THE Ven. J. W. Kofi deGraft-Johnson is general secretary of the Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), partners with the Church Times in this year’s Lent appeal, TAP Africa. He writes this week:
THE African continent was once a place of great theological reasoning and learning. The same cannot be said today. Theological institutions and theological education practice on the continent face a myriad of challenges ranging from accessibility, contextual relevance of content, sustainability, and a disconnection between theory and practice, among others.
A bishop from South Sudan, in a chat in Uganda last month, lamented the quality of the clergy in his diocese. Of the 60 priests serving in his diocese, only three had been educated. He was asking CAPA’s support for theological education for his clergy, but starting from the basics and in language that could be understood. I was stunned by the low level of trained manpower in the diocese.
This is just one reminder of the stark reality in many countries in Africa, and of the need to support contextually theological education. The challenge of access is real in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and South Sudan, where years of civil war has stripped these Provinces of the capacity to invest in training institutions for church workers. Bishops are having to ordain people with very little or no exposure to theological education at all.
A quick survey of the theological institutions on the continent indicate that about 90 per cent of them are struggling to survive. Dwindling finances for students have adversely affected the student population. In some colleges, the staff come close to outnumbering the students.
With help from the Church Times Train-A-Priest Fund, CAPA will be looking to help ordinands gain some degree of theological learning, at the same time as assisting theological institutions in their efforts to remain solvent and functional.
How to donate to the TAP Fund
Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. Nothing is retained to cover administrative expenses.
Donate online quickly and securely: www.hymnsam.co.uk/donations/tap-fund/
Or you can give by cheque or charity voucher. Please make cheques payable to: “The TAP Fund” and send to:
TAP Fund, Church Times, Hymns Ancient & Modern, 13a Hellesdon Road, Norwich NR6 5DR
If you are a UK payer of income or capital gains tax, a payment by Gift Aid means that the Church Times, through the Hymns Ancient & Modern charity, can recover 25p for every £1 that you give.
If your donation is eligible for Gift Aid, please include a completed TAP Gift Aid form with your cheque. You can also opt for Gift Aid when making an online donation.