THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION Chairperson: the Very Revd.Rowan Smith [Dean of Cape Town] Scribe: The Revd. Patrick Nene [Diocese of Natal] INTRODUCTION Questions were asked on the state of theological education in the CPSA. Is there more being done towards local diocesan training schemes than residential training at COT? What is the big picture? Noted that the number of students training at the college is relatively small. Yet another question was posed as to why dioceses were opted for local training schemes when we’re saying that residential training is the better? It was pointed however that for some dioceses, local training worked out better due to the language factor – especially in Angola, Lebombo and Niassa. Immigration problems made it difficult for students in those dioceses (including Namibia) to come for residential training – so local training worked better as it also saved large amounts of money! COT (as well as TEEC) is currently in the process of obtaining accreditation with the Council for Higher Education, as is the law of South Africa regarding all institutions of higher learning. We were urged in the group to be honest about what problems existed I theological education in the province, to name them! Noted that even before we could do this, to ask ourselves, what kind of leaders [lay and ordained] do we want in the church today? Also to ask, what do we want to do regarding on- going formation after college? It was noted that people are entering theological college at a much older age, then was the case, say, twenty years ago! What is more they even have families. Sometimes this very fact made it difficult for dioceses to relocate such people to college, as most would be working. TEEC worked very well in this case. The latter college also was useful for gauging the student’s academic capability. Point was made that we must do theological education ecumenically. TEEC has been doing this since its inception. What is more, diocese use TEEC study materials and are therefore not doing their own thing! Noted that a new Diploma is being offered in place of the old “Joint Board Diploma’. At TEEC, also a degree program is now being offered. Do we have a ‘Central Board’, which sets the standard in theological education in the CPSA [as they do I the church of England]? RECOMMENDATIONS Recommended that Lay people be included in the composition of the Board of Theological Education. At the moment clergy make up the board! Suggested that resources be shared in the Province to make it possible for more people to attend COT, who would otherwise not be able to go due to financial constraints in the poorer dioceses. Pointed out that the discernment process be centralized in the Province, so that each diocese will know what the other is doing. CONCERNS A concern was raised as to the whereabouts of white students, why has the number of white students dropped at COT? Also suggested that a bridging program be introduced because of language difficulties. Noted that college is a microcosm we live in – a divided past! Noted that there is a shortage of teachers of theology. Noted too that we in the Province have not ‘owned’ COT enough! Formation is happening in challenging times these days; therefore appropriate skills are needed to do this. Need to begin training he lay people of our church. New models of theological education must be found within all the training schemes, as the Archbishop said in is Charge. Noted that the House of Studies does exist, and has aligned itself with the University of Natal’s School of Theology. CONCLUSION The discussion ended with the group considering the motions due to come before synod, on theological education, namely Agendum: 12, 13 and 23 in the second agenda book.
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