World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Asian Forum on Theological Education (AFTE)

Responding to the need of working together in training future church leaders, the Ecumenical Theological Education of the World Council of Churches (ETE-WCC) in cooperation with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), 15 representatives from regional and national theological associations, networks and partner organizations for theological education in Asia met at Trinity Theological College, Singapore on the Pentecost-weekend from 10-11, June, 2011.

01 January 1970

Communiqué

Responding to the need of working together in training future church leaders, the Ecumenical Theological Education of the World Council of Churches (ETE-WCC) in cooperation with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), 15 representatives from regional and national theological associations, networks and partner organizations for theological education in Asia met at Trinity Theological College, Singapore on the Pentecost-weekend from 10-11, June, 2011.  

Affirming that the Spirit of Pentecost is symbol of courage and greater solidarity transcending boundaries of nations, denominations and cultural differences, the participants decided to strengthen common witness to Christ in engaging for theological education in Asia together. They recognized the need:

- for more cooperation among theological educators in training future church leaders; 

- for more mutual learning through exchange of theological resources between the different regions within Asia;

- for more dialogue between the different denominational and theological traditions;

- for more mutual solidarity support mechanism and network for emerging churches in  Asia.

Participants affirmed:

- that there is a need for a common platform for all associations of theological schools and networks for theological education in Asia;

- that there is a need for greater solidarity between different churches transcending stereotyped views of each other as ‘ecumenicals, ‘evangelicals’ or ‘charismatics’ in witnessing to Christ in today’s world; 

- that theological education is the back-bone  of authentic Christians witness in Asia;

- that there are many resources in terms of expertise, innovative curriculum models and contextual theological resources which can be shared between the different associations of theological schools in Asia;

- that there is much effort to be made in encouraging young scholars to do theology using Asian resources in Asian context; 

- that holistic emphasis in theological education should be an integral element in all dimensions of theological education in Asia which needs to be strengthened through theological movements and programmes.

Participants agreed that AFTE should be constituted inviting:

- the representatives of all national and regional associations of theological schools, networks and movements of theological education in Asia;

- the representatives of partners organizations for theological education in  Asia; and

- the representatives from the Asian Diaspora community.

To carry further the decision of the first meeting of the AFTE, the participants decided to form AFTE Task Group representing major theological associations and partners in theological education and entrusted to explore the followings:

- Organize a further meeting of AFTE in conjunction to a major event of a member organization with a focus on a particular theme for the year 2012;

- Share the decisions of  Singapore meeting with partners in theological education and explore the resources in partnership with ETE-WCC for the next meeting;

- Prepare a working guideline for AFTE to be adopted in the next meeting;

- Prepare a Vision and Mission Statement of the AFTE to be adopted in the next meeting;

- Facilitate the exchange of theological library resources and journals through the Global Digital Library for Theology;

The following persons were requested to act as AFTE Task Group until the next meeting: Dr Huang Po Ho (Convener), Dr Limuel Equina, Dr Alex Fuentes, Dr Jung Sook Lee, Dr Wati Longchar. 

The following persons are requested to act as consultants:  Dr Dietrich Werner, Dr H.S. Wilson and the Executive Secretary of FMU-CCA.

Gratitude:

The participants expressed deep appreciation to the World Council of Churches (ETE), Foundation of Theological Education in South East Asia (FTE), to EMW (Germany) and all partners in theological education for their continued support, encouragement and partnership in training church leaders in Asia. We record our special gratitude to WCC-ETE for the logistic support and making resources available for the exploratory meeting which took place in July 2010 at BIT, Bangkok and the organization of the first AFTE meeting at TTC, Singapore. We also thank CCA for the encouragement and support in launching this initiative.  Thanks also to TTC Singapore community for the kind hospitality and hosting of this historic event.

Participants of this first AFTE meeting came from the following associations and networks of theological education: SSC (SCEPTRE), ATESEA, PTCA, PERSETIA, APTA, ATA, KAATS, FTE, WCC-ETE, ATEM, MATS, PATS, BIT Thailand, Vietnamese Christian Mission (or VTC California).