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Report of the Association of Theological Institutions of East Africa (ATIEA) Consultation 2010

ATIEA-AACC CONSULTATION OCT. 17-18 2010 The consultation was launched with the help of the AACC administration, specifically, the general secretary Rev Karamaga and the coordinator of theology desk Rev Dr. Dossou.

17 November 2010



The consultation was launched with the help of the AACC administration, specifically, the general secretary Rev Karamaga and the coordinator of theology desk Rev Dr. Dossou. The generous moderate funding supported twenty four (24) participants. The representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan attended the two days consultation.

The invited speakers included the ‘Elders’ of ATIEA namely Prof. Jesse Mugambi, Prof. Nthamburi and Prof. Waruta. While Prof. Waruta submitted an apology, the other two honoured the consultation.

Day I: 7th October

Session I:

DEVOTION: Prof. Mugambi

FOCUS TOPIC:  ‘Giving an account of the hope within us’

TEXT: 1PETER 3:13-22

In his key note address, Prof. Jesse Mugambi challenged ATIEA to a critical theme titled ‘Giving Account of the Hope that is within us’. Prof. Mugambi turned to book of   I Peter 3: 13-22. Taking the participants through three sub themes namely Faith, Hope and Love. He raised the challenge of performance by the individual as well as organizations including Christian Associations like ATIEA. The challenge is that Associations have made a contract with society and performance is not a choice. Rather, it is mandatory.

The emphasis that “Always be ready to suffer for doing good” reflects trilogy i.e. Faith, Hope and Love

  • Heb. Faith
  • Rom. Hope
  • 1Cor. Love

The fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25) are reflected as a challenge to give an account.  An account is not finalized until it is audited in the following levels:

  • Auditing ourselves - Associations have to develop mechanisms to audit themselves.
  • Audited by the churches- Associations have to help the Church be the Church.
  • Audited by the society- Associations have to qualify their reason to be.
  • Denominations audit us- Associations have to reverse the negativity of denominations in history.
  • Ecumenism audits us- National organizations have not advanced ecumenism to the extent it can be. Thus, associations must extend and deepen ecumenical education.
  • Audited by our peers- associations have to recapture the linkages and networking in order to audit each other towards better performance.
  • God audits us- in all the above, associations should be aware that God is auditing progress and justification. Philippians 4:8-9 serve as criteria for the theological audit.  This goes together with Desmond Tutu’s once said comment that, “When conflict arise do not raise your voices or your feast but improve your argument”

Session II:

Greetings from the AACC General Secretary Rev Karamaga

In his greeting the consultation, Rev Karamaga brought out the issue of ‘Global objectives’ of the consultation. He emphasized:

  • The power of local theology- theology emergent from peoples experience.
  • The need of proper theology- to be developed by the associations in all the regions.
  • Diminishing rights to Christian missions in some parts of Africa as a concern
  • There is need for interfaith dialogue:
    • It is vital in managing conflict-
    • Finding ecclesiological challenge-
    • The need to re-visit the Bible on related issues-
    • Need to create space to facilitate publications, doing theology differently etc.
    • The threat of proliferation of denominations in whose question is power. An experience to learn from is the emergent and proliferation of new sects propagating the powers of their leaders over evil spirits and powers. This seems to lead the church towards faulty theologies. Guidance is needed today.

    His final point was existence of the Gospel in the midst of poverty. Rev Karamaga pointed out that there is misery when Christianity is helpless under the humbling causes of poverty. The question is how can Christianity co-exist with poverty and wrong teachings i.e. bad theology that kills the faith?

    Responses made by Professor Mugambi

    • Demographic center of Christianity has been shifting.  The question can be asked, “what do tourist and Moslems see as they visit?”  It is dancing and singing that portrays the work of Japanese and Chinese whose ready made beats and music are dominating.
    • There is a definite need to expand knowledge as we also publish and effect consumption.

    Session III:

    History of ATIEA-  sharing of dreams and working together

    By Prof. Nthamburi

    The main aim of the address by Prof. Zablon Nthamburi was to identify whether ATIEA has achieved its goals. These goals were:

    • Theological education- has a long history and need to know where we are coming from and where we are going.
    • Theological education in Africa was started by individual churches and institutions whose purpose was to train pastors but was not in a formal discipline (TEE approach).

    Formalize theological education in 1960s and as a result colleges like Makumira in Tanzania, Bishop Tucker in Uganda, and St Paul’s in Kenya were started.

    • Diploma in Theology was introduced following the negotiations with universities.
    • Makerere started offering Diploma of Theology.  Later Degree program was begun during the time of Tom Tuma who escaped the Idd Amin’s political and administrative threats
    • This led to the introduction of Association of Theological Institutions in East Africa (ATIEA and an umbrella body (CATI). A consultation held in Indonesia in 1987 and came up with a world umbrella body– World Conference of Theological Institutions(WOCOTI).
    • The Association began collaboration with Makerere, Nairobi and Kenyatta university took place (1982) which also incorporated many institutions from Catholics to become more ecumenical.
    • The aim wast equipping libraries, training of trainers.

    Prof. Nthamburi identified hazards of growth affecting almost all the  theological associations in Africa :

    • Ecumenical attachment grew weaker-
    • Spirit of competition-
    • Decreased regional cooperation-
    • Un-linked library services-

    He suggested a way forward:

    • Need to come up with strong journals in which students and lecturers in theological colleges and Universities share ideas and network.
    • Encourage publication of student’s work-
    • Self supporting of our Association. In other words, fundraising ideas need to be developed to enhance independence of the associations.
    • Cultivation of ecumenical spirit in which linkages and net working will forster mutual empowerment.
    • Strengthening theological training in schools-

    Strategic approaches;

    • Overcoming past failures and apathy by emphasizing achievements.
    • Transforming the Association to serve the member institutions and Universities.
    • Marketability of programs- transform consumer syndrome to creative productivity. Encourage youth to train for ministries and church services
    • Going back to our drawing board to identify new vision and mission.

    Session IV: Challenges of Theological Education

    By  Rev Dr. Ngumi ( G, S ATIEA)

    Dr Ngumi raised the question of Methodology. By methodology, Dr  Ngumi proposed that we re-examine ‘ Interpretation and Contextualization’. There has been serious challengs on theological education:

    -        How it was represented?

    -        How we carried it out?

    -        Our own application-

    -        The change and its management-

    Dr Ngumi suggested that doing theology in Afric has not improved or advanced the role of the Church in society.The question is, what kind of theology  has been propagated? What changes are needed for appropriated theological education today?  Dr Ngumi noted that:

    -        Clerg need further training in order to help them contextualize their ministries.

    -        Need for change which commensurate to emerging University level of education in all aspects, including theology.

    The  growth of theological colleges into private Universities has raised serious. challenges:

    Ø               comes with the fear of the unknown. Emotional feelings of loss when the changes take over.

    Ø     Uncertainty of how do we cope?

    Ø     Accept change-

    Ø     Start coping with theological issues-

    Ø     Studying and learning the issues we have to deal with and learn to cope-

    Ø     Transform ourselves (ATIEA) to become meaningful-

    Ø     Christian education courses to be theology oriented-

    Ø     Improving the standard commensurate to University.

    Towards the above, further questions need to be asked and responded to:

  1. How to promote Christian fellowship?
  2. How do we do the training?
  3. How do we foster theology curriculum?
  4. How can we have a constructive critiquing?
  5. How can we find a way of revitalizing activities?


Session V:


By  Rev. Dr Simon Dossou- ( Theology desk  AACC

Dr Dossou  addressed the consultation on an emerging possibility digital library that is being developed with the aim of Collaboration with the institution  like  ATIEA.  He raised the advantages of Globtheo as:

Opportunities for lecturers to send their ideas on the website for sharing

Ø     Allowing ecumenical dialogue-

Ø     An encouragement to carry out researches-

Ø     Evolution of pastoral training-

Note: On 28th October – 29th Globethics workshop will be conducted at AACC



Three Leading Questions:

  1. How do the Institutions engage in creating theological forum?
  2. How can ATIEA transform its present form in order to serve?
  3. Suggest ways of ATIEA impacting the emerging universities


  • Activities and services: Theological training and outreach programs, exchange programs
  • Faculty developments
  • Research and publication
  • Facilitation of resources for institutions

ATIEA impacting on emerging universities:

  • Dialogue between ATIEA and the universities
  • Researches
  • Publications
  • Links with universities outside AACC
  • Creating an opportunity to engage together
  • Need for ATIEA’s home i.e. permanent office


Answers bases on question 1

  • Send information linkage to institutions to share their information o opportunities and resources
  • Theological exchange; semi published
  • Pedagogical resources exchange; semi published
  • Curriculum exposures and exchange
  • Annual academic styles meeting
  • Connect to A& R ACE


Answered bases on question 2.

  • Enhance communication system(s), e.g electronic web presence
  • Develop in natural responses to activities
  • Putting history and let it go out but also let it go
  • Registration and annual fees
  • Practical
  • Follow recommendations through
  • Investing
  • Christian ethics, or BTh with Education.
  • Christian world-views

Answers based on question 3

  • Relearning for colleges from universities
  • Consultancy about curricular reach and possibilities
  • Create a means of connecting with independent or retired theologians
  • Job center for finding applicants
  • Scholarships for top advanced students
  • Presentations in a setting where students can hear



Answers based on question 1

  • Symposiums
  • Seminars
  • Conferences
  • Intercollegiate curriculum development and review
  • Faculty exchange programs


Answers based on question 2.

  • Need for permanent secretariat staff & well defined and clear organizational structure put in place
  • Well established funding and budgetary systems
  • Web page for ATIEA to be launched for publicity
  • Create means and ways to sensitize ownership and obligatory responsibilities
  • Explore and execute the functions of decisions and resolutions reached

Answers based on question.

  • Improve theological curriculum development based on socio-economic demands e.g. courses that deals with Theology and Development, and Theology of Development
  • Scholarships to special students based on academic discipline
  • Emphasize or streamlining theology related courses as CORE subjects

Day  2: October 8th 2010



A thought had once been raised by John Stott that reads as paraphrased, “As blood is to the living organism, theology is to the Christians (Church). This can as well be put or said, “When things go wrong in the church, they all begin in the seminaries”

What should be the best understanding?

  • We are important in the life of the church
  • We are important in the theological ministry
  • We have the potential either to cause progress or failure in the church

The emphasis (vv. 6)

  • Pay close attention to your life and the teaching
  • Watch your life as you teach
  • We are dealing with those who are distorting the teaching who are among us
  • Train in godliness
  • Seek things that have to do with conduct and purity

The results of paying attention

  • You will do good to your own life and to the kingdom of God
  • You will do good to those who hunger in and for God

Application to our theological education

  • We should watch what and how we teach
  • We must be of blameless nature
  • We must be one of purity nature
  • We should not do things we know they are not fit
  • We must learn to be an example

Our immediate prayer

  • That God helps us to be ministers in our own conduct of life
  • That God gives us the spirit of prayer
  • That God makes us models to our students
  • That God helps us to pay close attention to what we teach theologically
  • That God helps us to impact our students through our conducts and what we communicate to students in deeds and in words

Actions to take

·       Deal with issues of purity

·       That we deal with issues of good conduct

·       That we deal with issues of biblical doctrine

·       To take caution that we do not compromise and distort the word of truth by getting the right literatures and interpret rightly

·       Play a role of critical link between God and his people

·       Prepare the right materials for publication

Session VI


In his presentation, Dr Dossou  reported that Mr Samuel Kabue who heads EDAN was unable to come for the consultation. However, he affirmed that:

  • Sam Kabue, who has the skills on helping how to work with the people living with disability, in collaboration with the WCC is willing to help Theological Institutes to consider adapting a curriculum in order to teach students who are preparing to work with people living with disabilities.
  • That the churches should identify the people living with disability in their place of service
  • That the rationale has been the fact that people living with disability do not normally get opportunity to join schools based on their status.  Some do not go to churches in fear of what sometimes is being preached

Dr. Dossou suggested that:

·       ATIEA should  consider the issue bearing in mind that there are many people with disabilities.

·       It should identify and challenge theological institutions to take up the initiatives

·       There is need to prepare a curriculum to be used in our Institutions

·       ATIEA to collaborate with churches to execute the awareness

·       The focus was the need thus to come up with a proposed resolution to be submitted to other bodies like the WCC

The  panel made a resolution that theological institutions should plan, prepare, and develop a curriculum under the auspice of  ATIEA to be submitted to Edan that will suit theological education to train trainers of people living with disability.


In order to facilitate this assignment the panel members made the following suggestions;

  • Reconciliation of the document of the 2009 proposals and the results of the concerns that were raised by the group discussions during the 2010 consultations
  • Launching of the website.  Member institutions to send their contacts
  • Activation of ATIEA ownership

Points on Board

·       Theological schools to be open one to another for the facilitation of support that one school should not suffer alone

·       ATIEA should strongly be revitalized to be able to facilitate capacity building to member institutions and churches

·       The ministerial (fund-focused) rhythm has changed and this change calls for our current ministerial dance to also change

Research and Publications

Based on the need at hand

  • Members are to send manuscripts to the ATIEA in preparation for the possibilities of publishing them
  • Find out the existing state of those journals that have previously been in print like “Africa Theological Journal” by Makumira
  • Need to explore on the need within which theology circles and collaborative researches can be reconsidered
  • Electronic quarterly News Letters to be prepared, printed and distributed


It was passed that the executive team to continue taking the initiatives to get all the possible preparations on board.  Host country member to consult and communicate the required budget.

It was also passed that since Africa is still being faced with the whole issue of ethnical challenges, it was agreed that the theme should be: African Theological Response to Ethnicity


  • Need for jointly developed curriculum
  • ATIEA’s possibility of becoming an academic accrediting body
  • There is the whole issue of a forum to contemplate on what is to be the contents of the joint curriculum
  • To centralize this need (curriculum development) to the forthcoming staff institution in May next year in Uganda
  • Exchange of ideas amongst member institutions should be closely considered
  • ATIEA to work in collaboration with the national council of higher learning institutions to work out the standards that are thought to be feasible


After a long deliberation the suggestions were made:

  • That payment of membership and subscription fees should be paid with promptness
  • That participation of member institutions should improve
  • That activities should be considered closely
  • That individual membership fee should be enacted
  • That minimum standards of facilities and staff should be put in place


  • The chairman thanked all participants for their attendance and wished them safe journey back home
  • The General Secretary also emphasized the role and contributions of each institute and individual members
  • The forecasting of the Uganda staff institute calls for joint support
  • Finally, the GS stressed all members to take up their roles and responsibilities accordingly


Appendix I: ACTION POINTS: 08.10.2010

1.     Development of ATIEA website

·       Web page for ATEA

·       Links to the member institutions

·       Yahoo. group e-mail communication system

2.     Faculty Development (Capacity Building)

·       Workshops and seminars

·       Scholarships to help develop and upgrade academic staff

·       Faculty Exchange – to enable senior academic staff to mentor young staff; taking sabbatical leave in young institutions to build capacity of young institutions.  This will require institutions to be open and allow for critique – balanced and objective assessment

3.     Research and Publications

·       Encourage members with existing manuscripts to update them and forward them to ATIEA through the General Secretary of ATIEA.  This way ATIEA becomes the avenue for publication – linking with AACC to speak to possible publishers.

·       ATIEA needs to find ways of supporting member institutions with existing journals e.g. Africa Theological Journal at Makumira.  ATIEA should support and encourage these through: contributing articles and subscribing to the journal.  Dr Daniel Kiwula is to follow up on this matter.

·       Have an E-journal once the ATIEA website is up and running

·       ATIEA needs to explore the idea of collaborative research and publication.

·       Have an electronic quarterly newsletter – with information and news articles from member institutions

4.     Staff Institute 2011

·       Venue – Uganda

·       Date – First week of May 2011

·       Theme: African Theological Response to Ethnicity

·       Subthemes and topics could focus on:

Ø     Peace

Ø     Democracy and Human rights

Ø     Violence

Ø     Church and society

Ø     Poverty

Ø     Responsible leadership etc.

·       ATIEA executive is to deal with the them and to send invitations for papers

5.     Curriculum

·       Working towards a standard of theological education with:

Ø     A standard library

Ø     A standard curriculum

Ø     Qualified and competent staff

·       Issues of human rights and law to be included in the curriculum

·       Issues that concern those with disabilities

6.     Ownership and obligatory responsibilities

·       Payment of membership and subscription fees by member institutions

·       Participation in staff institutes

·       Participation in the scheduled activities of the national bodies

·       Payment of registration fee for individual faculty members

·       Meeting minimum standards of curriculum, faculty and library once these standards have been put in place.

7.     Emphasis on Women representation – hearing the voice of women in the church

Compiled by

Rev. Dr. G.P.Ngumi

General Secretary ATIEA