ATESEA conducts seminar for CE
Eighteen (18) Christian Educators from Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand participated in the ATESEA Theological Union (ATU) Center of Research (CORE) Seminar for Christian Education (CE). The seminar was hosted by Silliman University Divinity School (SUDS) in Dumaguete City, Philippines on October 7-10, 2019. The event focused on the theme, “Re-envisioning Christian Education in multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Asia.”
Invited speakers from various institutions spoke on different topics during the two-day conference. Dr. Hope Antone, Director for Faculty Development of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, talked on “Re-envisioning Christian Education in Changing Contexts of Asia.” She discussed about changing contexts in Asia, CE as a field of study, and ways of re-envisioning CE. She also emphasized that Asia, being multi-religious, there should be respect for other communities; being multi-ethnic, there should be appreciation for each other’s uniqueness; and being multi-cultural, there should be understanding of each other’s perspectives.
Dr. Lim Teck Peng, Associate Dean of The Lee Huai Kwang Professor of Religious Education, Trinity Theological College, Singapore delivered a lecture on the topic, “Christian Education or Religious Education? A Clarification of Concepts.” First, he defined and distinguished the two terms Religious Education and Christian Education. Second, he proposed that these two can be used interchangeably, depending on the context. Finally, he cited the practices of Christian Religious Education in church and family as well as in the society.
Another speaker, Dr. Kung Lap Yan, Professor of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Hong Kong presented the topic, “A Social Imaginary Approach to Christian Education.” Social Imaginary approach is described as how people in the society think and imagine their social existence and how they react to each other in their daily living. He further emphasized that Christian educators should engage their Christian social imaginary approach in the dominance social imaginary of their everyday living.
Through the lectures, sharing, and group discussions the participants were enlightened, encouraged, and empowered to make a commitment to achieve the following:
- To think globally and act locally in this changing world
- To see what is changing and what is continuing; Christian’s values should be able to carry out the principles/truth through the ages in this changing world.
- To synergize with other communities of faith.
- To use love and respect as a basis for engaging in the dominant social imaginary approach.
- To focus on level, not on the dimension.
- To update learnings, management systems, instructional materials, teaching methods and strategies, and to be relevant in their respective contexts. This was based on Dewey’s perspective, “If we teach today’s student as we taught yesterday, we rob their tomorrow.”
The participants also considered the need to collaborate among themselves for the publishing of a book on Christian Education. They agreed to conduct research/ interviews in their respective localities to contribute to the book project, “Understanding Christian Education in our own Context.” A committee was tasked to oversee the said undertaking. Furthermore, participants submitted the following recommendations to ATESEA for the professional enrichment of the Christian educators:
To help facilitate the exchange of Christian educators among the member schools for knowledge enhancement and to uplift the role of Christian Education in the seminary and church life.
- To hold fora for Christian educators with critical and creative perspectives.
- To organize annually, as needed, the Conference for Christian educators in order to establish and strengthen their linkages and fellowship with one another.
- To assist in the exchange of educational resources among member schools.