|Posted by St Philips Theological College on July 26, 2011 at 9:57 AM|
Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do work at it as working for the Lord.......
26th July 2011
Peace and Grace be to you.
I am delighted to be writing the letter to you during this very exciting and challenging era of God’s work through the church, here at St Philips Theological College - Kongwa.
To begin with, we here at St Philips have a great reason to say thank you to God and to all our friends for the many ways we have experienced God’s and your support to us as a college. Things would have been much more difficult without your support and prayers.
Many thanks too for the hard working team of staff who are few in number but together we managed to accomplish a great deal of work.
This year we had 54 students and out of those, 30 graduated in June to go and fill in places in various parishes in the Anglican Church, the Moravian Church and the Lutheran Church. This year we have already got some confirmation of 29 students coming to begin their studies in the new academic year 2011/2012 which starts on 31st July 2011. We pray for all those men and women who have secured this opportunity for study to join the others who will continue on to their second and third years. At the same time we remember the 30 students who graduated in June as they continue to settle back in their dioceses and take on their new roles in the church.
Knowledge that leads to service: Our Challenge
St Philip’s is working under a huge amount of challenge and pressure relating to readdressing our vision, that of equipping the church with relevantly and adequately trained people to serve the church, and that remains to be our vision today. Our aim is to impart knowledge that leads to service. However, this in itself raises certain challenges.
In terms of running costs, St Philips would like to achieve its objectives within an affordable cost to the churches we serve who have limited resources. This means our fees are highly subsidised in order to enable the church to train its clergy. At the same time we need to offer standard training in an acceptable environment with adequate facilities, and this requires good qualified staff and facilities to house both staff and students and other training equipment such as books, computers, printers etc. For that matter, we face challenges of paying staff salaries, and maintaining the premises to create a conducive environment for excellence in what we offer.
For the last five years St Philip’s has grown from strength to strength. That needed certain decisions to be made and steps to be taken. Some of those included.
a. Student fees to come directly from donors to the college
b. The college to begin paying staff salary instead of salaries to be paid by the sending diocese of the teaching staff.
c. To be able to meet the increased expenditure on salaries, the college had to increase the fees in proportion to the increase in spending, without regulating the spending in fees subsidy.
d. To strengthen our college projects by seeking extra funding. These projects have included dairy, poultry, a small vegetable garden, grain milling, sunflower pressing, technical department and transport. These projects have helped towards the fees subsidy, but have also been used to help students learn on some basic skills fom those areas.
e. In this past academic year, each student took part in planting a tree. It was our call as well as joining efforts with the country and the world at large towards creating a sustainable environment. These efforts led the college to receive the first price in the district, for the effort on environmental conservation the recognition given to us by the District Commissioner.
At the same time we are very grateful to God in helping us to strengthen our links and partnership with various organisations who have supported us financially, and by supplying us with material such as computers, books [both exercise and text books]. Some of the funding has helped us in subsidising college fees and, in improving the projects.
However there are some complications which as an institution continue to be a challenge. These include the delay in receiving the fees and sometimes lack of fees from some of the students. One of the main reasons is that our financial year is different from that of our sponsors, and sometimes we begin the year with promises and have to find ways of running our activities before the funds arrive.
Although the increase of fees has helped us in supporting staff salaries, on the other hand it caused a drop in student numbers. This continues to keep us in a fragile situation
Looking to the future
In 2013, we plan to celebrate our centenary, marking 100 years of the college which began in 1913. We are still in the thinking and planning stages. We would like to make it a special year as we appreciate the work done at the college for the last 100 years and the impact it has had in Tanzania and abroad, and within the Anglican Church and other denominations. We invite any thoughts and ideas to help us in this planning stage of events, and we hope to keep you informed on the progress.
Looked at the college from a wider perspective as a provincial institution, we find ourselves challenged by the increase of diocesan bible schools and theological colleges, and the University of St John’s. With the recovery and progress we have made so far, it is the right time for us to scale up our program in order to keep up with what is going on around the province and around the world. Our vision is to start a degree course in mission with a special emphasis in pastoral leadership. This is a project which will help us to retain our vision of equipping the church with holistically trained pastors, something which will not be in competition with other institutions but will help as a complementary program. This we hope, to start as soon as possible provided we get the right resources.
We are still in need of staff especially those who are able to teach at the degree level, and on subjects relating to Pastoral leadership and Mission.
We were very grateful to receive the guests who passed through and some who stayed for a while with us here. This included former mission partners, present mission personnel, former residents and students, pastors and bishops both local and from overseas. We thank you all for your encouragement, and the time of sharing your experiences with us. If you are thinking of paying a visit, you are most welcome, and may God of all Mercy enrich you with His love.
The Revd John Madinda