Training together in Chile
Posted on: 21st May 2019
CMS Missionary Frances Cook teaches Introductory Greek and Church History at the Chilean Anglican Seminary in Santiago. Here she describes an exciting story of CMS’s support of a theological seminary that makes well-rounded, self-replicating disciples.
The Chilean Anglican Seminary, CEP, began in 2003. Since then, around 60 people have graduated, half of whom are now formally working in Chilean Anglican churches, most ordained. Now, well over half the clergy in the Anglican Province of Chile are CEP graduates.
One of the struggles we had with the training programme before CEP existed was that few of the students got very far. I often joke that very long hours of secular work, family and church commitments meant that there was grave danger of having to use funeral rites before those for ordination. In fact, often necessity won out, with ordinands not having advanced far in their theological training.
Initially, CEP provided a 2-year programme with only about 1.2 teachers, with a need to develop creatively and expansively. As missionary teachers arrived, and eventually Michael Charles (CMS NSW & ACT) brought his creativity to the role of principal, the academic programme could be improved.
Michael led a series of important changes. Firstly, we took the teaching of counselling more seriously, using materials based on the principle that you must examine and counsel yourself before counselling others. We included some standard not-so-academic Bible College activities – discipleship groups and growth groups where students would read and share over a non-academic text that would challenge or encourage. Compulsory summer reading includes, for example, missionary biographies.
Perhaps most importantly, we restructured the entire programme so that it was possible to ask practising clergy to teach occasionally, even if they lived far from Santiago. Besides a mission week in a church each year, students also spend one ‘shadowing’ a pastor, simply observing his work and, ideally, family life. In general, there is now a far greater emphasis on growth in community, where students and teachers would rub against each other. Not just as a necessity, we all eat and then do the cleaning together every day.
CEP is now led by Cristóbal Cerón, a local to Santiago. He worked to develop the Ministry Apprenticeship Programme, and led his church on a mission trip to India in January this year. Praise God for how the new generation has risen up to take on the work of the Lord.
Several CMS Missionaries serve with CEP as well as Frances Cook, including Michael & Jo Charles and Gary & Julie Haddon. Find out what they’re up to by signing up to pray for them.