Matanzas Evangelical Theological Seminary - June 2013 Update
In pursuit of our priority of helping global partners equip their leaders, The Outreach Foundation partners with the Evangelical Theological Seminary (SET) of Matanzas in Cuba, an ecumenical seminary where several denominations including the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba train their pastors. Here is an update on some recent activities of the seminary:
Bachelor in Christian Education at SET
In late spring, the Seminary hosted the second session of the Bachelor in Christian Education program. Professor Esther Fuentes Oliva taught “Educational Ministries.” Ileana Hernández Martinez, who is a specialist in oral narration and a professor at the Art School of Matanzas, was also invited for the occasion. Her course was entitled “Once upon a Time.” When talking about the name of the course and its importance, she stated, “In this course we worked on story-telling. Oral narration is like a door that allows us to enter the realm of imagination and creativity and can encourage reading. This course gave participants the tools to tell and transmit stories in a different way with creativity so that they can take the Word of God to all the people.”
Prison Chaplaincy Program Prepares Graduates for Prison Service
This program is the result of the work of the Area of Training and Studies of the Council of Churches of Cuba (CIC) and is sponsored by SET. A graduation ceremony took place in the Episcopal Cathedral in Havana and was addressed by the current president of the CIC, the Reverend Joel Ortega Dopico. The Rev. Dopico is the pastor of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Varadero. He congratulated the graduating students for the noble and difficult task that they are undertaking. In this basic course, carried out by periodic sessions over a school year, the chaplains received training in Spiritual Formation, Psychological Counseling, Criminology, and other fundamental elements that are necessary to carry out specialized pastoral work in the prisons.
SET Serves Students in the Far East of the Island
One of the vital “off campus” programs of the seminary is found in Holguin, a city of over half a million located about 425 miles southeast of Havana. Six years ago, in response to requests from churches to provide access to quality theological education for students who were already engaged in ministry in their churches, SET began a Bachelors in Theology track hosted in the facility of a vibrant, local Quaker church. This track serves students in either lay or paid positions who could not leave their positions to pursue a degree program full-time.
With few Presbyterians in that part of the island, the mostly Baptist, Quaker and Episcopal students commit to a four-year program which brings them to the church for a one-week class, quarterly, plus a summer intensive. The pastor of the host church, the Rev. Maria Gi, reports that the facility has a capacity for 24 students in the program but that they accepted 30 because there was such a great need. All the students bunk in “dorm rooms” at the church during the week of study. Because few of these students, or their churches who send them, have resources for covering their room, board, or tuition, SET relies upon donors from outside of Cuba to underwrite this vital equipping of the Church in the eastern part of the island.
Pray that God will call even more young men and women to train to become pastors... there is still a critical shortage of pastors, especially for small, village churches.
Thank you for your partnership,
Associate Director for Partnership Development
September 9-18, 2013
Come meet the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba! During this trip the group will stay mainly in Matanzas, where the Evangelical Theological Seminary will host us, but we will also spend several nights in Havana. Along the way we will be learning from church leaders and visiting congregations of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba. We will have opportunity to learn about the history and culture that shape the ministry context for our partners to the south. This trip is intended to encourage pastors and mission leaders to explore the possibility of developing a new mission partnership for their congregation in Cuba. Congregations who are already connected to Cuba through The Outreach Foundation are also welcome to apply.
Trip application and $500 payment must be received no later than July 1st to reserve a spot on this trip.
Minimum Goal for 2014
$3,300 per month