Disciples News Service

Disciples engage with ecumenical colleagues at forum of theological institution leaders

Submitted by Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM)

Theological education in today’s interconnected world demands opportunities for students to experience and learn from different cultures and contexts. Partnerships with theological education institutions around the world is one means of providing this interaction.

From Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, the Caribbean-US Forum on Theological Education and Praxis brought leaders from seminaries and theological institutions related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ together with colleagues from theological schools in Latin America and the Caribbean to discuss ways of partnering together.

The forum, sponsored by Global Ministries as part of the Caribbean Initiative, was hosted by the United Theological College of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Rev.Angel L. Rivera-Agosto, Global Ministries’ area executive for Latin American and the Caribbean, said the forum “allowed the participating institutions to challenge themselves mutually in the process of developing a theological education that can respond to the social challenges in both the Caribbean region as well as in the United States.”

Participants discussed the social and theological realities in both the Caribbean and United States, the academic programs their respective schools offer, and opportunities to dialogue about collaboration in the future.

Dr. Palmira Ríos-González, interim dean at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico said, “One unanticipated outcome of the forum was learning about the common challenges faced by seminaries in the United States and the Caribbean. Because of these similarities, I learned about many organizational models that can inform how we evaluate our programs.”

Towards the end of the week, time was set aside for schools to engage in initial conversations about ways they could partner. Rev. Dr. Joretta Marshall, Executive Vice President and Dean of Brite Divinity School, said “There are multiple ways to engage in conversations and partnerships. De-constructing the temptation of those of us in the continental United States to pre-determine the outcome of those partnerships moves us closer to the realm of God. I look forward to the development of further ways of being present to one another.”

Opportunities including faculty and student exchanges, joint programs, cultural exchanges, and library and resource development, were also recognized for their potential to foster future collaboration.

HELM gives thanks to Global Ministries for supporting and facilitating this forum, offering the opportunity for Disciples-related theological institutions to engage with colleagues on ways to partner and strengthen the work of theological education.

To support the work of the seven Disciples-related theological schools and 14 colleges and universities, you’re invited to give to the 2018 Thanksgiving Special Day Offering, received in many congregations on Nov. 18.