From USPG website
Western influences in Myanmar are having a huge impact on the lives of young people – so that many are struggling to absorb the Christian faith.
These are the comments of the Revd Dr Samuel San Myat Shwe, principal of the USPG-supported Holy Cross Provincial Theological College, in Yangon.
During a visit to USPG’s headquarters in London, Dr Samuel said: ‘Modernisation, globalisation and technological advancements bring with them the influences of western culture.
‘Young people especially are influenced by these changes and their lives are shaped more or less by them.’
He continued: ‘Young people can find it difficult to comprehend traditional ways of expressing belief. They struggle with the creed, for example, which is, after all, an ancient text.’
The solution was for well-trained clergy to learn how to communicate effectively with the younger generation.
Dr Samuel said: ‘Young people are still coming to church, but the clergy need to find new ways to communicate religious values. This clergy need to listen to young people, understand their interests, and change how they communicate.’
The importance of theological education
Theological education is one of the routes by which new clergy and lay leaders will become equipped to communicate Christianity in an age of globalisation.
Dr Samuel explained: ‘Theological education is the soul of the church. Theology empowers the people by helping them to find their Christian identity, teaching them how to be in fellowship with each other.’
Established in the Diocese of Yangon in 1929, Holy Cross is addressing training around 50 men and women each year as clergy and lay leaders for Myanmar’s six dioceses.
Dr Samuel said: ‘The clergy – and the students – are proud to serve the church. It’s joyful to serve in ministry for God! I think the students also like to learn about theology – there’s an interest in finding out about Christian truth.’
He added: ‘The church in Myanmar is very much alive and working together. There is excellent co-operation among the denominations. We also appreciate the partnership of our friends around the world. We are very thankful for the partnership we have with USPG.’
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