Seminarians Take the Gospel Around the World
Four international students will expand their ministries this summer with projects that represent not only personal missions but also reflect the commitment of the School to develop mission-oriented leadership in the Anglican tradition.
Four international students from the School of Theology will be expanding their ministries this summer through grants from the Episcopal Evangelism Society (EES). Each of these projects represents not only a personal mission for these students, but also a reflection of the commitment of the School of Theology to develop mission-oriented leadership in the Anglican tradition.
In October, 2015, EES Executive Director Day Smith Pritchartt visited Sewanee and spoke to the School of Theology about Evangelism for the 21st Century (E-21) grants. EES funds E-21 grants for projects of innovative evangelism designed by Episcopalians associated with an accredited seminary.
After hearing about the EES opportunity, all four of Sewanee’s African seminarians applied for a grant. As faculty representative for these students and associate dean for community life, Deborah Jackson listened to each student express their hopes that they would receive a grant and how they would use the funds. “They were all so passionate, so hopeful, and I was also hopeful. I knew that their requests had to be compelling for the grant selection team to select theirs, and I wondered if it might be possible for all of them to be grant recipients. When the day of the announcement finally came, all of our students were selected!”
Mganulwa Masima, T’16, who completed her M.A. in theology, will spend the summer on the road teaching Anglicanism to youth in Central Tanganyika (Tanzania). In a six-week program reaching out to young people, ages 16–25, Masima expects to train 300–400 youth. The traveling school will accommodate around 20 participants at a time in a week-long course, with a team of three teachers, including Masima and two members of the diocesan staff. The focus of the school will be “Why do we do things the way we do them?” Masima says she was motivated by the attrition of young people to other traditions. “They do not know why we worship as we do. They only joined because of their parents.”
Masima’s project also involves a teaching-the-teachers component at the Msalato Theological College and at St. John’s University. By instructing the seminarians, she hopes to reach a greater number of young people than she herself can instruct in one summer. The instructional materials are written and compiled largely by Masima herself, geared toward the specific practices and liturgy of her diocese. “My aim is to see our youth stay in church and stay involved in our parishes, so that they feel they are part of the church.” She hopes the program will be so successful that the greatest problem will be how to secure the necessary funds to make it sustainable.
Bartholomew Segu, T’16, who just completed his M.A. of Sacred Theology, will train church planters in the Diocese of Kibondo, Tanzania. Kibondo is a missionary diocese formed in 2012, with very few ordained or educated lay ministers. Says Segu, “They are people who have been called by God, but most have no theological training. Out of the 55 clergy in the diocese, he is the only one with a theological degree, and his education was preceded by many years ministering in remote areas, planting churches.
Segu surrendered his life to Jesus in 1984 and told his local pastor he was called to serve as an evangelist. His pastor said, “You are too young. You are only 14!” Nevertheless, at 16 years of age, Segu was sent to a remote area for four years to plant a church with no salary and no formal theological training. Segu has been phenomenally successful as a church planter, growing one church from 11 members to over 600. He says, “Christian discipleship is about knowing God and making God known to others. Everyone who is a believer is responsible for taking the Gospel to the unreached. That’s what we read from the Great Commission: Go. Spread the news!”
Segu’s training class will be the second project EES has funded at Segu’s request; the first was a Christian/Muslim relations project completed in 2015, the results of which he shared with the Sewanee community while in school. Segu hopes to train 150 participants with five co-leaders. The current project will last for two months but can be expanded with additional funding. Segu’s continuing relationship with the School of Theology is a strong component of the grant. As he travels back to Tanzania this May, seminarian Clay Calhoun, T’17, travels with him to serve in the discipleship training school. Additional seminarians will follow in June to assist Segu with his training project.
Makweya Chanzah, T’17, will train lay leaders in evangelism, leadership, and Christian formation in his Diocese of Southern Malawi. Chanzah’s program will take place during the summer months between the two years of his residential M.A. program in Sewanee. Before Chanzah’s arrival at the School of Theology, he was the chaplain in charge of training lay leaders in the Mulanje district of Malawi. He says when lay ministers are not trained, the church loses members, preaching suffers, and evangelism wanes. “For the church to stand strong, lay ministers must be trained to do the work of the parish.” He reports that the team from the diocesan office would not have been able to adequately support local efforts without this grant.
During this summer training, the diocese will license 60 lay leaders, two per church, in two regional trainings. The interim chaplain will join Chanzah in offering classes on evangelism, preaching, and worship. Chanzah is grateful to EES for the funds to implement the training he has long imagined. “Our diocese will benefit greatly and we are confident the church will grow as a result.”
Terry Quoi, T’17, will lead the formation of an evangelical prison ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Liberia. Quoi, who has served as a priest in Liberia for 12 years and has spent extensive time ministering in hospital settings, is motivated by a desire to make God’s love known to those serving time. “They need to know that prison is not an end for them. People feel abandoned in prison.”
Quoi says the ministry he will found includes prison visitation, advocacy in court, prayer, reconciliation, and help upon release. He says, “I love to run to those that are marginalized.” The grant covers one year of operations for the project; however, he hopes to secure more funding to continue operations. He has already built a team of both men and women to operate in both men’s and women’s prisons. The team will continue to minister when Quoi returns to Sewanee in the fall to complete the final year of his M.A. in theology.
Quoi expressed his gratitude to EES. “Thank you for affording me the opportunity to kick-start my project to minister to the incarcerated. I am hoping and praying this will help me share the Word of God with those in prison.”
Episcopal students, faculty, staff, spouses, and partners of seminarians are all eligible to submit a proposal for funding. Sewanee seminarian spouse Kathy Evans requested and received an E-21 grant to develop an Episcopal model for a children’s summer camp in Palestine as she works alongside her husband, the Rev. Boyd Evans, T’16, this summer.
During the 2015–2016 academic year, EES awarded a dozen E-21 grants, with two grant cycles each year accepting proposals for $500 to $5,000 per grant. Pritchartt reports that the majority of E-21 proposals have requested funding for domestic projects. EES was pleased to receive so many international proposals from School of Theology students.
For Masima, Segu, Chanza, and Quoi, the ministries funded by E-21 are both domestic and international. While their projects will take them back to familiar culture and geography, they are returning to Africa with new skills, theological education, resources, and connections.
Dean Jackson says, “I have the highest regard for each of the four projects and have complete confidence that the world will be changed by the work of these students. Having their projects funded is a dream come true.”