May in Northern Virginia means the weather is warm, trees and grass are a vibrant green, and the air is filled with bird songs. It also means that our 20th Anniversary year is coming to a close, and the time has come to bid farewell to the graduating class of 2018, as they go out into the world to begin new chapters in their ministry.
For the Center for Anglican Communion Studies, this also means we are celebrating and saying goodbye to five international students. The Rev. Norbert Ayeebo, Ms. Flamel Duran Svelti and the Rev. Pearson Nhayo will graduate from the MA program. The Rev. Halim Shukair and Ms. Mary Matthews will graduate from the MDiv. program.
One of the requirements of the MA degree is to write a Summative Capstone Project. It would be impossible to fully convey the depth of work that goes into these projects in a relatively short amount of time, but to give you a sample of the range of topics our international MA students have engaged with, here are their titles:
Norbert Ayeebo: "In search for a holistic curriculum for youth Ministry: The case of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale, Ghana"
Pearson Nhayo: "Cross-cultural Ministry and the Response of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Ruaha."
Flamel Duran: "Environmental Ethics in Light of a Conversation on the Doctrine of Redemption in C.S. Lewis and Jurgen Moltman”
After graduation Flamel will return to the Dominican Republic and will work on Christian education and social justice, in addition to pursuing additional avenues of theological formation.
Pearson is planning to return to Tanzania to specialize in training/teaching Christians in Cross-cultural Ministry and communication in and beyond East Africa.
Norbert will be going back to continue his ministry in the Diocese of Tamale, Ghana. He would love to continue to serve as the Diocesan Youth Director or teach but will serve where the diocese needs him.
Halim will be a curate at Christ Church in Dearborn, MI and working at the Diocese of Michigan as missionary for outreach for the Arab/ Eastern Rite Christians in Detroit and Dearborn.
Mary will be starting a Ph.D. at the University of Warwick in the UK in September 2018 in gender, sexuality and reconciliation in the Episcopal Church. She will continue here association with VTS working to create a LGBTI resource and education hub for the Church.
Each one of these individuals has blessed VTS with their presence and enriched our understanding of global Anglicanism as they shared perspectives from their own context. Through them, we got a glimpse of the life of the Church in Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Australia, and Lebanon. Each has engaged in serious theological study, made friends across cultures, worshipped, struggled, played, and broken bread with us and they have left their mark on this community. The Center for Anglican Communion Studies sends these students forth with our prayers and we hope they know that, as Dean Markham is fond of saying, “once you’re a part of VTS, you’re always a part of VTS.”