Before coming into LCWE leadership, Birdall served for twenty years in leadership development and church planting in Asia. Since 1999 he has served as director of the Centre for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an ICETE Affiliate institution. He holds degrees from Gordon-Conwell, Wheaton, and Harvard. Doug was a special guest at the ICETE Consultation in Chiang Mai in 2006, addressing the Consultation in plenary session, serving on a key panel, and leading several workshops. In accepting the appointment, Doug stated: “I am honoured by the invitation to serve on the ICETE Council of Reference. It is with great enthusiasm that I lend my support to the work and vision of ICETE.”
Other eminent members of the ICETE Council of Reference are: Rolf Hille of the Albrecht-Bengel-Haus in Tübingen, Germany; Peter Kuzmič of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia; Emilio Nuñez of the Seminario Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA) in Guatemala; Wilson Chow of China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong; and Chris Wright, director of John Stott’s Langham Partnership International, based in the UK. ICETE welcomes Doug Birdsall to this position, and looks forward to the benefits of his wise counsel and involvement in the ICETE global family.
ICETE’s New Director in Motion. ICETE’s new International Director, Paul Sanders, is firmly on the move in 2007. Based in Lebanon, Paul serves there with the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS). His travels on behalf of ICETE in 2007 include meetings in February in Brazil with Latin American theological educators; in March he will speak to theological educators of the Caribbean who are assembling in Jamaica; in August Paul will be in the Philippines for the gathering of Asian theological educators; and in October he will lead meetings in Rome of ICETE’s European member EEAA, of which he is Chair. Additionally Paul is to participate in the “Presidents’ Consultation” being sponsored by Overseas Council International (OCI) in Germany in September. And he will represent ICETE at Lausanne’s International Leadership meeting being held in Hungary in June.
Before moving to Lebanon, Paul served for twenty-five years in France, where he was Dean and later Director of the Institut Biblique de Nogent. His doctorate, in modern western history, is from the Université de Sorbonne in Paris. Paul and his wife Agnès, a medical doctor, moved to Lebanon in 1996, where Agnès directs a ministry providing health care, literacy, and other social assistance in the refugee camps around Beirut. The institution where Paul is teaching in Beirut, ABTS, has over 200 graduates working in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine. ABTS alumni also lead Arabic-speaking churches and ministries in Europe, North and South America and Australia.
Paul became a member of the EEAA Council in 1989; he joined the ICETE governing board in 2002; and he was appointed ICETE International Director in 2006. In this post he succeeds Dieumeme Noelliste of Jamaica, who led ICETE from 2000 to 2006. Dieumeme now serves ICETE as its Chair. Dieumeme and Paul will be meeting with other members of ICETE’s Executive Committee at sessions planned for August in Nairobi, Kenya.
Professional Workshops for Academic Deans. Over 25 academic deans from all over the world attended a two-day intensive workshop held under ICETE auspices immediately after the ICETE Consultation in Thailand in August 2006. Facilitators included Drs Fritz Deininger (Bangkok), Steve Hardy (Johannesburg) and Paul Sanders (Beirut). The event dealt with issues such as the job description of the dean, curriculum development, administrative skills, and faculty development. In May 2006 a similar four-day workshop was held in Singapore, sponsored by the Asia Theological Association (ATA) and attended by 60 deans. That event was facilitated by Drs. Deininger and Sanders, as well as by Dr. Theresa Lua (Philippines), Dr. Paul Mohan Raj (India) and others from ATA. It focused specifically on curriculum development. This ATA workshop will be followed up this coming May 2007 with one in Bangkok, this time on faculty development. Similar ICETE-linked workshops for deans are under discussion for Latin America (AETAL) and for Africa (ACTEA).
ICETE-Sponsored Think-Tank. ICETE will be facilitating a think-tank event in São Paulo, Brazil 27-28 February, in collaboration with the Association for Evangelical Theological Education in Latin America (AETAL). Brainstorming sessions will focus on AETAL’s purposes and accomplishments, as well as practical means for felt needs of the AETAL constituency to be addressed and appropriate changes implemented. Are there ways in which AETAL could be better configured to enhance its impact in encouraging quality theological education across Latin America? How might AETAL be able to strengthen networking among institutions throughout the region so that they themselves can become consultants and encouragers to one another? Arrangements are being coordinated by Steve Hardy, ICETE Senior Consultant. Paul Sanders, ICETE’s International Director, will also be participating, together with AETAL’s General Secretary, Vera Brock. ICETE hopes to be able to facilitate similar think-tank events for other ICETE-related members in future as needed.
Radical Incarnational Ecclesiology. ICETE has just participated in a significant exploratory consultation of the Lausanne Theology Working Group, held 12-17 February 2007 in Limuru, Kenya. The event was chaired by Chris Wright of Langham Partnership International, and co-sponsored by the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). This was the first in a series of such gatherings planned by this Lausanne group to articulate key theological challenges relevant to the task of world evangelization, in preparation for the Third Lausanne Congress to be held in 2010. ICETE’s delegates to the event were Douglas Carew of ACTEA (Kenya) and Sergei Sannikov of E-AAA (Ukraine).
The theme of this consultation was “Following Jesus in Our Broken World,” and focused on the demands of radical discipleship and the ethical dimensions inherent in Christian conversion. Presentations considered issues of discipleship in contexts of power and violence, suffering and disaster, ethnicity, and the globalised marketplace, together with questions relating to the uniqueness of Christ, and Jesus as the Truth in the Postmodern world. What was found most needed was a robust theology of incarnational ecclesiology. As truth is experienced and communicated through proposition, presence, and praxis, our ecclesiology must be more effectively developed so that we might be both bearers and communicators of the Truth to our suffering world. Succeeding consultations of this working group will focus on: the Whole Church (2008), the Whole Gospel (2009), and the Whole World (2010). The implications for evangelical theological education are multiple. Part of ICETE’s role is to provide both an ear and a voice for its worldwide constituency within such venues of global evangelicalism. LCWE hopes in due course to make the findings of this series available to ICETE constituency institutions.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), represented by its mission desk for overseas theological education, maintains formal links with ICETE as an ICETE Associate. Other ICETE Associates include: Church of the Nazarene; Church of God (Cleveland); Overseas Council International, Resource Leadership International; Overseas Council Australia; and SIM International.
In preparation for celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and its 29 international partner churches have launched Ablaze!, a decade-long world-wide Lutheran mission movement for sharing the Gospel. Theological education is not left out of the celebration. Since Lutheranism began as a movement in the theological faculty of Wittenberg University, and since it has traditionally placed strong emphasis on education and on the training of pastors, theological education is included in the celebration’s foci. As part of the Ablaze! campaign, LCMS and its partners have pledged to raise $6 million specifically in aid of Lutheran seminaries and schools in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Russia, Argentina, and Mexico. For further information, visit: www.lcms.org/ablaze
Doctorate in International Theological Education
Columbia International University (in Columbia SC, USA) is among those North American post-graduate evangelical institutions that have established a formal relationship with ICETE as ICETE Affiliates. Other ICETE Affiliate institutions are: Denver Seminary; Wheaton College; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; and Bethel Seminary.
Columbia International University (Columbia, SC, USA) announces plans for a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership that will have a concentration in international theological education, and will have courses offered at Akademie für Weltmission in Korntal, Germany. The programme will be an expansion of CIU’s current Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Christian higher education. Courses in the 66 semester hour program will be taught in English through a combination of distance education and on-campus modular (one week) courses. The program will focus on preparing in-service educators, through biblically-integrated studies, for roles in leadership, instruction, and research in international theological education. Completion of the degree will normally require four to six years of continuous studies. Additional information on both the current and the projected programmes is available on the website: www.ciu.edu/edd
Action Time 2007
This year 2007 is action time within ICETE’s worldwide membership. ICETE is a global participatory community set up by eight regional associations of theological schools to further international contact and collaboration in evangelical theological education. ICETE’s member associations represent all regions of the world, with a combined global constituency of more than 700 theological schools in 100 countries, predominantly in the majority world. Almost all of the ICETE member associations are holding major assemblies in 2007.
· North America. The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), which links institutions of biblical higher education in North America, is holding its 60th Annual Meeting in Orlando FL 22-24 February. The theme is “Influencing the Future from a Foundation of Faith”. Plenary speakers include Dr Kenneth Gangel of Christian Education Leadership, and Dr Ted Ward of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Workshops will address such topics as: Elephants in the Boardroom: Overcoming Obstacles to Board Greatness; The Academic Leader as Team Builder; and Why Are We Doing All This Work? The Benefits of Accreditation. The Interim Executive Director of ABHE is Ralph Enlow. Further information is available at the ABHE website: www.abhe.org
· Caribbean. The Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association (CETA) will be meeting 19-23 March in Montego Bay, Jamaica, under the theme “Theological Education in a Globalized World”. Principal speakers will include ICETE’s Director, Paul Sanders, and CETA’s President and ICETE’s Chair, Dieumeme Noelliste. A pre-conference seminar will focus on “Preparing Your College for Accreditation.” The event is being coordinated by CETA’s Secretary, Errol Joseph. Further information is available from the CETA website: www.cetaweb.info
· Africa. The Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) is not holding a general meeting in 2007. It announces several personnel changes in process. The incoming ACTEA Administrative Secretary for Accreditation, Philippe Emedi, has relocated from Jos, Nigeria, to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Stephanie Black (Ethiopia) is joining the ACTEA staff as Accreditation Officer. Scott Cunningham, outgoing ACTEA Administrative Secretary for Accreditation, will be transitioning to the staff of Overseas Council International, to lead their Institutes for Excellence in Christian Leadership Development. Meanwhile in March an ACTEA team is visiting the Theological College of Central Africa in Ndola, Zambia, for its decadal re-accreditation process. Further information is available from the ACTEA website: www.theoledafrica.org/ACTEA
· Asia. The Asia Theological Association will hold its Triennial Assembly 6-10 August in Manila, Philippines, with the theme: “The Prophetic Voice of the Gospel in Contemporary Asia”. Among the sub-themes to be considered are: Shifting Paradigms in Theological Education; Globalization and Its Effects in the Asian Context; Theological Education in the Context of Persecution; Theological Education for the Marketplace; and Information Technology: How Can It Be Better Used by ATA and its Institutions. Paul Sanders, ICETE Director, will be addressing the assembly. Other principal speakers will include: Vinay Samuel (India); Ben Pwee (Singapore); David Wang (Hong Kong); and Joseph Suico (Philippines). The event is being coordinated by ATA’s Acting General Secretary, Brian Wintle. Further information is available at the ATA website: www.ataasia.com
· Latin America. The Association for Evangelical Theological Education in Latin America (AETAL) will be holding its 6th triennial assembly 24-28 September in São Paulo, Brazil. The theme will be: “Theological Education—Its Relevance to People, Church, and Society”. Among principal speakers will be Dr Steve Hardy, ICETE Senior Consultant and SIM Advisor for Theological Education, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AETAL event is being coordinated by the AETAL General Secretary, Vera Brock. For further information, contact: [email protected]
· Euro-Asia. The Euro-Asian Accrediting Association (E-AAA) will hold its 8th General Meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, 23-25 October. E-AAA links 53 evangelical theological schools in Eurasia. The Kiev conference, bringing together more than 150 participants from all the countries of the former Soviet Union, will seek to arrive at recommendations for developing theological education more effectively to serve the churches in a context of limited resources. The event will also work to align E-AAA accreditation services more sufficiently with the European-wide Bologna process. Attention will also be given to challenges in publication of Russian-language theological literature. Coordinating these events is E-AAA Executive Director, Sergei Sannikov. Further information is available on the E-AAA website: www.e-aaa.org
· Europe. The European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA) is the evangelical quality assurance network serving theological schools in Europe since 1978. The EEAA General Assembly will be held in Rome 31 October-4 November. The theme will be “Spiritual Development and Mentoring in Theological Education”, with the principal speaker Dr Gordon Smith of Resource Leadership International (Canada). Seminar sessions will address topics such as: How Mentoring Is Practiced Today; The Role of The Tutor in Spiritual Formation, A Conversation With Henri Nouwen; The Role of Prayer in Theological Educational Contexts; and Spiritual Formation through Distance Learning. The event will be followed by a guided tour of Rome. Arrangements are being cared for by EEAA’s Coordinator, Marvin Oxenham. For further information, visit the EEAA website: www.eeaa.org
ICETE is a global community, sponsored by eight continental/regional networks of theological schools, to encourage excellence and renewal in evangelical theological education worldwide. ICETE was established in 1980, and functions under the auspices of the World Evangelical Alliance.
ICETE Officers—Chair: Dieumeme Noelliste (Jamaica); Director: Paul Sanders (Lebanon)
ICETE Council of Reference—Dr Rolf Hille (Germany); Dr Emilio Nuñez (Guatemala); Dr Chris Wright (UK);
Dr Wilson Chow (Hong Kong); Dr Doug Birdsall (USA); Dr Peter Kuzmič (Croatia)
for further information, or to contact ICETE, go to:
Strengthening evangelical theological education
through international cooperation
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