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Theological College Principals Communique

Posted by St Philips Theological College on May 28, 2011 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (0)

Inaugural consultation for theological college Principals – stimulating and productive The first ever international consultation for Anglican Communion theological college Principals and Deans, gathering together representatives from 27 countries, has been held in Canterbury. We celebrate and affirm the vital significance of theological education for the life and health of the Church and the whole people of God. We believe that good theological education has transforming power, and can promote a global understanding of Anglican identity. Our consultation has contributed to the unity of the Anglican Communion, as well as enabling various models of ecumenical engagement to be explored. We identified through our meeting a shared commitment to fostering active and discerning Christian discipleship which embraces holistic mission and enables the building up of the Kingdom of God. In our Bible Studies we explored a number of passages from Matthew’s Gospel, which focused on the ministry of Jesus as a teacher and highlighted Matthew’s call to all Christians to become disciples who bring out of their treasure store what is both new and old (Matthew 13.52). The consultation was held under the auspices of TEAC (Theological Education in the Anglican Communion), the Anglican Communion working party on theological education. We particularly appreciated the rich diversity of our meeting and the considerable number of Anglican Provinces which were represented among us. The disparity of resources available for theological education between our different Provinces was a challenge that we were conscious of throughout our time together. We also heard of a number of colleges and seminaries which lack resources to the point that they are simply struggling to survive. The absence of some colleagues due to visa difficulties reminded us of the challenges theological educators face in a number of parts of the world. We also regretted the small number of women at the meeting. This was due to the under-representation of women in such roles around the Communion. The consultation was held in the International Study Centre, Canterbury, England 12-18 May 2011. We were grateful for the opportunity to worship in Canterbury Cathedral and for the welcoming hospitality of those who live or work there. We were immensely privileged to be addressed by Archbishop Rowan Williams. He described theology to us as a ‘position report’, a description of where we start and where we are now, namely standing ‘in Christ’ by virtue of our baptism and the Spirit, enabled along with Christ to cry ‘Abba, Father.’ Theology draws out implications of being in that particular place. The Archbishop asked us to explore how partnerships within the communion can be better used to do theology together. He challenged us not to lose sight of the ‘big picture’ among all the varied specialisms of theology, reminding us that ‘the reason we follow the star’ is to ‘discover how to be human now.’ The Archbishop ably conveyed to us his own sense of the joy of theological education and reminded us that if a theological institution did not engender a sense of excitement about being in Christ, then such an institution was ultimately failing. (The complete text of the Archbishop’s address will shortly be made available.) We express our thanks to Bishop Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, Zimbabwe, a member of the TEAC Steering Group, who chaired most of our meeting, and to Bishop Stephen Pickard, also a TEAC Steering Group member, who led a number of key sessions, in particular one on the nature of being a theological college Principal. Other contributions were made by TEAC Steering Group members Revd Dr Patrick Tanhuanco, Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley and Canon Dr Edward Condry, and the TEAC Secretary, Mrs Clare Amos. There were a number of invited speakers: Canon Kenneth Kearon (Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion), Canon Dr Christopher Irvine, Canon Dr Jeremy Worthen, Dr Alison Le Cornu, Mr Stephen Lyon and Mr Jan Butter. Representatives of several agencies or institutions (SPCK, USPG, Feed the Minds, Christ Church Canterbury University) shared in a session on partnership. As the consultation has drawn to a close we have gathered together our thoughts and hopes in a number of practical proposals which we would like to see taken forward. These include the following: 1. Complete and publicise the database of theological colleges. 2. Establish a Network/network/Association of Anglican Theological Colleges and seminaries. 3. Support the development of regional networks. 4. Establish a mechanism – through a social networking site or similar – for the exchange of students and staff across the Communion. 5. Seek to establish a fund to facilitate such exchanges. 6. Facilitate conversations and dialogue between theological college Principals, bishops and Primates. 7. Seriously explore various possibilities to assist with accreditation of theological courses. 8. Explore with GlobTheoLib whether there can be an ‘interest group’ for Anglican Studies on their website. 9. Survey and collect syllabus from institutions about teaching Anglican Studies (ideally making these available online) 10. Seek to provide (online where possible) resources on Anglicanism in the languages of the Communion. 11. Hold a further gathering for Principals/Deans in 3 years time. 12. Include theological colleges within the Anglican cycle of prayer. We wish to express our thanks to the Steering Group of TEAC, the TEAC Secretary, Mrs Clare Amos, the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, the Trustees of the St Augustine’s Foundation and the Trustees of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Anglican Communion Fund, for enabling this consultation. On our return to our Provinces we pledge ourselves to sharing with our Archbishops and Bishops, and with appropriate Provincial structures, the significance and outcomes of this consultation. The words of the following prayer, written for TEAC a number of years ago, affirm our commitment to the work of theological education: Christ our Teacher, you alone are the way, the truth and the life: so lead the Theological Education group in its work, building trust and understanding, that, in sharing our stories, vision and resources, all your people may grow in faith and your whole Church built up in love, in the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of the Father. Amen. Victor Atta-Baffoe, Ghana Oge Beauvoir, Haiti William Danaher, Canada Sabiti Tibafa Daniel, Congo Maurice Elliott, Ireland Mark Harding, Australia David Hewlett, England Allen Hill, Peru Alinafe Kalemba, Malawi Anthony Kame, Solomon Islands Ian Lam, Hong Kong John Madinda, Tanzania Peter Moi, Papua New Guinea Joshua Musiyambiri, Zimbabwe Seth Ndayirukiye, Burundi Andrew Norman, England Barney Pityana, South Africa Ian E. Rock, Barbados Jerome Sahabandhu, Sri Lanka Peter Sedgwick, Wales James B. Sellee, Liberia San Myat Shwe, Myanmar George Sumner, Canada Patrick Tanhuanco, Philippines Jenny Te Paa, Aotearoa/New Zealand Aladekugbe Williams, Nigeria Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang, Korea Douglas Travis, United States of America John Masato Yoshida, Japan For more information contact Clare Amos at

Historic link with Huron College Canada

Posted by St Philips Theological College on May 6, 2011 at 2:49 PM Comments comments (1)

The Painting in the Attic: Huron College in Tanzania On the third floor of Huron University College, in what is now our Attic Club, hangs a watercolour of a stately colonnaded building backed by a mountain range. If you look closely at the painting you’ll see at the bottom the words “Huron Training College, Kongwa, E. Africa.” A few years ago Huron Theology professor Gary Badcock, his curiosity piqued, resolved to track down the source of this painting and its connection to our own College’s history. With the help of Theology student Jacqueline Marr and the Huron Diocesan Archives, he was able to recover for our current community a remarkable episode in Huron’s past. The painting, as it turns out, is the work of the Reverend T.B.R. Westgate, drawn to illustrate an article he published in the May 15, 1919, Canadian Churchman about an institution he had recently founded in East Africa. Who then was T. B. R. Westgate, why did he build this College, and why did he choose Huron for its name? Jacqueline Marr’s research into the Diocesan archives yielded answers to all these questions. The book T. B. R. Westgate: A Canadian Missionary on Three Continents, housed within the archives, tells the story of a man born in 1872 in Watford, Ontario, educated at Huron College, ordained deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1896 and priested a year later. Westgate went on to a career as a missionary that spanned 45 years and included service in Paraguay, German East Africa (now Tanzania), and finally in Canada as Secretary of the Indian and Eskimo Residential School Commission of the Missionary Society of the Church of England. In 1913, at Huron College’s request and in connection with our Golden Jubilee, Westgate was in fact honoured with the doctorate of divinity awarded by The University of Western Ontario. As I read further about Westgate, I learned that during his 15 years in East Africa he nourished a vision that European missionaries should, as soon as possible, stand aside and let the Africans build and independently lead their own Church. To achieve this vision, he knew that education and theological training were essential, and no less essential was the founding of a college for this purpose. In the lead-up to the celebration of Huron College’s Golden Jubilee, Westgate began to approach his fellow Huron alumni to contribute to a fund for the establishment of a training school for indigenous Christian leaders in East Africa. His efforts bore fruit, and in recognition of the generous Huron graduates who had supported his cause (along with the Rural Deanery of East and West Middlesex), Westgate named the new institution Huron Training College—hence, the painting that hangs in Huron’s Attic Club. The institution that Westgate founded exists to this day, although it now goes by the name St. Philip’s Theological College. Since Gary and Jacqueline completed their research, our faculty and students have reached out by e-mail to their counterparts at St. Philip’s to re-establish a connection. And this past spring, when I was given an opportunity to travel to Tanzania to visit a project Huron University College currently has underway in partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam, I made contact with the Principal of St. Philip’s and was invited to come to their campus as part of my journey. About six hours by bus from the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, St. Philip’s is situated in the Diocese of Mpwapwa, near the village of Kongwa against the backdrop of the spectacular Kiboriani mountain range. It is one of two provincial (national) Anglican theological colleges in Tanzania and, remaining true to its founding, is theologically evangelical and “low Church.” The College offers two three-year programs to prepare graduates for ministry—a certificate taught in Swahili and a diploma taught in English—with the curriculum of each program essentially the same. Altogether St. Philip’s enrols about 70 students, 40 in the diploma and certificate programs and 30 in the Wives’ Course. There has been, for much of the College’s history, a two-year Wives’ Course which the spouses of all male students are expected to attend in order to prepare them to be partners in ministry. Wives in residence are allowed to bring with them the couple’s two youngest children, with older children left in the care of extended family members. Although in the past all students studying for ministry were men, the ordination of women is now allowed by local Bishop’s option in Tanzania, and a small handful of the diploma and certificate students at St. Philip’s are women. The sermon at the chapel service I attended was indeed eloquently preached by a female student—on the subject of women’s power as disciples of Christ. I was delighted to discover, as the centrepiece of the campus, the original building erected by the Reverend Westgate, bearing a plaque identifying it as “the original Huron College.” To this building, over the years, have been added classrooms, a chapel, a library, a “mess” where students and their families are fed, water tanks, workshops, a grain mill, offices, and houses for faculty, students, and their families. The buildings are sheltered by stately baobab trees, with tropical flowers and shrubs abounding in the tranquil campus setting. The campus is also dotted with gardens where vegetables are grown to aid the community in supporting itself. It was apparent during my visit that the College is well cared for but resources are scarce. The one-room Library, for example, is small—there is space for only 18 students at a time to study there, so they use it in rotation—but the collection is tidily shelved and maintained. I saw evidence everywhere both of great need and of thrift and good husbandry. Among the greatest needs, I learned, is for a supply of qualified faculty to teach at the College; salaries are low and there is constant turn-over in the teaching staff. The current Principal, the Reverend John Madinda, taught at St. Philip’s some years ago before leaving to earn his master’s degree at Oxford. On his return to Tanzania he was appointed Principal, but he continues to work on a doctorate from Oxford during the summer breaks. The son of a former Bishop of the Diocese of Central Tanzania, John Madinda is a remarkable young leader, devout, intellectually gifted, and tireless in his work of behalf of the College and its students. He and his wife Marlene and their two children (Cornelie, 11, and Ruel, 3) extended gracious hospitality to me throughout my visit. The College’s students were equally gracious during my time with them. Huron’s Theology students had donated funds for me to present to the students of St. Philip’s, and I was presented with gifts and “love greetings” for our students in turn. The President of the student body sent a letter home with me to their “dear associate students” in which he wrote, “We received the gift that you send for us. God’s blessing be all over you.” While at St. Philip’s I was given a copy of a history of the College published in 2002 by a former Principal, Hugh Prentice. Prentice notes in his closing chapter that “The work of St. Philip’s College is now bearing fruit . . . The clergy in those dioceses who foster the Christian lives and ministry vocations of potential Kongwa students are often men and women who have studied in St. Philip’s College, and whose ministry gifts and knowledge of God have increased in maturity through their student years” (210). Prentice concludes, citing the Reverend Westgate, “This is the purpose for which St. Philip’s Theological College was founded in 1913, and which it is fulfilling to the glory of God in the present generation. The College has played its part in ‘the establishment of a native Church among the Wagogo and Wakaguru tribes, and through them, amongst races still unreached on all sides,’ as Westgate expressed its goal in the language of his day” (212). T.B.R. Westgate’s vision of an Anglican Church in Tanzania led by native Tanzanians, to which he devoted 15 arduous years of his life, has been amply realized. The current Huron community can take pride in this fine work done by an alumnus and supported by fellow graduates of his day. In 2013 Huron College will celebrate its sesquicentennial and St. Philip’s its centennial. It is my hope that we can continue to build our relationship with our sister college in Tanzania and find ways to commemorate our anniversaries to the glory of both institutions. Ramona Lumpkin, Principal Huron University College