New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 48

n e w c h u r c h l i f e : m ay / j u n e 2 0 1 8 Nouvelle Jérusalem, serving students in Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and Liberia. Initially the teaching staff of this school was primarily the Rev. Agnes and the Rev. Alain Nicolier, but in time, as the first cohort graduated, the staff expanded to include many of them as well. In addition to the ministerial staff, Rev. Agnes also hires adjunct teachers to teach church history, counselling and other practical matters, providing a well-rounded education. The Institut Théologique is the only Theological School other than in Bryn Athyn where students attend full time, which allows for a much fuller program than is possible for those studying part time. Even so, it takes students between three and four years to complete, and once graduated and ordained, these new ministers are expected to plant their own congregations. The result has been several congregations, some with their own buildings, developing in West Africa. At the time of this writing, there have been three graduating classes: 2010 graduating five students, 2013 with nine students, and 2017 with four, a total of 18 students in seven years. School enrollment at the moment is 12 students, six of whom are candidates and the other six split between the first and second years. Between the ministerial education in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, West Africa is well served with ministers, with more to come. Other Parts of the World Minister training in Brazil, Korea and West Africa enables many ministers for the General Church, but what happens to those who are not in those areas and can no more attend one of those schools than they can attend in Bryn Athyn? Fortunately, modern communications have made distance training possible. Students in Japan and China are able to study online using a course delivery process called “Moodle” – a program used by Bryn Athyn College. This course of study is overseen by the Dean of the Theological School, and courses are taught by Theological School teachers. The courses are uploaded to a Moodle site, students download them, complete the assignments and return them to the teacher. Using this system two ministers in Japan and one in China are prepared for the ministry. Fortunately, most of the Heavenly Doctrines exist in Japanese, so students are able to do their assignments in their own language, and submit returns in English. This is supplemented by periodic visits from Bryn Athyn, mostly for enrichment. However, the Moodle system of delivery is unsatisfactory as a sole method of teaching as it does not provide much opportunity for face-to-face instruction or make community building possible. In 2012 an opportunity 224