A gathering of East Asian Anglican theological educators has taken place at Trinity Theological College, Singapore, 11-13 November 2008. Co-sponsored by TEAC (Theological Education in the Anglican Communion) and CSCA (the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia), the meeting gathered together a group of ten official representative theological educators and those involved in Diocesan and Provincial ministry formation work from the Anglican Churches of Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines, South-East Asia, and Taiwan. It was the first such gathering of East Asian Anglican theological educators since the early 1990s. Participants were grateful for the hospitable way in which they were welcomed by Archbishop John Chew of South East Asia and by Dr Ngoei Foong Nghian, Principal of Trinity Theological College.
We thank Archbishop John Chew for presenting a keynote address on “Theological Education and Mission in East Asia: What can we do together”. Bishop Rennis Ponniah of Singapore, Mrs Clare Amos and Dean Michael Hiroya of Central Theological College, Japan led the morning devotions.
This meeting offered a first opportunity to offer a regional input to recommendations of TEAC and the Global South Anglican Theological Formation and Education Task Force on ministerial formation. A large portion of the Conference was devoted to examining the formation processes and resources among Anglican churches in the region.
The conference opened up the opportunities for renewed cooperation among Anglican theological educators in East Asia. Particular attention was paid to exploring ways that Anglican distinctives might be appropriately represented in theological education. Discussion at the meeting made clear that that those present believed that theological education was not simply a preserve of the clergy. The need for appropriate training of lay ministers such as catechists was given particular attention. It was also made clear that all Anglican lay people should have the opportunity to access good quality theological education that would equip and enable them fully to live out their Christian discipleship within the life of their churches and societies.
As sponsors of the gathering, we, representing CSCA and TEAC, have committed ourselves to working as requested with participants and their churches to help to take forward the ideas that were put forward at the consultation.
Clare Amos, Director of Theological Studies, Anglican Communion
Michael Poon, Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia.