From the "Anglican Commentary Blog" on the Virginia Theological Seminary Website (vts.edu)
March 25, 2008
Virginia Seminary has a long commitment to the formation and education of international students. Preliminary research reveals an international student who graduated in 1867. Was that the first one? Recently, our graduates have assumed leadership roles which require all that they have to give. They make us proud!
The Rt. Rev. Daniel Deng Bul (VTS, ’97), Bishop of the Diocese of Renk, has been elected as the next primate of the Sudan, succeeding Archbishop Joseph Marona who served as the Sudan’s primate for eight eventful years. Bishop Deng Bul was elected on February 14 on the first ballot out of a field of three nominees during an emergency General Synod at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, Sudan. Emmanuel Sserwadda, the Episcopal Church’s partnership officer for Africa, said of the election: “It is a big day filled with excitement in Juda.” Presently, I am making arrangements to attend the enthronement in Juda on April 20. It will be a delight to represent VTS.
On May 25, 2008, the Rt. Rev. Valentino L. Mokiwa (VTS, ’92) will be installed as the next primate of the Anglican Diocese of Tanzania. Most recently, Bishop Mokiwa was the Bishop of the Diocese of Dar es Salaam. I remember vividly my visit to Tanzania in 2003 when Mary Lewis Hix (until her retirement this past May the Vice President for Administration and Finance at VTS) and I met with Bishop Mokima to discuss his ministry and the Anglican Church’s work in Tanzania. His passion for the Gospel was not to be missed. Bishop Mokiwa was elected in Dodoma on February 28 at a special session of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Tanzania with its twenty-one dioceses sending five delegates each.
This coming summer a research effort of the Center for Anglican Communion Studies will focus on the seminary’s program for international students. What’s behind VTS’ desire to train international students? Is it the Gospel mandate and/or our missionary imperative? Are we interested in spreading a certain “brand” of Anglicanism—or Christianity? Are we doing a good job? What do our international students bring to us? Have they and are they changing the ways we form church leaders for the twenty-first century? My hunch is that our international students bring to us more than we give to them. Stay tuned as we document this long-standing VTS program and as we ask active international graduates about their experience on the Holy Hill.
The Rev. Barney Hawkins, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CACS