Seminary Staff & Tacna Pastors

Students at the Seminary in South Peru (SEB del Sur) are getting close to the end of their academic year. 1

And some are eagerly anticipating the rewards of their efforts as they graduate in December.  What the Peruvian church needs is people called and equipped to minister God's word, faithfully and with relevance, to the world in which they live.  The work of the seminary is, therefore, vital - our aim is to see people prepared with knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to serve well.  As you know, we have asked you to pray and support this vital work.  So, how is it going?

In order to examine the effectiviness of SEB de Sur, the faculty invited a delegation to come and assess its work.  While many of us are familiar with the growing culture of assessment in the workplace, it still requires confidence to invite others to examine what we do.  To their credit, Silas Ramos and the team in Tacna welcomed our inspection as a contribution toward strenghening the seminary.  Nigel Younge (Director of Training - IBC) and Andrew Reid (BM Spain) joined me over two weeks in June in a visit to SEB del Sur and approached the task of assessment with rigour.

We began by meeting Silas Ramos (Director - SEB del Sur) and John Brew in the Evangelical Seminary of Lima (SEL).  SEL has mission roots and is developing programmes that are both indigenous and self-supporting.  Our experience was fascinating and instructive but SEL probably has higher academic standards than most other institutions outside the capital.

We then spent a week talking to staff, students, pastors and other stakehlders in Tacna.  No stone was unturned - premises were toured and statutes read.  From first impressions, it was clear that we have a remarkable resource.  The investment over many years has been well directed and maintained.  The programme is reviewed continually and students have noted the significant shift towards more applied teaching over the past two years.  It was also noticeable that the link with the Irish Baptist College, principally through Ken Scott and Alan Baird's visits, is bearing fruit.

The visit ended with a harmonious meeting between the delegation and Seminary Association members in which we presented our report and made a series of recommendations.  We wanted to avoid any impression of  'You've got to do it our way' and thankfully the leadership team in Tacna endorsed the report as being relevant and right for them.

Rigour and flexibility are required in cross-cultural parnerships.  Often problems arise over what is a matter of taste or cultural preference.

It is exciting to co-operate with our Peruvian brothers and sisters in training a new generation of 'approved workmen'.  Thank you for praying, and for all the support that enables this to happen.  We have so much to rejoice in and be thankful for.

notes:

1. The academic year runs from March to December.