Dear friends and partners of HTC
I often find it amazing that even in the harshest of conditions – be it in the desert or a bitterly cold place, there are signs of life there. Even in difficult Zimbabwe in the theological sector we have signs of life!
If it weren’t for your support then we would have succumbed to the harsh operating environment years ago. God in His wisdom has seen it fit to sustain not only the Harare Theological College but other colleges as well, enabling His word to spread and His work to carry on.
We realise as HTC that we are but just a little corner in God’s vineyard and that we work in concert with other organisations and individuals. Our mission statement says: “Our purpose is to glorify God in partnership with His church by equipping servant-leaders at the certificate, diploma and degree levels to know biblical truth, practice godliness, and to be effective in ministry.”
We are glad to report that we are reaching more than the traditional church leaders. Robert Maxwell talks about leadership in terms of influence and we have influencers across the board. We have grandmothers, grandfathers, teachers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. All congregate at HTC for equipping and live out their faith implementing what they have learnt at the college.
Whilst the economic challenges seem to pose the greatest challenge to the survival of theological education they paradoxically also produce the right conditions for people to commit themselves to studying the word of God. This is because the economic storms seem to show the people just how temporal material blessings are and how it is much more important to have a deep understanding of one’s faith and walk closely with their God.
The second term (the winter term) is upon us – where traditionally numbers are often down compared to the first term. It is our prayer this year the we buck that trend especially considering the fact that we had one of the lowest enrolments in recent years in the first term. Usually the number of students exceeds one hundred (100) in the first term but this term we had sixty three (63) who enrolled. This is well below the desired target of approximately one hundred and twenty (120) students.
We have had some encouraging signs for the term ahead though. We have reached out to the churches as usual but more importantly the churches are reaching out to us! The believers are hungry for a more structured approach to their bible studies and we are realising that we need to cater both for the “academic” and the “average” Christian— a tension that theological colleges deal with continually.
We have also been inspired by the good feedback we have received from the weekend seminars that we have held in previous terms, especially in the first term of 2017 where a seminar on Biblical Justice was held.
The first term heralded a new era at the College. We had to say goodbye to our head Librarian Mrs. Ann Podmore and one of the adjunct lecturers Fiona Thompson (Academic and Research Writing). They both served the college with distinction for over a decade. May the Lord bless them richly in the new seasons of their lives! We also welcome those that have taken over the baton and encourage them to run the race with perseverance.
I would also like to thank the HTC board who have given me the opportunity to be Principal of this elite theological college. I would also like to thank Dr David Rousseau, my predecessor, for making the transition smooth. I look forward to his continued support as he carries on lecturing. Congratulations once again on the doctorate, Dave!
Yours In Christ,
Mr. Pagiel Chimudzi
Faculty & Staff Update
Congratulations to Dave Rousseau who completed his Doctoral Thesis and graduated in December 2016 in South Africa. Pray for him and his wife as they will be on home assignment in the US for the second term 2017.
Fiona Thomson, as already mentioned by the Principal, returned to HTC after a long illness to teach, but she resigned at the end of 2016 to retire. Please pray for her and her husband, Roger, about their plans for the future.
Thomas Hodzi and a team of dedicated translators have completed the translation of our Old and New Testament Survey courses into Shona. During the December 2015 holidays these were taught and videoed at the college and it is hoped that the videos will go out into our rural areas to assist people there to learn more about the Bible. Please pray for that to happen.
Debarra Prentice finished teaching at HTC in April 2016. She then had to return to the US for home assignment and residential studies on her doctorate while waiting for the authorities in Zimbabwe to grant an extension of her TEP. Unfortunately, after a number of glitches and re-submissions, the TEP was denied on appeal and she was not allowed to come back to Zimbabwe & HTC as a teacher. Deb returned in March 2017 as a tourist to say good bye and discuss with her mission society about the possibility of going to South Africa or Swaziland. Please pray for her as she prepares for whatever the Lord has in store for her and as she grieves over the loss of many friends and a ministry she loved.
We rejoice with Martin Ricquebourg and his family over the birth of their second daughter. Please pray for him and Ian Amess who are both working on further studies, Martin on a PhD and Ian on a Masters degree. Please pray for wisdom and endurance as they continue their studies and serve Christ at HTC and in their churches in their various capacities.
Congratulations also to Caston Munhu, who completed a degree in Library Sciences with Zimbabwe Open University in 2016. After Anne Podmore’s retirement he is now our Librarian. The new Associate Librarian is Felistas Mutonono, who works for several hours every week to assist Caston in his duties. Please pray for both of them as they work together and continue to improve library services to our students, lecturers and approved readers.
HTC Planning day & Curriculum Development
On the 21st of March 2016 all HTC faculty, staff, some students and alumni as well as other stakeholders in the college such as pastors met together to chart the way forward for us.
It was a good meeting in beautiful surroundings and a number of good suggestions have come out of this and have since been implemented.
One of these was to introduce two new programmes called a Foundational Certificate in either Biblical Studies or Ministry. Students for this programme will sit in the same classes as the diploma students but they are getting different assignments and quizzes and a shorter exam. The Foundational Certificate programme and qualification is an internal qualification by HTC, i.e. it is not accredited with the government. The purpose is to give students who do not have the time or the requisite number of O-Levels to do some work and get some credit for the work they have done. Students who wish to change from the Foundational Certificate to the Diploma courses will have to repeat the courses they did and/or do the assignments, quizzes and exams at diploma level and pay the difference in fees.
Moreover, we have partnered with South African Theological Seminary (SATS) in South Africa who have agreed to accept our students for a degree if they have passed our Advanced Certificate and Diploma courses. We do not teach the courses, but merely facilitate registration and offer our students a once-a-week study time with one of our lecturers to hold them accountable and give them an opportunity to transition more easily from face-to-face teaching to distance learning. Already a number of our students have taken up this offer, and we trust that this will go a long way to help anyone wanting or needing a degree until such a time when we will again be allowed to offer our own.
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