by: Deacon Andrew Gossage
Several months ago I wrote about the diocesan online seminary that Bishop Elmer began in 2017. Through video conferencing a small group of clergy are being equipped to become more effective in serving God and the Church. It is hoped that eventually all existing and prospective clergy in the diocese will avail of this training.
After continuing throughout the past year, we have finished studying "Theology: the Basics" by Alister McGrath. This is an introductory guide to the ways in which different theologians and churches (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) have understood some of the most important aspects of the Christian faith. Following the outline of the Apostles’ Creed, the topics we explored included the divinity and humanity of Christ, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the Church and its ministry, the Sacraments, and heaven and hell.
It has been an enlightening experience. Beginning with the Biblical and historical foundations for what we believe, Bishop Elmer has clarified the perspective of the ICCEC in a number of areas and emphasised various practical applications to life and ministry. There have been some helpful discussions in which we have wrestled with questions of doctrine or addressed challenges that are of particular concern for our diocese.
These weekly sessions have also been opportunities for the clergy as continuing education; to receive spiritual feeding and encouragement and to be strengthened through contact with one another as members of our wider diocesan family.
The Diocesan Seminary is preparing for accreditation with "The Urban Ministry Institute" (TUMI). This is a seminary satellites in several countries and continents, and is designed specifically to train pastors and lay people in urban areas who cannot afford to attend full time seminary, with particular emphasis on urban ministry, in 2020 the Diocesan Seminary is planning TUMI classes for clergy, lay people and youth.