retired as principal of Australian Lutheran College in January 2009. Ordained in 1970, Mike served as pastor in the parishes of East Gippsland and Ringwood in Victoria, followed by 11 years at Para Vista in Adelaide, South Australia. He joined the faculty of Luther Seminary in 1995 and became principal in 2001.
Mike pursued further theological studies during his years in parish ministry. A Graduate Diploma in Religious Education through Adelaide College of Advanced Education, Underdale, in 1983, and completion of the studies required for the Bachelor of Theology at Luther Seminary, in 1989, provided a solid foundation for commencing postgraduate studies. In 1990, he was awarded the Master of Theology at Melbourne College of Divinity for a thesis titled ‘The theme of replacement in the fourth gospel’.
Another way that Mike kept his mind active was by teaching and promoting Pastor Harry Wendt’s adult education Bible study program, Crossways, serving as chair of Crossways International Australia from 1984 to 1996. Overlapping his last years in the parish and his first years at ALC, from 1992–2000, Mike also served as a member of the Australian Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, and as co-chair from 1996–2000. In recognition of Mike’s service in the church and at ALC, Concordia Seminary, St Louis, conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 2006.
Mike taught biblical theology (Biblical Foundations), pastoral theology (Homiletics, Parish Administration, Church and Society), and history and systematic theology (Lutheran Confessions, Ethics), and gained a reputation as a clear and engaging teacher. After three years as director of the Pastoral Ministry Program (1998–2000), he was urged to assume the role of principal.
As principal Mike cared for staff and students alike with a pastor’s heart, especially in times of crisis and grief. He administered the college’s affairs with an efficient and consultative style. He proved an endless source of encouragement to all members of staff with his unquestioning confidence that they would give of their best, and by ensuring that the college’s educational endeavours were well resourced.
In Mike’s time,
- ALC was registered nationally as a higher education provider (HEP).
- Partnerships between ALC and universities throughout Australia proliferated, so that more trainee teachers received their theological education and their registration as Lutheran teachers pre-service.
- ALC’s input into the training of Aboriginal pastors and evangelists increased significantly.
- Short courses in Lutheran theology were developed for pastors and other visiting theologians from the Lutheran churches of Malaysia and Singapore.
- ALC worked with the Lutheran Church of Australia to support and teach a steady stream of scholars from South East Asia for post-graduate research that prepared them to teach in their seminaries back home.
Mike readily admits he looked forward to retirement. Asked why, his answer came as a surprise. He said it would free him to return to ALC regularly to do what he loves the most! Always the student, he had relished the thought of endless hours of reading and writing, especially in the fields of New Testament studies and homiletics.
Mike is a gifted preacher. He modelled the best expository preaching and passed on his wisdom to students in successive homiletics classes. When his turn came to preach in chapel, we listened intently as he spoke the gospel into the heart.
ALC positions held
- Adjunct lecturer, 1992–1994
- Lecturer, 1995–2008
- Director of Flexible Education, 1995–1998
- Director of Pastoral Ministry, 1998–2000
- Principal, 2001–2008
- Sessional lecturer, 2009–2010
Qualifications in detail
- Graduate Diploma in Religious Education (Adelaide College of Advanced Education, 1983)
- Bachelor of Theology (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide, 1989)
- Master of Theology (Melbourne College of Divinity, 1990)
- Doctor of Divinity (Concordia Seminary, St Louis, USA, 2006)
- Graduated Luther Seminary (North Adelaide, 1970)
- Ordained 13 December 1970 (Bethlehem, Adelaide)
Papers and publications
‘Memory and mission.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 32, No. 2 (Aug): 83–92.
‘The measure of greatness: reflections on Mark 10:35–45.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 31, no. 2 (Aug): 76–81.
‘Eyes to see: reflections on Luke 19:1–10.’ Lutheran Theological Journal 29, no. 2 (Aug): 68–73.
(with J.T. Erich Renner and Rolph W. Mayer) In times of crisis: commentaries on Joel, Jonah and Habbakuk. Adelaide: OpenBook.