YTCS initiates ‘Ecumenical and Academic Exchange Program’
Christian communities in Asia, especially among the indigenous communities, are growing very fast, but we are ignorant of each other. Many creative theological activities are also taking place in Asia, but there is no ecumenical platform in mutual sharing. The situation affirms that the present and future health of the churches and ecumenical movement lies on the strength of ministerial formation and theological education. Yushan Theological College and Seminary (YTCS), with the support of FTESEA and ATU, initiated the “Ecumenical and Academic Exchange Program” (EAEP) among theological institutions of ATU member schools to promote contextual research and theologies, mission practice, new theological thinking and debate, and to foster ecumenical consciousness among the students and scholars.
YTCS is having this mutual exchange program with (1) Sabah Theological Seminary, Malaysia (Th.M. and Faculty); (2) Myanmar Institute of Theology (Th.M. and Faculty), Yangon; (3) Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong (Th.M. and Faculty); and (4) Union Theological Seminary, Philippines (D.Min, Th.M. and Faculty). YTCS shared expertise on Indigenous Biblical Hermeneutics, Contextual Theologies and Culture, Indigenous Theology and Music. The length of the exchange program is one month to six weeks depending on the academic calendar of the respective institutions. The credit earned by the students is counted in their respective institutions. Students are placed under a competent mentor/scholar and the host institution arranges real world exposure programs in diverse contexts to provide opportunity to experience different Asian realities and church traditions.
Ms. Panay Asing, one of the students from Yushan assigned at Myanmar Institute of Theology, shared her experience: “After living more than a month at MIT, I could better comprehend the complex realities of the ethnic issues, economic deprivation, religious issues, rich cultural traditions and how the ethnic minorities respond to the dominant forces. I could understand the theology of struggle, inter-faith dialogue and indigenous theology deeper. I would say that my theological perspective has totally changed through living and relating with fellow students and professors. I am very thankful for this very enriching exchange program and I hope many students will be benefited theologically and spiritually in their theological journey.” This testimony indeed highlights the importance of the ecumenical and academic exchange program.
It is hoped that other seminaries/colleges from China, South East Asia, and North East Asian countries will also be part of this exchange program. The participating schools greatly appreciate the encourgement and support of FTESEA and ATESEA.
We are thankful to FTESEA and ATESEA for encouragement and support.