The Pacific Theological College faculty have been urged to rethink, refine and relocate theological education in a way that serves the will of God in the Pacific and brings to life the vision of the College’s new Strategic Plan.
The new PTC Strategic Plan 2020-2025 ‘Towards Excellence in Theological Education for Leadership for Justice’ was approved by the PTC Council and Executive committee meeting held in November 2019.
PTC Principal Reverend Professor Dr. Upolu Va’ai reminded members of the PTC faculty at their Annual Retreat held in January 2020 to know that the role of theological education is to disturb, to subvert, to challenge systems and structures that suppress and oppress people because God want’s fullness of life for all.
‘This College does not just want to produce theologians,’ said Rev. Professor Dr. Va’ai.
Rev. Professor Va’ai has been consistent in promoting the new vision of theological education in various forums.
While presenting the vision of the new Strategic Plan to the Pacific Church Leaders Meeting (PCLM) coordinated by the Pacific Conference of Churches that was held at the Jovili Meo Mission Centre of PTC earlier this year, he said:
‘The College wants to produce prophets that can help liberate people from issues of injustice and neo-liberal exploitation,’ said Reverend Professor Dr. Va’ai.
‘Theological education for leadership for justice is a focus of the new six years Strategic Plan of the College,’ added Rev. Professor Va’ai.
Rev. Professor Dr. Va’ai said the College will conduct a full review of all its courses to reflect the new strategic direction titled ‘Theological education for Leadership for Justice.’
He also addressed the issue with a World Council of Churches committee meeting that was held in Suva in January this year.
‘PTC aims to train leaders who can deal with justice issues in the Pacific, leaders that are not just priests and theologians but also prophets and advocators of justice,’ said Rev. Professor Dr. Va’ai.
‘The new strategic plan responds to calls, both from churches within the region and globally for theological education to address development and economic issues, justices and others that affects the lives of the grassroots communities, ‘he added.
He said he believed many issues afflicting people’s lives whether it’s gender, racism, economic, climate change dislocation or other are inextricably connected to ecological violence (harm to the ocean, land etc).
‘This is masked in the blessings promised by economic growth of the market systems,’ he said.
The PTC course review will be realigned to address these issues.
According to Rev. Professor Vaai, PTC can play a pivotal role in changing the story of development and of colonialism in the Pacific, changing the story of theology and the church, because of its strategic role in producing students that become leaders of many churches in the region.