The eighty-fourth session of the Senate and thirty-fifth meeting Board took place at United Theological College, Bangalore on February 3-5, 2010 and the Convocation on Feb. 6, 2010. More that 1300 students received their degree/diploma certificates, out of which 438 attended the convocation. There are about twenty-thousand students registered through fifty four affiliated colleges and institutions. Serampore offers two doctorate, one post-graduate and three graduate degrees; one post-graduate and two under-graduate diplomas.
The year-2010 is important in the life of the church in India UTC and Serampore, as we remember with gratefulness to God for his blessings through commemorating centenaries of Edinburg-1910 founding of UTC and reorganization of Serampore College, as well the tercentenary of services of SPCK. Board conducted seminars in which Dr. K. M. George led into lively discussions on Mission and Discontents: Towards New Human civilization through his paper and Ms. Ella Sonavane through her power-point presentation of services rendered by ISPCK.
Senate and the Boards have decided to move SATHRI and Research programmes to Serampore under Research programme of Serampore College (University). Senate will be approaching the Council of Serampore College to provide a place for the Research Department so that it can function from Serampore and develop, and provide, research resources for the University.
The activities of the Board will continue from Bangalore Office. There is a suggestion to have an active and fulltime Secretary appointed for the Board to carry out the programmes and activities of the Board.
Dr. Wati Langchar continues to be Director-in-charge of Research /SATHRI programme. He and Dr. M.T. Cherian are taking good care of SCEPTRE and its programmes.
The introduction of an Undergraduate Diploma in Bible Translation is an appropriate tribute to the founders of the College. It is hoped that many more language groups will be able to read and listen the Bible in their own language and dialect, translated by the people trained under such a diploma programme. The Senate is working towards introduction of two more degree programmes - one for informed laity (Master of Christian Studies), another of under-graduate (Bachelor of Mission/Ministry).
Introduction of new BD programme, which has integrated, contextual and interdisciplinary approach, demands a new pedagogy. EMW, Hamburg, Germany and ICCOENKERKINACTIE, Netherlands has come forward in support of a pedagogical programme intended for theological teachers in our affiliated institutions. We will commence them from this year- one at Karnataka Theological College, Mangalore, another at SCEPTRE centre in Kolkata. Gurukul, also has expressed its willingness to host another one in Chennai.
The next Convocation, Senate and Board meetings will take place in Nagaland, at the kind invitation of Clark Theological College, Mokokchung.
We expressed our thanks and gratefulness to all our partners who have contributed for our programmes, thereby strengthening theological education in this region. We thank God for his grace to see us through.
Rev. Dr. Ravi Tiwari
Respected Master of Serampore College Dr. K. Rajaratnam, our esteemed guest Most Rev. Dr. Archbishop Chinnappa, Members of the Council, the Senate and the Board of Theological Education, Graduates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my privilege to extend a hearty welcome to all of you to the 82ndConvocation of Serampore College, hosted by United Theological College, Bangalore which is celebrating its Centenary this year. On behalf of the Officers of the Senate and the Board I extend our warm felicitations and greetings to the Principal, staff, students and the entire UTC community. Much has been achieved through this institution over the years in the field of Theological education. With deep appreciation we record our congratulations to the college.
A special word of welcome to Most Rev. Dr. Archbishop Chinnappa who has kindly consented to deliver the Convocation Address.
We accord a hearty welcome to Rev. Edward Holman Bentley Williams, Rev. Lalchhuanliana and Rev. Eberhard Will who have made distinctive contribution to the life and witness of the Church. We wish to recognize their services by conferring on them the Honoris causa, the Degree of Doctor Divinity.
We are glad to welcome all the Principals, Registrars of affiliated Colleges and Federated Faculties and Heads of Institutions accredited to the Board.
New Principals of Colleges/Seminaries/Federated Faculties:
Dip.C.P.C. Programme: Mar Thoma Hospital Guidance and Counselling Centre, Thiruvananthapuram
Post Graduate Programme: (Addition of courses)
Aizawl Theological College, Aizawl – History of Christianity
Rev. Dr. Chelliah Russeliah – Principal, Indian Theological Seminary, Avadi, Chennai – 15thMay, 2009
Mr. Tia Sashi Ao – Registrar, Believers Church Theological Seminary, Tiruvalla – 5thJune, 2009
We remember with gratitude their witness in life and in death.
The following graduates will receive their degrees/diplomas in this convocation
Total ......(1247 in 2008-2009)
New Registration to the various programmes in 2008 is given here below:
Dip. C.P.C. 31
Total ........(1746 in 2008-2009)
The new curriculum has already been introduced by some of our colleges under new regulation. The B. D. course would be the basic degree of 4 years for secular degree holders and of 5 years duration for 10+2 candidates. It is our hope that B. Th. Colleges would upgrade themselves into B. D. programme in the years to come. Pedagogical institutes will be organized for the benefit of theological teachers at different centres so that they may get acquainted with relevant pedagogical methods and evaluation system.
Senate Centre for Extension and Pastoral Theological Research:
The SCEPTRE has been involved in
BCS contact seminars were conducted in three different regions in which 104 B. C. S. students participated. 37 faculty members from different colleges facilitated the seminars. Dip. C. S. programme is also introduced in many parts of the country.
D. Min. Colloquium on issues in ministry; Orientation Seminar and Research Methodology Seminar were organized by the SCEPTRE for the benefit of 28 D. Min. students in the first and second year. Foundational Colloquium was organized for the first year students. Christian Education Fund, Kassel has given a substantial grant for D. Min. scholarship for women.
The SCEPTRE collaborated with EDAN-WCC, ETC-WCC, PTCA, CCA, NCCI, CISRS, SCMI, Compassion India, Interfaith Coalition for Peace, theological colleges and local churches and co-ordinated various programmes on contemporary issues.
Pastors’ Continuing Theological Education was conducted in different places for pastors in Nagaland on the theme “Frontier Challenges in Christian Ministry”. CCA Ecumenical Course 2009 was co-ordinated and hosted by SCEPTRE from October 19-29, 2009. 28 participants from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Armenia, Nepal, Philippines, China, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia attended this training programme. The sub-regional consultation on “Religious Fundamentalism Minorities and Interdisciplinary Education” and Theological Roundtable on “Churches’ Response to Human Sexuality” were organized. Papers of the consultations were published.
The SCEPTRE Programme Centre continues to host various kinds of meetings, lectures and consultations conducted by churches, institutions and NGOs.
With the help of ETE-WCC we have installed ATLA Religion and Philosophy online journal and this has been extended to Bishop’s College, Serampore College and Calcutta Bible Seminary.
Dr. Wati Longchar serves as the Dean of Extension and D. Min. studies and Dr. M. T. Cherian as Associate Dean and Administrative Assistant.
The Committee for Research – SATHRI
The following activities of the Research Committee and SATHRI were conducted during this year.
a) The annual D.Th. Methodology Seminar in which 31 doctoral students who registered for doctoral programme and 30 scholars from different doctoral centres attended the seminar. This seminar helped them to formulate their thesis proposal getting acquainted with the methodological issues and to undertake research in Indian/Asian context.
b) D.Th. Colloquium on the theme “Widening Theological and Ministerial Horizon from Disability Perspective” was conducted in collaboration with NCCI and EDAN-WCC. 43 doctoral students, 5 faculty representatives and 7 resource persons participated in this colloquium. New Biblical, theological and ministerial perspectives relating to disabilities were dealt with.
Doctoral students were exposed to various global issues which helped them to grow in academic activities and excellence.
c) Publications: BTESSC/SATHRI published the following books/journals
i) M. M. Thomas and Dalit Theology by Adrian Bird
ii) Approaching Religion in a Pluralistic Context by S. Robertson.
iii) Globalization and Women’s Subsistence Labour: A Third World Theological Perspective by W. S. Annie
iv) Chennakesava Cult and Dalits by T. Swami Raju
v) Contextual Theological Biblical Commentaries Vol.12, Romans 1-8 – A New Man in Jesus by M. M. Thomas – Translated by T. M. Philip
vi) Asia Journal of Theology was published as a joint venture of ATESEA, NEAATS and BTESSC
vii) Two issues of SATHRI Journal was published.
With 31 new admissions through doctoral centers the total number of students goes upto 123(96 men and 27 women). 39 scholars including 8 women are getting scholarships and travel bursaries from SATHRI.
This year 6 doctoral students have been recommended to the Senate for the award of degree Doctor of Theology
It was proposed by the BTESSC and the Senate to make a review of the SATHRI and a review Committee consisting of the Dr. Felix Wilfred, Dr. Mary John, Mr. Sanjay Patra and
Dr. H. S., Wilson was appointed to evaluate the research programme. The evaluation report has already been submitted to the Senate for appropriate action.
Dr. Samson Prabhakar who had served as the Director of Research and SATHRI took an early retirement on health ground. Dr. Wati Longchar was entrusted with the additional responsibility as the Dean of Research and SATHRI. We appreciate the dedicated service rendered by Dr. Samon Prabhakar during the last 8 years and wish him good health and happiness in his retired life.
The Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College
The BTESSC continues to play its role as an advisory body to the Senate in needs of ecumenical theological education and ministerial formation. It has taken initiate to organize national and regional consultations including one in Sri Lanka on contextual theologies which contributed a great deal to strengthen subaltern concerns in theological education. Efforts were also made to strengthen the Ecumenical relations and church ministries. Dr. James Massey serves as the Secretary of the Board.
From its inception, for nearly 200 years, it has been the conviction of Serampore College that theological education not merely benefits theological students but entices the life of the Church and the nation. We are working hard to continue the traditions of struggling with issues which affect all people in our particular contexts, and also in the national, Asian and global contexts with renewed energy and commitment.
We are aware that we face new challenges and opportunities for Christian Ministry. In the midst of varied challenges our overriding concern is how we affirm faith in a more creative manner. We all agree in saying that this new paradigm for theological education is to be life affirming and should equip and involve the whole people of God for God’s mission in the world. The integration of the perspectives of different sections of people in theological education enriches its content and quality.
Sustainability of theological education is very much dependent on the nature and character of theological education. It is our conviction that theological education and ministerial formation is an ecumenical endeavour which moves beyond the confines of our confessional tradition and loyalty. Ecumenical theological education affirms life and relationships, inspires rebuilding .and of communities inclusive of diversities and embraces God’s whole creation.
There is an urgent need to build closer relationships between theological colleges and the churches. The churches should own theological education as a specialized ministry of the Church. An atmosphere should be created to have sufficient interaction between the church leadership and theological institutions which will bridge the gap between theological educators and pastors of the congregations.
While developing advanced theological research centres in different regions, we should keep in mind that we need not duplicate what other centres are developing in their respective places. Our centres can concentrate only on certain specialized areas and concentration should be made to strengthen these areas of learning so that we may pool our resources and work together to promote quality leadership and contextual ecumenical theologies. In this way we become a viable community of sustaining relationships of reconciliation and mutual empowerment.
The Master of Serampore College Dr. K. Rajaratnam has been a great source of inspiration to us in all our activities including new initiatives. We express our gratitude to him for \his valuable leadership. We record our thanks to the Registrar of the Senate Dr. Ravi Tiwari and former Director of Research and SATHRI Dr. Samson Prabhakar, Treasurer Rev. Rechel Bagh, Secretary BTESSC Dr. James Massey, Dean of Extension and D.Min. Dr. Wati Longchar, who also shouldered the responsibility as Dean of Research and SATHRI, Administrative Assistant and Associate Dean of SECPTRE Dr. M. T. Cherian for their dedicated service. I also record our thanks to the members and chairpersons of various committees for their active participation in the affairs of the Senate and the Board. The question paper setters and examiners also deserve our appreciation and thanks. The office staff in the Senate Office at Serampore, BTESSC/SATHRI Office in Bangalore and SCEPTRE in Kolkata have discharged their duties faithfully. We record our thanks to them.
We thank our ecumenical partners for their support and participation in our endeavours. A special word of appreciation and thanks to the EMW Hamburg for their concern in strengthening and developing the partnership relationships meaningfully. We record our thanks to the Global Ministries Division of UCC, CMS, London, United Church in Netherlands, Methodist Church in Britain, EMS Stuttgart, ETE-WCC and all other partners who have supported us in our activities and we look forward to their continued support for the cause of theological education.
Our special thanks are due to our hosts, the Principal Dr. Johns Samuel Raj and Faculty and students of the United Theological College for the excellent arrangements they have made and for their loving hospitality.
Our hearty congratulations to all who receive their degrees and diplomas. We urge you to be faithful to your calling. “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (1 Tim. 1:14)
Rt. Rev. Dr. John S. Sadananda
06.02.2010 President of the Senate
United Theological College, Bangalore invited the Board of Theological Education and the Senate of Serampore College to hold their annual meetings and the Convocation. The Seminary Community spent a considerable time and energy in making this event possible, and we wish to convey our thanks and appreciation to all who made it possible.
This was not the first time that the Senate went to that Campus at the gracious invitation of the community, but last meeting had a historical significance as we commemorated some very major and significant events in history and life of national and international Christian Church. There is no doubt that Edinburgh 1910 was uppermost in our mind, and we had been talking about it since last one year; establishment of United Theological College was also a momentous event as it has played an important part in the ecumenical movement in this country and contributed significantly in strengthening the ministry of the church. This institution has played an important role in theologizing in Indian context. UTC was the first college that was affiliated to Serampore soon after its formation, as first theological university in India, under the Bengal Act of 1918. We also reminded ourselves the event of revival of Serampore College and its Charter by Dr. George Howells in 1910, establishment of Department of Higher Theological Studies, introduction of BD and LTh degrees/diploma and re-affiliation of the College with University of Calcutta for Intermediate, BA and BSc degrees.
We are happy to report that the process of revision is complete and we have registered a few colleges under new regulation. We have completed the task of editing all the syllabuses and print them for the benefit of the colleges and students. We wish to thank all those who have been involve in this process, especially editorial board who had worked hard to see the things through. Drs. Simon Samuel, Roger Gaikwad, Abraham Kuruvilla, Joseph George, George Zachariah have given much of their time and energy to help us out. Apart of them, a number of teaching staff of various institutions have contributed in preparing the syllabuses and the members of various boards of studies have contributed towards the completion of the task. I am personally grateful each of them and thank them on behalf of the Senate.
Results, Graduation, Registration and Examination
It is a matter of concern that many colleges have no system of scrutiny of examination related matters and they do not have something like academic committee in place. This is evident from the fact that in spite of repeated requests colleges are not submitting the results after they are declared by them at the end of each term or semester. Some college go correcting the results or submitting marks after the declaration of results by the Senate. Colleges are informed that Senate will not accept any changes in results, or add marks or courses once the results are declared. College faculties are requested to scrutinize the results very carefully before submitting them to the Senate, especially the results of final year’s students.
The relevant statistics of the examination-2009 is provided as an appendix to this report. The trend still continues, and we have an increase in number of graduates, touching almost thirteen hundred this year.
The new system of having two paper-setters, setting two sets of question-paper has been quite successful and satisfying.
Office Extension Project: A Report
It is to report that the extension of senate Office has been completed and the Office is now in the process of shifting into new extension. We have now more space and rooms for our meetings and consultation. Senate has provided tar the road and a foot-path around Mack House. I am sure committee meetings and consultation now can be held in Serampore and many of you will be able to visit Serampore more often now than in the past.
Apart form providing furniture in the new office; we need to provide the same to the guest rooms and residence of the Registrar. There are few repair and renovation work that needs to be undertaken which we will take during this or next year. The present office needs to be converted into guest rooms in order to accommodate members of the committees to be held here at the Senate office. Some modification is needed as this office was meant to be a hostel and the task may not need too much of expenditure. We will soon take up the work converting the old office into guest rooms, so that most of the committee meeting and consultations can be held there.
We are grateful to the EMW, Hamburg, Germany and Common Global Ministries, New York, USA for their understanding, support and financial assistance.
Special academic concern and suggestions
It is satisfying to note that there is a greater interest in higher theological studies. More than 70 students are graduating with MTh per year since last ten years, and it is a very encouraging sign. Our concern is the growing competition between colleges to have as many branches of MTh studies as possible. Some centres are running the courses only with one or two students, and some have only to show to statisticians that they have MTh studies available in their centre though they have no student. It may be good for our system, and also for the benefit of the students if centres strengthen their staff and library in not more that four or five branches and offer them at post-graduate and doctoral level. Centres should also be encouraged to form federated faculties with nearby institutions and help them develop into other and corresponding branches.
Senate should take note of certain development which is taking place in other universities and academic institutions. When we met the Minister for Human Resource Development, it was enquired whether we have National Eligibility Test (NET) and SLET type of examination for the selection of doctoral candidates and appointment of teaching staff in our university. There was some discussion for Common examination for selection of DTh candidate in the Senate but no decision was taken. It may be advisable that Senate should take the matter for serious consideration for maintaining required standard in its system and acceptance from secular institutions.
It may be a good idea if the Principal of the affiliated college give a brief report of their colleges every year which can be incorporated in Senate Minutes. This will surely provide member-institutions some valuable information about member colleges. I would like to request principals to send summary report of their colleges to the Senate office in August every year, so that they are kept in the file of the member at the annual Senate meeting.
There was a suggestion that Senate should arrange annual sports for the students of affiliated colleges to foster friendship and ecumenicity among them. This idea can be taken up for consideration. It may be a good idea to initiate, to begin with, a sporting event at different regional centres.
The concern of the BTh degree holders who are in the active ministry of the church needs to taken into consideration. There is a suggestion that these graduates may not be required to undergo residential studies but be allowed to go through a few contact seminars arranged by some specified centres and be allowed to appear in Senate examinations.
In the same context, the mode of continuance of BTh studies should also be decided. We may suggest that, for the time being, BTh can be allowed to continue for the benefit of regional and over-sea colleges. The examination system for these institutions can be conducted under comprehensive system. This will help the church and institutions, and provide them some time to take appropriate action in strengthening their institutions.
Finances of the Senate
Extension of the Senate Office is the major achievement of the year. The total cost involved for the extension is Rs.1,31,90,982/- (Rupees One Croes thirty one lakh ninety thousand nine hundred and eighty two only). Senate received Rs.54,47,046/-(Rupees Fifty four lakh forty seven thousand forty six only) as grant from foreign partners. Balance of the amount was borne by Senate from its own investment in endowment fund. Senate is eagerly looking for grants from aboard and within country for the furniture and necessary fixtures.
This year Senate investment was Rs.54,60,199.94 (Rupees fifty-four lakh sixty thousand one hundred ninety nine and ninety-four paisa only) as against a fund requirement of Rs.75,01,482.77 (Rupees seventy five lakh one thousand four hundred eighty two and paisa seventy seven only). Senate was not able to invest the required fund this year due to tremendous short fall of cash due to the payment for the construction of new building. This, however, we expect to recover through the receipt of expected grants and savings in the years to come.
There is, nevertheless, a steady consolidation of finances at the Senate Office. We have taken steps towards building up of Corpus Fund for the Senate. It is compulsory requirement for all established universalities, under present state or parliamentary Acts, to have such fund which should not be used for any purpose and should be kept as a reserve fund. A part of the interest earned from the fund can be used for expenses, and a part re-invested.
A Few Reporting
As suggested at the last Senate, the Executive Committee has appointed an Appellate Body to adjudicate dispute with the Senate. The members of the Body are: President of the Senate, Secretary of the Council, Chairperson, Committee on Research and Registrar.
It is to be reported that Dr. Samson Prabhakar has relinquish his responsibility during the year due to his failing health. He has been guiding the Research and SATHRI programme of the senate and BTESSC since 2001. We are express our appreciation to him for his service and contribution to BTESSC/Research and SATHRI.
At the gracious invitation of Principal Jebanesan of Theological College of Sri Lanka, I visited the College. It gave me an opportunity to meet the church leaders and theological educators in Sri Lanka. We can take satisfaction in the fact that the College is providing academic support to the churches and its alumni are serving at different part of the country. The churches in Sri Lanka wish to continue their relation with the Senate and seek for more sympathetic understanding of their situation and necessary help and support to carry on their ministry in the country.
We are thankful to those who have been our supporters in all ventures all these years. We express our thanks to EMW, Hamburg, Germany, who have supported extension work of the Senate office. Bishop Dr. John S. Sadananda, President of the Senate, Rev. Rechal Bagh, Treasurer, Dr. James Masey, Secretary, BTESSC, Dr. Samson Prabhakar, former Director, Research and SATHRI. Dr. Wati Longchar, Director, Extension and DMin Programme were kind enough to share the responsibility of the Bangalore Office; I express my deep sense of appreciation and thanks. Dr. M.T. Cherian Administrative Assistant at the SCEPTRE has been most helpful to me in conducting the affairs of the SCEPTRE. The guidance of the chairpersons and members of various committees made the matter much easier for me with their wise counsel and leadership. I appreciate their cooperation and help.
Senate and SCEPTRE staff, as usual, has been quite supportive and I am thankful to each of them for their services. I wish to express my deep sense of gratitude and appreciation to all of for your continued support and understanding.
May the good Lord continue to strengthen us, guide us and use us in serving His church and the people with best of our abilities.
Rev. Dr. Ravi Tiwari
This report covers the period from February 2009 till January 2010. As for this period the basic programme was accepted and approved by the Board and Senate in their meetings held on February 4-6, 2009 at Tamilnadu Theological Seminary Madurai, therefore the secretary after that immediately started discussion and planning these programmes with the officers of the Board and Senate. During the year from the six functions assigned to the Board in the ‘Constitution of One National Structure for Theological Education in India’, during this period priority was given to the following two constitutional functions.
1. Reflection and pioneering on new methods and styles in theological education in relation to the need of country and the Churches
2. Promotion of relationship between Churches, Theological Institutions and Study Centres.
In the Board meeting it was also decided to focus on two parts of South Asia, one North- East India focusing on the tribal Churches, Seminaries and Study Centres. The other was to organized a consultation exclusively for Sri Lanka. This decision was taken because already two consultations on the theme. ”Deciphering the Subaltern Terrain: Exploring Dalit and Tribal Religio-Cultural Domain for Emancipatory Vision “ was held, one in the North India and other in South India during November and December 2009. Therefore the Board and Senate’s decision and guidance to the BTESSC and ERCM (The Committee for Ecumenical Relations and Church ministries) for the said programme in North-East India and Sri Lanka were indeed a welcome step.
During the year the Secretary had a full support of the officers of the Board as well as Senate. Master of the Council of Serampore College. Dr. K. Rajaratnam always was also ready to offer his blessing and guidance whenever, the Secretary approached him.
Here in this report some of the highlights of the Board’s activities of 2009-10 are being shared with the members for their information as well as for their further guidance. The main discussion beside this introduction, of this report is divided under the following sub-heads.
· Meeting of ERCM at CDS, New Delhi on 18 August, 2009
· North East India Consultation at Conference Centre, Presbyterian Church of India, Shillong on 3- 8 August, 2009
· Secretary’s visit to Kathmandu, Nepal on August 7thto 8th, 2009 on the invitation of Nepal Institute of Theology.
· Dalit-Minjung Theological Dialogue at CDS, New Delhi on August 19-21, 2009
· Sri Lanka Consultation at God’s Little Actre, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
· Future Plans – 2010-15
II. Meeting of CERCM on 18thAugust
This meeting was held on 18thAugust, 2009 in which majority of the members sent their apologies. But we could have adjourned meeting at 5:00 pm. with Rev. Dr. Takatemjen in the chair. The main agenda of this meeting was to inform and discuss the forthcoming programmes of CERCM and BTESSC. For information and perusal the minutes of this meeting is already including in the files as part of Board/Senate agendas. Therefore here the detail of this is not given and the major programme activities carried on by BTESSC and CERCM are discussed in the succeeding sections of this report.
III. North East India Consultation
This consultation was held on August 3rdto 5thAugust, 2009 at the Conference Centre, Presbyterian Church of India, Shillong. It was hosted by the Presbyterian Church of India. The theme of this consultation as well as Sri Lanka consultation was common, “Partnership among Churches and Theological Institutions/Study Centres”. At the inaugural session, the participants were welcomed by Rev. Majaw, Administrative Secretary, Theological Education Committee, Presbyterian Church of India and it was inaugurated by Dr Ravi Tiwari, Registrar, Senate of Serampore. After the inaugural session, two perspectives the Church and the Seminary were taken by keynote addresses which followed by the presentations on “Task of Theological Education” and “Ownership of Theological Education” Then the consultation had a panel discussion in which ‘Women’s response’, ‘Societal/Tribal response’ and ‘Church response’ were presented and discussed in the plenary session. All the major presentations along with the report and statement has been brought out in the form of a book and already has been released and distributed to the members. Here I would like to reproduce only five most important recommendations, which are addressed to the theological institutions and the Churches together. These are:
1. We affirm the importance of commitment of the Senate of Serampore College to Contextual theologies, such as, liberation, indigenization, inculturation, contextualization, etc., and recommend that the theological institutions and the churches execute them in their respective contexts.
2. We affirm the urgency of responding to the challengers of contextual issues pertaining to the Dalits and the tribals.
3. We reiterate the urgent need to address women issue of ordination as it is theologically and biblically sound and contextually relevant. Therefore the process of concretization and consultation on the issue must begin in the churches
4. We reaffirm that Theological Institutions/Study Centres exist to strengthen church ministries, and that the churches meaningfully utilize theologically trained persons.
5. We recommend that the local churches utilize the services of theological teachers in order to strengthen church ministries as well as to equip the teachers themselves to be more relevant to the grassroots
IV. Secretary’s Visit to Nepal
The Secretary of the Board visited Nepal on the invitation of the Nepal Institute of Theology (NIT), Kathmandu on August 6-9, 2009. He had a meeting with the management, Church representatives, faculty and students and came to know the situation of theological education in Nepal in general
But more specific information he had on 8 August in a meeting about the state of Church as well as theological education in Nepal. This meeting was held at the Headquarter of the National Council of Christians in Nepal, in which besides Dr. Rokaya, the General Secretary and Chairperson of NCCN and the staff took part. It was here he learned that there are about 7000 autonomous Protestant churches led by 7000 (almost all led by self ordained ministers). These are the results of Northern countries, so called mission work carried on by individual charismatic groups after the present government of Nepal allowed freedom of religion. He was told presently there is a kind of chaos as far as the Protestant Christians in Nepal are concerned. There is small (about 1%) Roman Catholic Church, but with a Bishop and their educational institutions. The Government of Nepal look to the Roman Catholic for any official advice. The question was raised, is there a possibility to have a theological college or seminary in the absence of any organized Church, because without a Church for whom such an institution will train the ministers? These are the questions possibly we need to discuss even in our meetings today.
V. Dalit-Minjung Theological Dialogue
During 2009 BTESSC‘s Major programme included an international consultation namely “Dalit-Minjung Theological Dialogue” on the theme “On Being a New Community and Ecclesia of Justice and Peace in the Globalized and local context of Dalits and Minjung. Theological and Biblical perspectives on the mandate, motives and the movement of Christian Mission” from August 19th-21stAugust 2009 at the Centre for Dalit/Subaltern Studies, New Delhi. Altogether about 40 people participated including 10 professors from different Universities in South Korea attemded. Again all the papers and discussion of this consultation have been included in the book, which already has been released and presented to every member a copy of the same. In that book at the end, the detail report and a brief statement issued by the participants are also included for the information and implementations for the members of the Board. Here the words of a consensus statement is being re-produced, which brings a challenge to the members on the whole issue of the Christian mission, which reads as follows.
We, all participants in the 8thDalit-Minjung Theological Dialogue held on Aug. 19-21, 2009 with the theme of “On Being a New Community and Ecclesia of Justice and Peace in the Globalized Local Context of ?Dalits and Minjung,” state that the Christian missions should aim at being a new community by promoting justice and peace for the people of pain, Dalits and Minjung, in globalized local contexts.
We recognize that globalization generated cruel social systems in which Dalits and minjung became more vulnerable and forced to remain in wretchedness. In the growing socio-ecological hierarchism, collaborated with the caste system in India and proliferated by neo-liberalism in Korea as well as India, that broke the just and peaceful relations of all creations. We reconsider the nature of Christian mission and reached a conclusion that the Christian church should be a new community by advancing peace and justice. The new ecclesial community is to be motivated by the outcry of the sufferer, to be mandated in the belief in the God of peace and justice, and therefore to move forward to find its identity in the Christian mission of building up just and peaceful communities.
Justice and peace are the irreducible values for all creation. We will participate in the movement of peace and justice with the Christian Musicological consciousness until God calls all our sisters and brothers to meet together on June 8-10 (Wed.-Fri.), 2010, in Seoul Korea”
3. CERCM Annual Meeting (One Meeting).
This proposed programmes was submitted to the Finance Committee as well as to the Executive Committee held on November 3, 2009 at ICSA, Chennai, which has been approved and the same has been forwarded to this Board/Senate meeting for final approval.
In the conclusion I want to add, first that this report, I have kept small in size, so that we can have some time for the members to make contribution in the following two areas:
1. To make more effective work of the Board in relation to its constitutional given tasks.
2. To receive some concrete suggestions for the next year’s activity programme of the Board, besides the already proposed.
But before opening the floor to you. I want to fulfill another duty. It to offer my thanks to the whole Serampore family and all the Board members for their cooperation, which you have given during the last one year. Particularly I want to offer my thanks to the Master, Dr. K. Rajaratnam for his keen interest in the work of the Board and also for his guidance to me personally. Very special thanks to our Senate President, Rt. Rev. Dr. John S Sadananda; Senate Treasure, Rev. (Mrs.) Rachel Bagh; Senate Register, Rev. Dr. Ravi Tiwari and the Research and SATHRI Officiating Director, Rev. Dr. Wati Longchar for their guidance and help in carrying out my responsibility as Secretary of the Board.
Above all I want to offer our thanks to God Almighty and Christ who guided us all, His Holy Spirit in our undertaking during the Year,
Also I thank all of you hearing this report patiently.
Rev. Dr. (habil) James Massey
I took over the responsibility of Research and SATHRI as Director-in-charge on 13thApril, 2009 as Dr. Samson Prabhakar took an early retirement on health ground. Since this was an additional responsibility along with the SCEPTRE work and the two offices being distantly located in two different cities, it was practically a very challenging and difficulty responsibility. However, the duel responsibilities gave me opportunity to combine some activities of the SATHRI and SCEPTRE. Here are some of the highlights of the activities during the year 2009.
1. Seminars and Consultations:
The following academic activities were initiated and collaborated during the year:
a) The annual D.Th Methodology Seminartook place from May 4-16, 2009 at UTC, Bangalore.Of the 31 doctoral students who were registered for doctoral programme this academic year, 30 scholars (3 women and 27 men) from 6 doctoral centres attended the seminar. The seminar consisted of the following components: (a) Thesis Proposal Formulation (b) Doctoral Level Theological Research in Indian/Asian Context (c) Methodological Issues, and (c) Thesis Proposal Presentation. Evening sessions were set aside for departmental meetings. There were 14 facilitators for the Seminar. Many students expressed their satisfaction and found the sessions thought provoking and insightful for their research work. The sessions on thesis proposal presentation was found to be the most useful and productive. Many of their doubts and confusions were clarified. Besides, the seminar gave opportunity to meet fellow students from various centres. Students suggested that during the thesis proposal presentation, at least one professor from each department should be invited and more sessions may be allotted for empirical research methodology. It was also suggested that in the selection of resource persons, younger scholars, regional and gender representation be ensured.
We thank all the resource persons for their precious time and sharing their respective expertise in the fields. Thanks also to Methodist Church in Britain and ICCO & Kerk in Actie, the Netherlands for their financial support.
b) D.Th. Colloquium: Under the theme “Widening Theological and Ministerial Horizon from Disability Perspective”, the SATHRI in collaboration with NCCI and EDAN-WCC organized the annual Doctoral Colloquium -2009 from 12-14 November, 2009 at Vishranthi Nilayam, Bangalore. Participants included 43 doctoral students in the second and third year programme, and 5 faculty representatives from five doctoral centres. Altogether 7 resource persons facilitated the colloquium. This theme was chosen to create awareness and integrate disability concerns as part of their research and consequent mission work. This colloquium assumes special significance as the Senate is going to introduce a new course on disability for ministerial candidates. Therefore, it also served as a teacher’s pedagogy on this concern. The colloquium dealt with four areas relating to disabilities: (1) Forms of discrimination and exclusion in society, (2) Rereading of the Bible from Disability Perspective, (3) Theological-Ethical Reconstruction and Implications, (4) Ministerial and Missiological Implications. The proceeding of the papers will be published shortly by SATHRI. Evening hours were set aside for student-faculty meetings to discuss problems and challenges in the student’s research and further strengthening the research programme of the Senate. Rt. Rev. Dr. D.K. Sahu, Dr. K.P. Aleaz and Dr. Mohan Larbeer for facilitating the meetings.
We also thank all the resource persons for bringing new Biblical, theological and ministerial perspectives in this field. Thanks also to EDAN-WCC, Common Global Ministry for financial support, and NCCI for their active participation. We record our gratitude to EDAN-WCC for granting travel subsidy to Mr. Samuel George for his exposure trip to Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, USA.
c) Academic interactions and participations in seminars and consultations is liberating and transforming. To promote ecumenical collaboration and create opportunity for the doctoral students to interact with Catholic and Secular University scholars, we collaborated with Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies (ACCS) at Chennai in organizing the National Consultation on the theme, “Natural Resources: A Multi Religious Approach” from 14-16 October, 2009 at Chennai in which 16 of our doctoral students from five centres participated. I also had the opportunity of presenting a paper. We thank Prof. Felix Wilfred, the Founder-Director of ACCS for the initiative and hospitality and travel subsidy provided to our students. We plan to have similar joint consultation next academic year as well.
d) Research Exposure and Exchange -My dual responsibility with SATHRI and SCEPTRE enabled me to combine some of the programmes for doctoral students. To enable the doctoral students to be exposed on various global issues and sharpening their research work, we were able to organize and collaborate number of workshops and consultations with churches, ecumenical bodies and theological movements where 35 doctoral scholars were invited to take part. Some of the academic activities included the following:
* 5 doctoral students participated in the National Consultation on “Interfaith Cooperation for Peace Making” in September, 2009 at Kolkata.
* 7 doctoral students attended the CCA Ecumenical Course – 2009 in October at Kolkata.
* 15 students participated in the Sub-regional Consultation on the theme, “Religious Fundamentalism, Minorities and Interdisciplinary Education” in November at Kolkata.
* 8 doctoral students took part in the Theological Roundtable on “Churches’ Response to Human Sexuality” in December at Kolkata.
We thank the Doctoral Centres for encouraging and allowing the students to attend in those consultations.
With the generous contribution of EMW in Germany, we were able to provide single and family scholarship to 27 scholars including 8 women. Other 8 deserving students were also given bursaries for their research work. We were also able to allocate 4 scholarships, two each from the grant received from the Methodist Church in Britain and ICCO & Kerk in Actie, the Netherlands. We record our appreciation to our partners for their continued support in the academic programme of the Senate.
3. SATHRI Review Committee
The SATHRI Review Committee team consisted of Dr. Felix Wilfred, Dr. Mary John, Mr. Sanjay Patra, and Dr. H.S. Wilson met in three places (New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata) and submitted the evaluation report to the Senate for appropriate action. I am confident that the recommendations of the Review Committee will strengthen the research programme of the Senate. We thank them for their efforts and hard work.
This year we have published five books:
(a) M.M. Thomas and Dalit Theologyby Adrian Bird (pp. 324)
(b) Approaching Religion in a Pluralistic Contextby S. Robertson (pp. 210).
(c) Globalization and Women’s Subsistence Labour: A Third World Theological Perspectiveby W.S. Annie (pp. 156).
(d) Chennakesave Cult and Dalits by T. Swami Raju.
(e) Contextual Theological Bible CommentariesSeriesVol. 12,Romans 1-8 – A New Man in Jesusby M.M. Thomas.
I congratulate the authors for their outstanding scholarship and contribution. All the books are well received and widely circulated. We were able to offer number of complimentary copies to several colleges in Asia and Africa and make 30% discount to colleges, theological teachers and students through the kind support we received from our partners like Anglican Church of Canada and ICCO-Kerkinactie in the Netherlands.
a) Asia Journal of Theology:We continue to publish the AJT regularly as a joint venture of all the three theological ‘Universities/Associations’ of Asia (ATESEA & NEAATS) having about 1200 subscribers world over. We have published three issues this year.
b) SATHRI Journal:We have published two issues this academic year. The Journal publishes scholarly articles including doctoral student’s research papers for wider theological dialogue and reflection. We thank the Methodist Church in Britain for the support in the publication.
5. Academic Programme:
i) New Admissions:The following students were admitted for doctoral programme at various doctoral centres for the year 2009-10:
GURUKUL LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, CHENNAI
1. Mr. Thomas Manoj Samuel Communications
2. Rev. Bhanu Samuel Religions
3. Ms.Kaholi Zhimomi History of Christianity
4. Mr.P.Karunanidhi History of Christianity
UNITED THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, BANGALORE
1. Rev. Sunil Varakumar B. Christian Ethics
2. Rev.James George Christian Ministry – PCC
3. Rev. Hangpi Manlun Zou Communication
4. Rev. R. Lalthanmawia New Testament
5. Rev. T.B. Premjith Kumar New Testament
6. Rev. L.H. Rawsea New Testament
7. Rev. Gummalolla Soleman New Testament
1. Akani Kinimi Old Testament
2. Jerald Praveen N Old Testament
3. Babu Emmanuel New Testament
4. D. Jacob New Testament
5. Roji T. George New Testament
6. Jayasree K.B. New Testament
7. Shanbha Hayong Christian Theology
8. Tiameren Aier Christian Theology
9. Thomas P. Zacharia Christian Theology
10. T.M. Jose Christian Theology
11. Akho History of Christianity
12. C.V. Varghese History of Christianity
1. Mr. Justin Moses Religion
2. Mr. Dhanbir K. Rai Religion
3. Mr. John V. Mathew Religion
4. Rev. Esmael Murmu New Testament
5. Mr. Lima Longkumer New Testament
6. Mr. Kennedy Poumai New Testament
1. Rev. Sethe S.A. Social Analysis
1. Mr. R. Nungshilepzuk Old Testament
With these new admissions, the total number of doctoral students registered under the Senate goes 123 (96 men, 27 women) in the enrolment.
ii) Doctoral Students recommended to the Senate for the award of degree of Doctoral of Theology (D.Th):
The following are the details of the students who are recommended to the Senate for the award of Doctor of Theology degree:
(1) Rev. H.G. Mithra
Year of Registration : 2005
Doctoral Centre : SATHRI
Area of Research : Christian Ministry-Christian Edu.
Thesis Title : John Wesley’s Thought on Christian Education and Its Relevance for Today
Thesis Guide : Fr. Dr. Paul Puthanangady
(2) Rev. G. Jesudian Vijayasingh
Year of Registration : 2004
Doctoral Centre : Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai
Area of Research : Old Testament
Thesis Title : Reading Selected Texts of Jeremiah from the Margin: A Quest for a Prophetic Contextual Theology
Thesis Guide : Dr. M. Mani Chacko
(3) Rev. R. Sahayadhas
Year of Registration : 2003
Doctoral Centre : United Theological College, Bangalore
Area of Research : Theology
Thesis Title : Towards an Ecclesiology in the Contemporary Indian Context of Hindu Nationalism in Critical Interaction with Martin Luther’s Ecclesiology
Thesis Guide : Dr. O.V. Jathanna
(4) Rev. A. Temjen Jamir
Year of Registration : 2004
Doctoral Centre : United Theological College, Bangalore
Area of Research : Communication
Thesis Title : Folk Dance for the Promotion of Ecumenism in Nagaland: A Study with Special Reference to the Ao Nagas
Thesis Guide : Fr. Dr. Sebastian Periannan
(5) Rev. D. John Winslow
Year of Registration : 1999
Doctoral Centre : FFRRC, Kottayam
Area of Research : Theology
Thesis Title : A Theological Critique of the Patterns of Leadership and Administration in the Church of South India during the past Fifty Years
Thesis Guide : Dr. K.K. Koshy
(6) Rev. John Philip A
Year of Registration : 2004
Doctoral Centre : FFRRC, Kottayam
Area of Research : Theology
Thesis Title : Mystery and Meaning in the Trinitarian Understanding of Gregory of Nyassa for a Christian Theology of Religious Pluralism
Thesis Guide : Most Rev. Dr. Juhanon Mar Diascoros Metropolitan
The Viva voce for the doctoral students was conducted in two places – SATHRI, Bangalore and FFRRC, Kottayam. We express our gratitude to the FFRRC, especially to Dr. Pothen, Registrar of Research, and Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla, the Principal Mar Thoma Theological Seminary, Kottayam for the coordination and hospitality extended to examiners and students, and also for the special lunch hosted in honour of guests and D.Th scholars.
I thank Dr. Samson Prahbakar for his help in many ways during the transitional period. In spite of his ill health he was always ready to extend his help and guidance all through the year. We pray and wish him all the best and good health as he continues to serve the Lord in a different capacity. A special word of thanks to Dr. K.C. Abraham, the former Director of BTESCC & SATHRI, for his help, guidance and expertise during the D.Th Methodology Seminar and Colloquium. His guidance gave me much encouragement. Thanks to all the thesis guides and evaluators for their time and help in research programme of the Senate. We are grateful to resource persons from all over India and abroad, and to faculty members and deans/registrars of Doctoral Centres, who helped us in strengthening the Senate research programme, seminars and colloquium. Thanks also to the Research Committee, especially to Bishop Isaac Mar Philexenos Episcopa, Chairperson of Research Committee for timely advice and guidance. We express our special thanks to Rt. Rev. Dr. John S. Sadananda, the President of the Senate, Rev. Dr. Ravi Tiwari, the Registrar of the Senate, Rev. Dr. (habel) James Massey, the Secretary of the Board, for their support and encouragement. We also record our gratitude to Ms. Salomi, Ms. Margaret, and Ms. Celestine for their patience and hard work.
We record our gratitude to our invaluable Mission Partners in our theological education endeavours for their continued support. In spite of their financial constrains and many priorities, they have continued to make their resources available for our programmes. We make special mention of the contribution of the EMW in Germany, ICCO-Kerkinactie in the Netherlands, Methodist Church in Britain, Common Global Ministries (former UCC), USA, Anglican Church of Canada, EDAN-WCC and NCCI. Their continued support and partnership have been a tremendous encouragement to us.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. May God bless you all.
Research & SATHRI
It is a great hounour for me to a present summary report of another fruitful year of SCEPTRE’s ministry and developments. Last year I ended my report with an appeal note - “Join hands with us in training future ministers”. Through the kind support and cooperation of mission partners, churches, colleges/seminaries and individual’s well wishers, the SCEPTRE continues to initiate many innovative activities to strengthen ecumenical and ministerial programmes of the churches.
During the academic year, the SCEPTRE has been involved in four major activities: (a) BCS Contact Seminars (b) D.Min Colloquiums (c) Non-formal ecumenical theological initiatives, and (d) Coordinating SCEPTRE Programme Centre for various Senate and Church-related programmes. Here are some of the highlights of the activities:
A. Extension Programmes
1) B.C.S Contact Seminar:For the students who are directly registered with the Senate, we organized three regional Contact Seminarsin three different regions. To give them opportunity for wider interaction, we organized one National Seminar for the final year students combined with the regional seminar at MTSC, Chennai. The three regional seminars were organized at:
i) Madras Theological Seminary & College, Chennai from June 9-13, 2009.
ii) SCEPTRE, Kolkata from June 30 to July 4, 2009.
iii) Allahabad Bible Seminary from August 3-7, 2009 particularly for the benefit of Hindi speaking students.
Altogether 104 B.C.S students attended the seminars which were facilitated by 37 faculty members, including the SCEPTRE staff, from different colleges and seminaries facilitated the seminars.
We thank all the teachers for giving their precious time and expertise. We also express our gratitude to the principals of MTSC and ABS for giving their facilities free of cost. We look forward to your partnership even in the days to come.
We are also making serious efforts to strengthen Dip.C.S programme for the lay leaders. Rev. K. Lasuh is working voluntarily to promote Dip.C.S programme in Nagaland. The Nepal Theological Seminary in Kathmandu has expressed its interest to start the same. I hope the approval of Vijaywada Bible Seminary by the Senate as one of the Senate’s Examination Centres will strengthen Dip. S. C programme in the South.
2) D.Min Seminar and Colloquium:Currently, we have a total of 28 D.Min students in the first and second year programme who are required to attend seminars/colloquiums and fulfill other required courses. We organized four seminars/colloquiums for them.
(a) Colloquium on Issues in Ministrywas organized at SCEPTRE from 2-11 March, 2009 which was attended by all the 15 candidates. Dr. K.C. Abraham, Dr. Somen Das and SCEPTRE staff facilitated the colloquium.
(b) Orientation Seminarwas conducted at Bishop’s College from June 1-10, 2009 for 13 newly registered D.Min students. Along with Dr. Somen Das, Mr. Paul Siromoni and SCEPTRE staff, professors from Bishops’ and Serampore College helped in the orientation seminar.
(c) Research Methodology Seminarwas organized at SCEPTRE from July 18-28, 2009 for the second year students. During the seminar all the second year students were able to finalize their dissertation project proposal. Dr. Ezamo Murry, Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla, Dr. Mohan Larbeer, Dr. H.S. Wilson, Dr. K.P. Aleaz, Dr. Limatula Longkumer and SCEPTRE Staff facilitated the seminar.
(d) Foundational Colloquium was organized at SCEPTRE from September 27 to October 6, 2009 for the first year students. All 13 students attended the colloquium. Dr. Ashwathy John, Dr. Toshi Jamir, Mr. Paul Siromoni, Dr. Somen Das, Dr. V.J. John, Dr. Samuel Longkumer, and SCEPTRE staff were the resource persons.
We thank all the professors for the services they rendered towards the success of the D.Min programme. We especially thank the Principal of Bishop’s College for subsidizing the rent of the college facilities and allowing D.Min students to use the library free of cost.
B. Non-formal Ecumenical Theological Education Initiatives: The SCEPTRE continues to create platform for interfaith dialogue, ecumenical exchange lectures, symposium, consultation, workshop, and theological roundtable on contemporary life-cutting edge issues. This year we have collaborated our activities with EDAN-WCC, ETE-WCC, PTCA (Programme for Theology and Culture in Asia), CCA, NCCI, Interfaith Coalition for Peace, Compassion India, SCM-I, CISRS, Colleges/seminaries, and local churches. Through their support and cooperation, we organized the following activities during the academic year.
1) Ecumenical Exchange Lectures – For the benefit of scholars, NGOs and church workers, we were able to organize five public lectures:
a) Dr. K.C. Abraham and Dr. Molly Abraham delivered two public lectures on “Disability and Inclusive Church” at Calcutta Bible Seminary, Kolkata on 4th March, 2009 where 120 people attended, and another lecture was delivered at SCEPTRE on 5thMarch, 2009 bringing 56 people.
b) Dr. Paul Tonson from Australia delivered a lecture on the topic “Divine Mercy Extends Beyond Covenant” on 14thJuly, 2009 at Bishop’s College where 132 people participated.
c) Dr. Sathyanathan Clarke from USA delivered a lecture on “Conversion and Inter-religious Dialogue” on 17thJuly, 2009 at Bishop’s College where 119 people attended the lecture.
d) Dr. Huang Poho from Taiwan delivered a lecture on “Re-confessing Christian Faith from an Indigenous Cultural Setting in Taiwan - A Discussion on Gospel and Cultures” on 25thNovember, 2009 at Serampore College. Rev. Dr. H.G. Mitra responded to the paper. 87 people attended the lecture.
I am happy to report that 458 scholars, students, church leaders, NGOs workers were benefited from these lectures. We thank Dr. Sunil Caleb, the Principal of Bishop’s College, Dr. Lalchungnunga, the Principal, Dr. P.C. Gine, the Vice Principal of Sermapore College, Rev. Jeyakumar, the Principal of Calcutta Bible Seminary, Dr. Samuel Longkumer, the Registrar of NIIPGTS for their interest, support and cooperation.
2. To create awareness on the plight of the child labour and trafficking, one-day Symposium on Child Theology was organized with the support of Compassion East India on 10thMarch, 2009 at SCEPTRE. 26 people attended the symposium.
3. National Consultation on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace Making, which was first of its kind, was held at SCEPTRE on 2-3 September, 2009 brought together 35 people representing all faith traditions. The participants included people from ICP, Serampore College, Bishop’s College, Calcutta Bible Seminary, Muslim Fraternity of Calcutta, Bahai Mission and Sri Ramakrishna Mission. It brought the Senate and the secular universities other study centres in Kolkata closer for interfaith peace collaboration and academic programmes. The Seminar was inaugurated by the Rt. Rev. Ashok Biswas, the Bishop of CNI Diocese of Calcutta. The inaugural paper was presented by Dr. Zafar Mahmood, the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Swamy Atmapriyananda, the Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Deemed University. Besides, there were 8 papers as well as speeches by representatives of different religious affiliations. All the presentations underlined their respective contributions for the World Peace and stressed on the need for the religious groups to join together for the peace initiatives. We thank the Interfaith Coalition for Peace, especially Dr. Packiam T. Samuel for the support and cooperation. I record my gratitude to Dr. M. T. Cherian for coordinating the consultation very efficiently.
4. Pastor’s Continuing Theological Education –Under the theme “Frontier Challenges in Christian Ministry”, the SCEPTRE facilitated 3 training programmes for pastors in Nagaland:
i) Ao Baptist Pastor’s training was conducted from March 24-30, 2009 at the SCEPTRE and Serampore College (18 pastors attended the programme)
ii) Sumi Baptist Pastor’s training was organized from September 18-24, 2009 at SCEPTRE and Serampore College (15 church leaders attended the programme)
iii) Rengma Baptist Ordained Minister’s training was organized from 19-22 November, 2009 at SCEPTRE (13 church leaders attended)
Professors from Bishop’s College and Serampore College were resource persons for the programme. We thank the churches in Nagaland for shouldering the expenses of the training programme. We also record our gratefulness to all the resource persons and the Principal of Serampore College for the support and encouragement. I hope the other churches will also take advantage of this programme.
5. CCA Ecumenical Course – 2009was co-ordinated and hosted by SCEPTRE from October 18-29, 2009. This course was organized for training second-line ecumenical leaders in Asia. Altogether 28 participants from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Armenia, Nepal, Philippines, China, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia attended the course. I served as the Dean for the course. Along with the inputs from the activists and church leaders, the other resource persons included Rt. Rev. Ashok Biswas, Dr. M.T. Cherian, Dr. Somen Das and professors from Bishop’s College, Serampore College, Orthodox Theological Seminary, Eastern Theological College, and Morning Star Theological Seminary. We thank CCA, especially Dr. Hope Antone for choosing SCEPTRE for this programme.
6. The Sub-Regional Consultationon “Religious Fundamentalism, Minorities and Interdisciplinary Education” was co-hosted with the Programme for Theology and Culture in Asia (PTCA) from 25-28 November, 2009 at SCEPTRE brought 39 participants from the Senate affiliated colleges and Jodhpur and Kolkata universities. This theme was chosen keeping in mind the ongoing religious conflicts in South Asian countries to explore new ways of doing theology, inter-religious collaboration and interdisciplinary theological education and institutional cooperation with secular institutions for ensuring quality and relevant theological education in Asia. As it was an academic seminar, each paper was responded by a
respondent. Doctoral students were assigned for this task. Apart from Bible study and reflection, there were 14 papers presented during the consultation. All the 14 papers will be published in JTCA as Volume X in February this year. The resource persons were Dr. Huang Poho, Dr. Ravi Tiwari, Dr. Lalchungnung, Dr. P.C. Gine, Dr. K.P. Aleaz, Dr. Amartya Mukhopadhya, Dr. H.G. Mitra, Dr. M.T. Cherian, Dr. Prabhakar Bhattacharyya, Dr. Marina Bahera, Dr. Toshi Jamir, Dr. Limatula Longkumer and Dr. Bonita Aleaz. We thank Dr. Huang Poho, the Director of PTCA, for the support and participation.
7. Theological Roundtableon “Churches’ Response to Human Sexuality” was organized in collaboration with NCCI, SCM-I, CISRS from 5-6 December, 2009 at SCEPTRE. The 2ndJuly Delhi High Court Verdict that legalized consensual adult sex among gays created controversy among different religious communities. Some churches raised critical voice against the Verdict, especially on the role of NCCI. Therefore, this theological roundtable was organized to sensitize the church and people on the issue of human sexuality and come up with a theological, ethical and biblical perspective on human sexuality. The roundtable brought 23 participants who are engaged in different ministries in Church and Society as Bishops, Church leaders, Theological educators, Research scholars, Professional counselors, lawyers, and activists with different sexual orientations. After several brainstorming discussions and sessions on Biblical, Theological, Ministerial, Ecclesiastical and Legal perspectives, the participants decided to send a message on Human Sexuality to all Christian communities in India in general, and to the NCCI member churches, regional councils, theological institutions, Christian organizations, and our ecumenical partners in particular (see the message in file). The message has been well received and it has clarified many confusion and misconceptions. We thank the CISRS for publishing the papers of the roundtable.
C. The SCEPTRE Programme Centre:
1) SCEPTRE facilities:In spite of limited space and facilities, our Centre is increasingly used by churches and church-based NGOs. We had the privilege of hosting 29 meetings, lectures, consultations during the year. The following facilities were added at the Centre during the last academic year.
a) ATLA Online Journal -With the support of ETE-WCC, we have installed ATLA Religion and Philosophy consortium online journal. It was inaugurated by Dr. Paul Tonson on 14thJuly at Bishop’s College. To strengthen research programme, we have extended the ATLA connection to Bishop’s College, Serampore College and Calcutta Bible Seminary. Special thanks to Dr. Dietrich Werner for enabling us to avail this online. Now we are able to access more than 500 online journals. I am happy to mention that we have negotiated with the EBSCO management, and the company is willing to offer consortium special price of USD 1500 per year, if there is a minimum of 15 sites subscription from the Senate affiliated colleges (normal single subscription site price is USD 2,800 per year). I hope colleges will avail this facility.
b) We have received 3 additional computers (2 desktop and a laptop) as gift from churches and D.Min students for office and library use (for ATLA). Thanks to Tura Baptist Church, Meghalaya and all the well wishers.
c) We have purchased a LCD projector. Thanks to Baptist Church of Mizoram
d) We have purchased a new Xerox machine. Thanks to Ao Baptist Churches’ Association, Nagaland.
e) We have improved the Dining Hall facility by adding new tables and chairs. Thanks to Mrs. Sarkar for the donation.
f) We have added additional AC and acquired more than 200 books and 7 journals in our library.
D. D.Min Scholarship for Women:
I am delighted to inform you that the Christian Education Fund of Kassel, Germany, has kindly made a substantial grant for D.Min scholarship for women. We will start providing scholarship to deserving candidates when we start our next academic session this year. Thanks to Rev. Eberhard Will for this initiative and support.
E. Promotional Engagements
We are grateful to the Senate for allowing me and Dr. M.T. Cherian, Asso. Dean to be involved in academic and church related programmes which gave us an opportunity to promote SCEPTRE and Senate programmes. Apart from teaching involvement in M.Th programme of NIIPGTS, Dr. M.T. Cherian and I were involved in the following activities:
Apart from taking care of various meetings and conferences at SCEPTRE Programme Centre, Dr. M.T. Cherian took care of the three B.C.S contact seminars and helped in D.Min programme as resource person. He also coordinated and facilitated the Pastor’s Continuing Theological Education Programme and Interfaith Peace Consultation. He was invited to present a paper on “Mission and Conversion” at Bishop’s College during the Alumni Association of Bishop’s College. Dr. Cherian also delivered keynote address and led Bible study sessions during the second NCCI-Theological Conversation at SCEPTRE. During the CCA – Asia Ecumenical Course, the Sub-regional Consultation of PTCA, and Theological Roundtable meetings, Dr. Cherian served as resource person. He has contributed 5 articles including 2 articles in Malayalam in reputed journals.
I had the opportunity of involving in the following programmes:
* Presented two papers during the seminar on “Christ & Culture: Christ Through Culture” from 15-20 Feb, 2009 at Ballina, Australia.
* Spoke during the Ao Theological Association 50thJubilee Celebration on May 25, 2009 at Impur, Nagaland.
* Presented a paper during the CWM consultation on “Engendering Theology from Dalit and Tribal Perspectives” from 10-14 March, 2009 at Vizag.
* Facilitated the Ecumenical Enabler’s training programme from 16-20 March, 2009 at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
* Facilitated the second Ecumenical Enabler’s training programme from 5-11 April, 2009 at Kathmandu, Nepal.
* Presented a paper during the Pre-Edinburgh Centenary celebration consultation from 17-19 July, 2009 at UTC, Bangalore.
* Delivered Convocation address at Salliman University at the Philippines on 8thSeptember, 2009.
* Presented a paper during the national consultation on “Natural Resources: A Multi Religious Approach” from 13-16 September, 2009 at Chennai.
* Participated as one of the panelists during AAR Annual Meeting on 9thNov. 2009 at Montreal, Canada.
* Delivered keynote address during the third NCCI-Theological Conversation on 14thDecember, 2009 at Nagpur.
I would like to end this report with a word of appreciation to all the churches, colleges/seminaries and partners for their continued support and partnership. My special thanks goes to the EDAN-WCC for disability programme; ETE-WCC for ATLA connection; Christian Education Fund, Germany for D.Min scholarship for women; CCA for hosting Asia Ecumenical Course-2009; PTCA for co-hosting interreligious ecumenical education programme; ICP for supporting interfaith programme; ABAM, Nagaland and BCM, Mizoram for their financial contribution; NCCI, SCMI, CISRS, Colleges/seminaries, Churches, and all the well wishers for their generous contribution and cooperation. Without their active and generous support and partnership we would have not carried out the above activities. May God bless you all.
My thanks also goes to Rt. Rev. Dr. John S. Sadananda, the President of the Senate, Rev. Dr. Ravi Tiwari, the Registrar of the Senate, the D. Min and Extension Committee members for their continued guidance and encouragement all through the year. Last, but not the least, I express my sincere gratitude to my colleague Dr T.M. Cherian and all the staff of SCEPTRE for efficiently and diligently discharging their duties all through the year.
1: The Reverend Edward Holman Bentley Williams
I present to you, the Reverend Edward Holman Bentley Williams, upon whom, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Master and the Council of Serampore College have resolved to confer the Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his services to the Church and society.
Edward Holman Bentley Williams was born in 1932. He was one of the four children of a fine Christian family of Dr & Mrs. Victor & Janie Williams. His initials derive from his mother’s father Holman Bentley, who was a pioneer Baptist missionary in the Congo. Edward studied at Oxford University, first studying Physics (1stclass Hons) at St. Edmund Hall, and then Theology at Regent’s Park College. He was an industrial physicist for three years in order to gain wider experience, and then he, with his wife Rosemary, offered for service with the Baptist Missionary Society. In spite of partial deafness he was accepted, not for Congo where he wanted to go but for India, where his double qualification matched Serampore College’s unique combination of Arts, Science and Theology.
Edward taught in the Physics Department at Serampore College from 1959–1969, and then as Minister of Spart-brook Baptist Church in inner-city Birmingham from 1969-1985. His final pastorate was in the small town of Alcester just outside Birmingham from 1985-1997, after which he retired to Malvern, Worcestershire.
During his ministry as a minister of a Baptist Church in inner-city Birmingham for sixteen year he encountered Muslims and came to respect some of them deeply and formed some lasting friendships. Later a Muslim-Christian summer school at Selly Oak provided some striking object lessons in interfaith attitudes. Kenneth Cragg has a lasting influence upon Rev. Williams. While ministering in his pastorate, his main other-faith contacts were with Muslims, with whom deep friendships developed, including with the local imam. He helped to form a monthly Muslim-Christian forum, which still continues there after 30 years. He is a founder member of the Joppa Group, an interest group on inter-faith relations within the Baptist Union of Great Britain which aimed to hold together Baptist traditions of respect for religious freedom and conviction and our obligation to proclaim the Gospel. He was an instrument in the publication, through the Joppa Group, “A Baptist perspective on Interfaith Dialogue’ in 1991. Edward served as Secretary of Joppa from 1985-1999 and Editor of the Joppa Journal from 1999-2009. Many within the group acknowledge the goodness and loveliness of many who follow other ways, but refuse to solve the dilemma by denying one side or other of the equation. From the story of Science itself he realized that he had the privilege of seeing through telescope and microscope wonders that Isaac Newton never saw, and would have given anything to see – but yet he was a far greater scientist than he was. In the same way, we can still have the highest respect for those with whom we seek to share Christ. Two of his convictions remain the foundation of his relation with the people of other faiths: one is that you do not magnify Christ by belittling others and another, that the effectiveness of Christ’s redeeming work is not limited only to those who know him. In both his church areas he was a moving spirit in developing ecumenical relationships, which also still continue – and which seemed natural after his experience of Serampore! From his colleagues in Serampore, Edward first learnt his deep respect for those of other faiths. He is happy to accept being described as “bridge-builder” – between Christian denominations, between faiths, and also still between science and Christian faith.
He has been a bridge is between Serampore College and its supporters, mainly in the UK, and has been in touch with friends in India. He and his wife, Rosemary, have been Secretaries of “Friends of Serampore”! They have extended the membership, developed a twice-yearly newsletter and a website, and helped the College through raising financial resources.
The Senate and the Council of Serampore College heartily welcome The Reverend Edward Holman Bentley Williams among the honored and distinguished fellowship of the graduates of the College. Honoring him, we are also expressing our gratitude to the Baptist Missionary Society, the institution Carey himself founded.
I present to you Sir, the Reverend Edward Holman Bentley Williams, for the distinction of the Degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Citation - 2: His Grace Archbishop A. M. Chinnppa
I present to you, His Grace Archbishop A. M. Chinnppa upon whom, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Master and the Council of Serampore College have resolved to confer the Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his services to the Church and society.
Born on 23rdof July 1937 to devout Christian parents, Thiru Malayappan and Tirumathi Ubagara Mary, His Grace Archbishop Chinnppa after completing his primary education at Ayandur, Mugaiyur, went to St. Gabriel’s at Chennai and Don Bosco School at Vellore for High School studies.He received his B A degree in Tamil literature and M A in English Literature from Sri Venkateswara University, Master of Theology in Spirituality from the Salesian Pontifical University, Rome and earned his doctorate from the University of Madras.Added to these academic qualifications are the professional degrees: Secondary Grade Teacher Training Certificate from R C., Tindivanam and B Ed degree from Ranchi University.
Most Rev. Dr. Chinnappa joined the Salesian Congregation in 1964, received his priestly ordination in 1972 at St. Francis Xavier’s in Chennai and moved on to the Episcopacy in 1994. From the day of his consecration as the Bishop of Vellore in January 1994 till May 2005, Rt. Rev. Dr. Chinnappa led the Diocese on new paths and to new heights in its work and witness.In recognition of his spiritual dynamism, social activism and administrative capabilities, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore on April 1, 2005, of which His Grace assumed charge on May 22, 2005.
In his ecclesial responsibilities, Most Rev. Chinnappa held several positions as Parish Priest and Rector, at Permabur, K Pudur, and Madurai; Headmaster of Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, Vardarajnpet; Chairman of the SC/ST/BC Commission of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, and Chairman of the Tamilnadu Bishops’ Council from 1994 to 2005. Internationally, nationally, regionally and ecclesiastically, His Grace is also the Salesian Co-operators’ Delegate Spokesperson for the marginalised, especially Dalits.
Archbishop Chinnappa is popular as Peoples’ Bishop, easily approachable, kind at heart, sympathetic at outlook and compassionate in his view and way of life.He considers himself as one among the suffering masses and spends his time, resources and energies for the alleviation of their pain and suffering.His Grace is truly ecumenical in word and deed as he is at home with every professing and practicing Christian group as well as with those governmental and non-governmental secular organisations who toil and struggle for the liberation and empowerment of the marginalised.
His Grace is an accomplished musician who is an expert vocalist in Karnatic, Hindustani and Western streams and plays instruments such as Harmonium, Tabla, Guitar, Accordion and Piano, as well as a versatile play writer and actor with a deep consciousness of the welfare of the people.
To such a distinguished leader of the Church and the society, who with wide-open arms is always willing to embrace every soul in need, and to an ecumenist and humanist who walks an extra mile to build bridges of unity and harmony both in the Church and the society, in recognition of his exemplary inter-denominational and ecumenical leadership reflecting through the vision and witness of his very life, the message of sacrificial and selfless love of Jesus Christ, the Senate and the Council of Serampore College heartily welcome His Grace Archbishop Chinnppa, among the honored and distinguished fellowship of graduates of the College.
I present to you, Sir, His Grace Archbishop A. M. Chinnppa for the distinction of the Degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Citation - 3: The Reverend Lalchhuanliana
I present to you, the Reverend Lalchhuanliana, upon whom, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Master and the Council of Serampore College have resolved to confer theDegree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa)in recognition of his services to the Church and society.
Rev. Lalchhuanliana was born on 20thAugust 1939 in Champhai, East Mizoram. His father, Rev. Chhawnvunga was a pastor in the Mizoram Presbyterian Church and his mother, Mrs. Hauzingi was a woman of prayer, deeply committed to guide all her children in the Christian faith. Following his school education in Mizoram, he secured the B.A. (Hons.) degree from Guwahati University in1964, the B.D. degree and the M.Th. (History of Christianity) degree from Senate of Serampore College in 1970 and 1973 respectively. From 1970 he was appointed as lecturer in Aizawl Theological College. Besides teaching, he served the college in different capacities: Editor of Didakhe (the first Mizo theological journal), Director of the Mobile Theological School, Warden of the College Hostel, Registrar (1977-1980), and finally Principal of the College (1981-1986). By virtue of his position as Principal, he also served as Secretary of the Mizoram Synod Theological Education Board, and member of the Presbyterian Church of India Assembly Theological Education Committee. While at the college he brought out four books in Mizo. He thus made an edifying all-round contribution to the college during its first fifteen years as a B.Th. institution.
Rev. Lalchhuanliana also made substantial contribution to the Church. On fulfilling his four-year term from 1974 as a Probationary Pastor, he was ordained in December 1977. For two years, 1980 and 1981, he served as Mizoram Synod Secretary and then as Moderator for the 1983 calendar year. After three years of pastoral ministry (including being the Leader of the Central Christian Youth Fellowship of the Synod during 1986-1988), he was made Executive Secretary of the Mizoram Synod from 1989 to1991 and then Senior Executive Secretary from 1992-1994. During these six years the Church made significant progress in all departments, particularly in the Theological Education, Social Front and Finance Departments. He was instrumental in establishing the Synod Rescue Home at the present site for the care and rehabilitation of the alcoholics and drug addicts.
Being a prominent Church leader, Rev. Lalchhuanliana served as member of the Synod Executive Committee and other various important committees of the Synod for several terms and even now continues to do so. He again served as a pastor from 1995 to 1999. He also wrote more than 20 theological books and several articles in Mizo for the benefit of the Church. He even made important contributions to the Presbyterian Church of India General Assembly serving as member of the Executive Committee for three terms including the position of Moderator during 1996-1998. During his moderator-ship, the PCI Secretariat Building was constructed in Shillong and two new synods were created in the Assembly.
As an ecumenical figure, Rev. Lalchhuanliana was actively associated with the North East India Christian Council from 1984 to 1994, serving on its Theological Education and Executive Committees, including being Vice President and President of the NEICC. He has served on several committees of the Board and Senate of Serampore College, of the Bible Society of India at Aizawl Auxiliary and Central levels, of CASA in Mizoram, and of other institutions and organizations, even after retirement. He has also participated, on different occasions, in the programmes of the WARC, WCC, and CWM.
The Senate and the Council of Serampore College heartily welcome Rev. Lalchhuanliana among the honored and distinguished fellowship of the graduates of the College.
I present to you Sir, the Reverend Lalchhuanliana, for the distinction of the Degree of Doctor of Divinity.
Citation - 4: The Reverend Eberhard Will
I present to you, the Reverend Eberhard Will, upon whom, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Master and the Council of Serampore College have resolved to confer the Degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his services to the Church and Society.
Rev. Eberhard Will was born on 15.11.1955 at Siegen, Germany. After his theological education at the University of Marburg and his second church exam from 1975 to 1982, he was ordained as Pastor in the Evangelische Kirche, Kurhessen-Waldeck. He is married to Karin Elisabeth Will, nee Hott and they have two daughters: Myriam Christin and Sara Sophie.
In addition, to his pastoral responsibilities in different congregations in the church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, he has been involved at various levels in the administration of the church, which has its headquarters in Kassel. Since 1986 till the present he is responsible for developing model courses for confirmation classes which are approved by Evangelische Kirche, Kurhessen-Waldeck, Germany. Since 1995, he is the General Secretary Board of the Christian Education Fund. Through this experience, he is able to relate to young people and has been instrumental in shaping the lives and careers of countless young Asians and Africans. He is a trusted partner of churches in Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Cameroon, where the Ausbildungshilfe or Christian Education Fund is actively involved in bringing about transformation in youth. Since 1995 he holds the position of Head of the Department for Mission and Ecumenical Relations, Evangelische Kirche, Kurhessen-Waldeck, Germany.
Rev. Eberhard Will has vast ecumenical experience both nationally and internationally. He has held and still holds various important positions in his church in Kurhessen-Waldeck as well as in the country. Nationally, he has been General Secretary, Christian Council of North-Hesse from 1995 July to 2007 Oct. For a long decade, he has been Deputy Director of the Board of Church Services. Since 1995 he is Member of the Synod of the Evangelische Missionswerk Suedwestdeutschland (EMS), the Association of Churches and Missions in South west Germany. From 1997 to 2003 he held the position of Vice Chair of the EMS synod. On the international front he has been Vice Chairperson of the EMS Mission Council from 2003 to 2005. In 2005 he became Chairperson, a position he holds till date. Since 2007 he has been serving as Honorary Chaplain at a hospital for Parkinson’s patients in Kassel, a service he renders with great sensitivity and courage which stems from his own personal experience. Being afflicted with a similar neurodegenerative condition called multiple sclerosis, he is a compassionate companion and sets an example of courage and determination to get on with life despite limitations and hindrances.
His association with India, Indian churches and Indian church organizations goes a long way back to the year 1987. During this period he has successfully conducted two evaluation processes of the programmes of the Ausbildungshilfe or Christian Education Fund in India in 1996 and 2006. The Ausbildungshilfe or Christian Education Fund provides scholarships for theological education to underprivileged students in Theological Colleges in India. Through these associations, with the dioceses as well as with the theological colleges, he has made valuable contributions to the cause of theological education in India and has not only demonstrated a keen cultural sensitivity in understanding the problems of the partners, but has also stood by them in times of crises. He participated in the evaluation of the theological education offered under Senate of Serampore which was held in 1998. He has also participated in various Senate consultations held in Kolkata, Hamburg and Chennai regarding appropriate relations of German partners towards theological education in India. Rev. Eberhard Will has been instrumental not only in inspiring others to visit India, but in bringing many groups of pastors, lay persons and office bearers to India for a meaningful discourse between partners, for first hand exposure to varied multi-religious contexts and to conscientize Germans Churches on issues that are Indian. In doing so, he is a cultural ambassador for India in his country and has been called upon on countless occasions to speak of his experiences in India. He does this with a deep sense of understanding of, and respect for the ethos and pathos of the Indian cultural heritage. He has great respect for India’s rich religious heritage and its plurality of cultures and religions, languages and traditions.
The Senate and the Council of Serampore College heartily welcome The Reverend Eberhard Will among the honored and distinguished fellowship of the graduates of the College.
I present to you Sir, the Reverend Eberhard Will, for the distinction of the Degree of Doctor of Divinity.
D.D. (Honoris Causa)105
D.Th. (By thesis) 140
D.D. (By thesis) 1