Tuesday, April 29, 2014

St Frumentius' Theological College

Theological Training in Gambella Ethiopia

The region of Gambella (West Ethiopia) has 80 Anglican Churches and 16 clergy. Only 1 of the clergy has a theological degree, and there are no other theological colleges in Gambella. There is a real need for a theological college which will be open to other denominations, students from Ethiopia and South Sudan, and from different ethnicities. The St Frumentius' Anglican Theological College will open in January 2015. Although we already have some of the facilities, we need your prayers and financial support to complete setting up this college.

Our Context

Until recent years, there has been only one Anglican congregation in Ethiopia, St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Addis Ababa. However, during the protracted civil war in Sudan (from the mid-1970s until the early part of the new millennium), many refugees sought shelter in Ethiopia. Many of these new refugees were Anglican and they began churches in the refugee camps. Later Anglican churches were established in the villages of the Gambella region, in the west of Ethiopia.

Out of necessity, the priests who were ordained at that time were lacking in theological education, having been ordained in a war-time situation. Even now we have only one priest in Gambella who has attended theological college. There is a real desire (on the part of the clergy, churches and the Diocese) – as well as a real need – for clergy to be better trained in order to be better preachers and teachers, better leaders of worship and better organizers of their church communities.

St Frumentius’ College

The St Frumentius’ Anglican Theological College will be affiliated with the Alexandria School of Theology (AST) in Egypt. Although the college will be Anglican and serve primarily that constituency, faculty and students of other denominations will be welcomed as long as they respect and work within the Anglican ethos of the school. As there are not other theological colleges in Gambella, other denominations have already expressed a high degree of interest.
An Anglican priest from the USA plans to come to Gambella with his wife to be the Principal of the school. As well as having a doctoral degree, he is also trained in teaching English as a second language. One of the Gambella clergy who is currently studying at AST in Cairo plans to return to Gambella to teach at the new college.  In addition, intensive courses will be taught by Bishop Grant LeMarquand who is a former theological college professor, Anglicans who teach at theological colleges in Addis Ababa, AST lecturers, and other visitors.

The Programme

The language of instruction will be English.
For the first years we envision a two year full-time programme leading to a Certificate in Theological Studies. Each year will have 2 semesters with 5 courses in each semester (that is, 10 courses per year for a total of 20 courses over the two years). If the Certificate programme is successful we will consider expanding the programme to 3 years for a Diploma and / or 4 years for a Bachelors’s degree.
The the curriculum will be divided into four major areas: Bible, Church History, Systematic Theology (also called doctrine or dogmatics), and Pastoral or Practical Theology. In each of these areas we will seek to make the programme relevant to Africa, and especially to the Gambella region of Ethiopia, rather than simply a copy of a western model of education. In addition to these four areas, students will also receive special instruction in English, in research techniques, and in comparative religion (especially concentrating on African Traditional Religion and Islam).

College Life

In addition to classroom learning, pastoral and spiritual formation will include the following:
  • Daily attendance at chapel
  • A pastoral placement in a church of the diocese or other suitable ministry situation in order to observe and participate in church ministry
  • Regular physical work on the college compound in the garden, in construction, cleaning, cooking, help in the library or some other activity to encourage and develop servant-leadership
  • Regular attendance and participation at guest lectures, in mission activities and other activities that may take place from time to time


English Language
A course especially for students for whom English is not a first language. The course will cover grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading and speaking skills. Special attention will be given to theological vocabulary.
Bible courses
Each of the Bible courses will pay attention to how different sections of the Bible have been read in African contexts.
Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.
An overview of the entire biblical narrative; an introduction to various methods and tools used for studying the Bible; a very basic introduction to some important Hebrew and Greek terms used in the Bible. Introduction to different ways the Bible has been interpreted in Africa.
An overview of the story, characters and themes of the first five books of the Bible called the Torah (law or instruction) or Pentateuch. Special attention will be given the themes of creation, sin, covenant, Israel as God’s people, the relationship between salvation / deliverance and the giving of the law on Sinai.
The Prophets
The section of the Old Testament called the Prophets includes both the early Prophets (also called the historical books) and the later Prophets (the writing Prophets). Special attention will be given to themes such as justice and care for the poor, idolatry and immorality, and the relationship between Israel and the nations.
The Writings
Also sometimes called the Wisdom literature, the third section of the Old Testament includes various kinds of literature such as Psalms, proverbs, philosophical wisdom, well as some narratives (Esther, Job, Daniel). This course will remind students of God’s concern for every part of life.
The Gospels
This course will introduce the student to the life of Jesus as it is presented in distinctive ways by each of the four Evangelists. Special attention will be given to the parables, miracle stories, controversy stories and the story of the passion and resurrection of Jesus.
The Letters of Paul
Paul’s letters make up about a third of the New Testament. The purse will look at how the distinctive letter form affects interpretation, how Paul’s thinking fits into the Jewish, Greek and Roman worlds of his day, as well as important Pauline themes like salvation, justification, christology, the cross, resurrection and ascension of Christ, the church, and Christian ethics.
Acts, Catholic epistles and Revelation
The third of the New Testament outside of the goals and Paul consists of very different kinds of writing: history (Acts), letters and sermons (Catholic epistles) and apocalyptic (Revelation). The course will examine the important difference between these genres and how we can understand their meaning.
Church History
Each of these courses will pay special attention to the presence of Africa and Africans in the different periods of the history of the church; the Medieval/Reformation course and the Modern course will also give attention to the distinctive nature of Anglican history.
Early Church History
The history of the church from the post-New Testament period until the fall of Rome. The course will concentrate on the development of the doctrines of the two natures of Christ, the doctrine of the Trinity, the Holy and church ministry and forms of worship. Special attention will be given to ways the church interacted with the dominant political power of day (the Roman Empire) and to important figures in the history of the church – especially Africans like Perpetua, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Anthony, Cyprian, Frumentius and Aedisius.
Medieval /Reformation Church History
This course will examine the period from about AD 500 until the 16th c. In the usual western curriculum, such a course would focus on Europe. Although western history is not to be neglected, this course will also examine the spread of Christianity into Asia even as far as China, and the expansion of the church into Nubia, the contribution of the Syrian monks (the 9 saints) into Ethiopia, and the Portuguese missions on the west and east coasts of Africa. Particular attention will be given to the English Reformation.
Modern Church History
Of supreme importance for this course is the western colonial expansion into South America, Asia and Africa and the missionary movement which accompanied it. The Enlightenment movement in Europe, and the quest for independence in the non-western world both have significant implications for theology and church life. Major theological figures like Schleiermacher, Barth and Tillich will be discussed. The shift of the church’s centre of gravity from the northern hemisphere and the consequences of this shift will receive special attention.
Systematic Theology
Although systematic theology as the careful exposition of the doctrines of the faith will not be neglected, these courses will also examine how theological reflection is affected by context, and hence the recent emphasis on ‘contextual’ theology.
God the Father
The first paragraph of the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds describe God as creator. An important emphasis of this course will be the goodness of creation and the vocation of human beings to care for God’s creation. The fall and the invasion of evil, sin and death will be discussed. This course will also discuss the doctrine of the Trinity.
God the Son
The person (Christology) and work (Soteriology) of Jesus Christ is will be examined in this course. Special attention will be given to the ways in which Jesus has been understood in African contexts.
God the Holy Spirit
This course will look at the person and work of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology), the charismatic / pentecostal gifts of the Spirit and their use in the church, the fruit of the Spirit (sanctification). The doctrine of the church (ecclesiology) as the community brought forth by the work of the Spirit will be examined. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as the identifying markers of membership in the body of Christ constituted by the Spirit will receive special attention.
Pastoral Theology
Without neglecting biblical, historical and theological foundations, these courses will examine practical and pragmatic aspects of the ministry of the laity and clergy in the church.
Preaching and teaching in the church
This course will focus on the practical aspects of homiletics, that is, how to preach. Time will be devoted to ways to prepare and deliver sermons, different contexts for preaching, and preaching the liturgical year. Time will be given to delivering and assessing students’ sermons. Leading bible studies will also be discussed.
Prayer and worship
This course will emphasize the importance of private and public prayer as the foundation for godly and effective ministry. Students will learn and practice how to lead public worship, especially Eucharistic celebrations. Special times of worship such as funerals, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, healing services, and feast days (Christmas, Easter, etc) will be discussed and practiced. Special attention will be given to the Book of Common Prayer and also to the appropriate use of African culture in worship.
Church Administration and Leadership
After examining good biblical models of leadership, this course will deal with such topics as leading meetings, discovering the congregation’s spiritual gifts, stewardship, fund raising, organizing schedules and keeping records. Special attention will be given to place of women in leadership.
Healing and Deliverance
This course will examine ways in which healing has been practiced by the church in different cultural contexts; the biblical, western, and African views of healing; appropriate ways to pray for healing and deliverance in private and in public; the use of laying on of hands and anointing with oil.
The Church and Holistic Ministry
Since God is interested in the whole person, this course will examine how justice and mercy are central to the biblical story, how love of neighbour compels the church to work for the good of all people, how ethnic divisions, poverty, ecological devastation, violence, and other evils are not part of God’s perfect will, and ways in which the church can work towards a healthier society.
Living with Religious Pluralism
The church in every part of the world lives in close proximity to other faith traditions and worldviews. This course will examine concepts of worldview, philosophy of life, religion and look at the major beliefs of non-Christian faith groups. Special attention will be given to African Traditional Religion and Islam. Issues such as evangelism, persecution and dialogue will be discussed.the possibilities and limits of cooperation will be examined.


Principal’s House

The current office of the Gambella Anglican Centre will be renovated to be used a house for the Principal of the college and his wife, who will arrive in September 2014. This includes moving internal walls, installing a larger bathroom with a shower, and a kitchen.
$0 Donated
0% Funded


Renovating the Library

There is already a library at the Gambella Anglican Centre. This is currently stocked with school textbooks and is used by students as a place to study after-school. Bishop Grant has donated 4,000 theological books to establish a theological library. Renovations are needed to the library, as it is currently difficult to use as it […]
$15000 Donated
100% Funded


College Chapel

A large church will be constructed at the Gambella Anglican Centre, which will serve as the St Frumentius College Chapel, as well as the church building for the St Barnabas’ congregation and for an English speaking congregation. It will also be used by other denominations to host large gatherings, as there are few suitable places, […]
$40000 Donated
58.82% Funded


Security Wall

Theft is a problem in Gambella, and properties need to have a security fence. The Gambella Anglican Centre currently has a barbed wire fence, but with the establishment of the college, a solid brick wall is needed to properly secure the property. While the Gambella Anglican centre employs guards 24 hours a day, items have […]
$16000 Donated
35.56% Funded


Dormitories & Amenities

All of the full-time students will live at the college. Theological education is not only academic learning, but community formation within the context is important. The students will be from different tribes, different denominations, and from different countries (Ethiopia and South Sudan). Initially, a one storey dormitory will be constructed, with the option of adding […]
$0 Donated


Football Field

The Gambella Anglican Centre has a sports program, which includes football, basketball and volleyball. The sports program, organised by a sports co-ordinator, gives the local children an activity after-school. The football field is also used by the St. Barnabas congregation, and can be used by the students of the theological college. The current field will […]
$0 Donated



The centre currently has two spaces which can be used as classrooms. However, as they were not originally constructed to be classrooms, some renovations are needed. Two new classrooms will need to be constructed.
$0 Donated


Biogas Facility

In Gambella, the power supply is intermittent. Cooking gas is not available to purchase in Gambella and requires driving two days to Addis Ababa. With the establishment of the theological college, an alternative gas supply is needed. Situated next door to the centre is a slaughter house. While this sometime produces bad smells, they have […]
$0 Donated
0% Funded


Tukals and Faculty House

Three tukals (traditional mud and straw houses) will be constructed. These will either be used for women students or for families, depending on the need. Another small house will be constructed for a resident faculty member.
$0 Donated

Make a Donation

In the USA

If you live in the USA you can send US$ cheques**, made payable to “FADE” to:
2104 Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
** Donations made by US citizens through the Friends of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt (a 501(c)3 organisation) may be eligible for tax relief. Visit their website for more information.

In Canada

If you live in Canada you can either send a cheque to:
(Nehemiah Project)
PO Box 224
Barrie, ON L4M 4T2
or donate online using PayPal or your credit card right HERE.

In the UK

If you live in the UK you can send £ Sterling cheques*, payable to “FACE” to:
Friends of the Anglican Church
in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
Gresham Lodge
52 Westerfield Road
Ipswich IP4 2UT
* Donations made by UK taxpayers through the Friends of the Anglican Church in Ethiopia may be eligible for Gift Aid. If you would like to Gift Aid your donation visit the FACE website for more information.

If you have any problems making a donation or have other suggestions for giving financial or in-kind support for this project, please email us using the online contact form.