Gift Supports New Theology Institute

An anonymous gift will support the establishment of an institute of Theology and Religious Studies at Africa University. The gift is one of the outcomes of a meeting of the AU Taskforce on Theology and Pastoral Studies that took place in Atlanta in mid-July.

Visioning and planning is in the early stages but ultimately, the Taskforce envisions the Institute as a center for work that is strategic, culturally relevant and effective to the disciple-making mission of The United Methodist Church.

Dr. James L. Waits, a recently-retired AU Board member, hosted the meeting which brought together trustees, senior executives, faculty members, partners and friends of Africa University. 

“The integration of classical theology and ministerial practice, along with adherence to its African context, holds promise for making Africa University the premier place for the study of religion in this region of the world (Africa),” Waits noted.

Representatives of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) participated in the discussions, which focused on laying the groundwork for a new approach to theological and ministerial training at Africa University

At its September meeting, the College of African Bishops of The United Methodist Church also discussed current and future approaches to theological training at Africa University. Concensus is emerging around a stronger focus on interdisciplinary, graduate programs and on both degree level and short-term theological training for lay persons. Research and training in interreligious dialogue/ecumenism as well as clinical pastoral care/mental health are emerging as key areas in which Africa University can equip clergy and laity in Africa.

The Taskforce report, including a concept document and recommendations, will be discussed at October meeting of the Africa University Board of Directors in Mutare, Zimbabwe..