World Churchmen in



(August 3 through September 14, 1969)



1. Location. The International Training Institute for World Churchmen in Asia was held at Trinity Theological College, Mount Sophia Road, Singapore from August 3 through September 14 of this year. Churchmen of the area gathered with the participants at the opening banquet. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, a Muslim representing the Prime Minister of Singapore, spoke on the role of religion in world development. The keynote address on the renewal of the Church in was delivered by the dean of the Cathedral, Bangalore, India. Singapore was an ideal location for the ITI not only because of its location and climate but also because it is a signal demonstration of nation­building in the East. The facilities at Trinity College were excellently suited to the program, and the support of the college faculty and the religious community in Singapore contributed greatly to the success of ITI.

2. Constituents. one hundred and two delegates representing sixteen Asian nations and seventeen denominations, participated in the six­week Institute. There were eighty men and twenty­two women. Among these there were eleven couples. The delegates as a whole represented the emerging church leadership in the East. Most of them were in their thirties; a few were still in their twenties, and perhaps four were over fifty. The largest delegations came from India, Malaysia and Australia. From the seventeen church bodies the largest representations were Methodist, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. In total there were fifty­six clergy and forty-six laymen. The laymen were doctors, civil servants, housewives, secondary and college teachers, businessmen, social workers, nurses, laboring men and so forth.

3. Objective. The aim of the Institute simply put was to enable the participants to be effective forces of renewal in their own local churches. This required a program of formal education, practical training, and spiritual motivation. The formal education had to do with understanding the real world in which men live today and how the Word in Jesus Christ can be effectively articulated in it. Practical training meant first of all enabling the delegates to become skilled teachers to begin the re­education process of the local church, which is the first requisite for church renewal. Secondly it meant equipping them with the methods and tools for social change relative to the reformulation of local churches and their communities. Thirdly, spiritual motivation was perhaps both the most important and the most difficult. It required inspiring the delegates to initiate action and then giving them the resources to maintain themselves in the almost impossible tasks which initiating action would eventually lay upon them.

4. Construct. The accomplishment of this end required a specially designed educational vehicle. In a manner of speaking, the International Training Institute was this vehicle. The ITI was a method, not in any detached, mechanical, or routine sense. It was a method relevant to the human element in world development. In the broad sense, the design involved three intents: first, it was an endeavor to bring together in one educational construct intellectual understanding, practical training and motivating inspiration. Secondly, it intended to catch up the total time and experience of the participants during their six weeks together into a single educational process; and finally, it was an effort to bind together in one unified educational construct a wide variety of pedagogical devices, instruments and techniques for the sake of a comprehensive gestalt of creative impact.


5. Formal Studies. The mere formal part of the curriculum was an exercise in crash education. It was comprised of some fourteen courses in all. Nine of these were content courses, conducted in sequence one on every Monday and Tuesday and another on Thursday and Friday. These two­day courses were composed of four sessions, each five hours in length which included a lecture, a period for individual study and a discussion seminar. The subject matter in the nine content studies was theology and sociology. The objective was to obtain a depth understanding of contemporary society and the role of the People of God in it. The other five formal studies in the total of fourteen were social, religious and educational methods. These methodological studies were constructed as four one-hour lecture courses. They were held four mornings a week and dealt with the basic principles for social change, spiritual growth and the educational process.

6.Practical Training. Major emphasis was placed upon training the participants as grassroots teachers and leaders in church and community action programs. Three extended pedagogical laboratories, each covering a two- day span, were held during the six weeks. In these labs the delegates created their own lesson plans, lecture models, and course constructs while they pushed for clarity in study methods and imaginal teaching procedures. In addition; small group, practice­teaching tutorials were held each day of the Institute. Here the participants taught each other both in giving lectures and conducting seminars. There were also three two­day workshops on the practice of local church renewal and community reformulation. Most important, the whole last week of the Institute, which was called a Council, was given over to working out the concrete strategies and tactics necessary to the renewal of the People of God in the various regions of Asia. The students produced, during these workshops; thirty­five documents ranging from four to one hundred pages, which provided the practical tools for their use on return to their homes.

7. Extra-Formal Education. The academic curriculum of the Institute was set in a carefully designed context of non­formal educational procedures aimed at the motivational aspect of the learning process. The range of this effort was wide and complex and can only be touched on here. It began with the place where the school was held and with the decor that provides the immediate imaginal and symbolic environment of the students. The decor was a labyrinth of maps, art forms, charts and symbols that quietly but unceasingly communicated the necessity for globality, the wonder of the gifts of the East, the possibility of a renewed Church and the imperative for a new vehicle for society. The timeline or internal rhythm of the day, the week, the month was another crucial factor and can be seen through studying the attached schedules. Every Wednesday was set aside for special happenings. These included a missional exploration of Singapore; a train trip to Kuala Lumpur to study the urban industrial and racial situation in Malaysia; a corporate work­day on the campus of the college and a cultural festival in which the delegates demonstrated through food, song, dance, icons and drama the unique quality of humanness within their own people. Each Friday evening offered an encounter with some other renewing force in society. Illustrative of this was a meal and dialogue as guests within a Buddhist monastery and a Ramakrishna mission. Sunday mornings were given to visiting various Christian churches, a spiritual exercise in ecumenism. Many attended Catholic mass for the first time in their lives. All of this was not extra­curricular but very much a part of the one educational process.

8. Spiritual Nurture. Development of spiritual depth and disciplined corporateness are two sides of a single coin without which the Church will not be renewed and without which the human element in world development will not be fostered. To accomplish this with any authenticity today is no easy matter. The total student body was divided into four colleges for this end. These colleges in turn were divided into teams of eight and work units of four. Their first function was mutual human care for intellectual, spiritual, material and vocational needs. The second function was discipline of corporateness for the sake of a common mission. The teams worked together daily in chores called obediences, relating to housing meals and the like. The four colleges met separately four times a week around a common evening meal for two hours. During this time, they discussed the meaning of the devotional life: mediation, contemplation and prayer for the secular world. They studied together Kazantzakis' Spiritual Exercises. They reflected upon the nature and meaning of corporateness for effective action, and they dealt with the business of the day and the progress of the Institute. The college construct was the place where deep personal relations developed and spiritual motivation for common mission was generated.

  1. Identity. Those who came to Singapore, However broad or limited their past experience had been, found their outlook expanded and focused into a new life style. They became conscious of their own involvement in the world as never before and, being forced to live, work and study intimately with those of foreign and sometimes alien nations and with those of radically different educational, economic and cultural backgrounds, they saw not only that they could live with others but also that they shared a basic self­identity with other Asians. They discovered an even more basic unity as they worked on problems and plans of their loca1 churches. They saw that the Asian Church must have one corporate thrust in history and therefore they saw themselves as colleagues. It was at this point that the necessity and relevance of accountability and the disciplined use of time, space, and relationships became clear. They voluntarily scheduled even their rest periods for study and planning to prepare themselves to meet the seemingly impossible demands of our age.

10. Skills. This new sensitivity intensified the desire of the participants to acquire practical skills to fulfill their role as comprehensive spirit men and leaders of the local church. With enthusiasm and intentionality they struggled with the formal content and the practical techniques of the courses. Many became exceptionally skilled in preparing lectures and leading seminars. For the first time, some saw that there was a way in which they could grasp the scope of the social problems that confront them and transpose it into goals, strategies and tactics by which society can be changed. They experienced in the college care structures the way in which the local congregation may know relevant intellectual, physical and spiritual care, and became sensitive to how they may deal creatively with other lives.

11. Church. It became utterly clear to the participants that the Church is alive and renewable both globally and locally. Because it is at the local level that social evils and spirit needs are focused, it is at the local level that the Church is operative to change lives and to redirect the course of history. They became clear that a renewed Church means a renewed disciplined, renewed and radical corporateness, and renewed symbolic power in the liturgy and worship of the congregation. The participants, looking at the twentieth century and the many futile attempts that are made to meet its needs, saw the power of the historical Church, because of its broad structure, its spiritual resources, and its deep concern for every man, as the only viable instrument for the restructuring and enabling of human society. The fact that they are a minority no longer was the source of self­depreciation when they realized that a dedicated few can direct the course of human history and when they saw that the most vital leadership in improving society in Asia was directly or indirectly the result of the missionizing activity of the Church in the last century. Those who came to Singapore with questions and frustrations left with a new world upon their hands, with a new appreciation of the local church and with the self~consciousness that they had the tools to enable the Church once more to be the enabler of humanness.


12. Gift of the East. As the staff worked with the Eastern churchmen, they became convinced that the deep spirit sensitivity of the East is crucial for the life of the whole Church and must become a part of the life style of the People of God as the Church becomes one global mission. They found, moreover, that the westernness of our methodology, far from violating the uniqueness of their culture and way of raising the life­question, released them to a new level of struggle in the meaning of humanness. Although we had believed that the methodology of the six­week Institute could be used in other cultures, Singapore concretized this conviction. Not only is this a method for the consistent qloba1 equipping of the Church, instantly transferable to other cultures but also it enables other cultures to make available to all, their gifts of humanness. Perhaps the reason that this is true is that it grounds the theoretical in the practical, a demand which is upon all cultures, which then necessitates embracing the actual situation and making decisions about the expenditure of life. It was the experience of the Singapore Institute that the theology of the Word springs to life again whenever it is incarnated in the life decisions of the participants.

13. Need of Renewal. Although it had been suspected, it became startlingly clear that the younger churches as much as the older ones stand in need of renewal and re­tooling. It was startling in that the problems raised as most crucial to the churches in Seoul, Manila, and Alahabad are exactly the problems which are most crucial for Seattle, Atlanta and Dallas. In Asia as in the western world the Church has had a vague awareness of renewal and yet has been victimized by its minority position and self-depreciation about its role in society. When, however, a radically intentional training program with practical methods for social change, methods for imaginal education, and methods for the re­establishment of the religious life were made available, the awakened churchmen were ready to move. Although we knew that man holds the answers to his own questions, we learned that the answers differ and when shared create a storehouse of practical wisdom for renewal. Six weeks, we discovered, is an adequate time for this retraining and the way is practically open, therefore, for the enabling of the total Church through the wisdom of the total Church in a relatively short period of time.


14. General Training. The initial planning for ITI included a carefully conceived and effective follow­up program that was both comprehensive and intensive. As the Institute evolved, the participants became increasingly vocal about the need for an effective continuing program for training. It is very clear to the faculty that this imperative for follow­up must be met without delay. The help the participants need is, first, the opportunity for practice teaching in actual re­education courses in their own countries under the guidance of experienced teachers. Second, the participants need the assistance of on­the­spot catalytic consultants who can help them begin their own parish renewal and community reformulation. Third, advisory assistance must be provided, whereby the area and regional structures are created through which the re­education and reformulation of the church in their area can take place.

  1. SEAPAC. If their needs are to be met, there must be both a long­range plan and an immediate nine-month plan whereby the most pressing needs of the participants can be met. This nine­month follow up program, the most urgent concern, will be Pacifica. Participants from South East and the Pacific sphere made concrete requests during the Singapore Institute which we propose to meet through the following four point plan:

1) South East Asia. Three family Units (six well-trained teachers) will be assigned to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore at the request of churchmen there. They will conduct courses, teacher training, and consultations with local churchmen in Singapore, West Malaysia, Indonesia; East Malaysia and Thailand. A significant number of those who participated in the ITI will provide leadership in these ventures.

2) East Asia. A teaching team will be sent to this area in January­March, 1970, where they will be joined by several ITI participants in holding courses and consultations in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and other countries of East Asia. Two members of the team will remain in each area for six months as consultants and teacher trainers, in response to invitations as they are received.

3) Pacific Islands. At the request of one of the ITI participants, four teachers (one of whom is an Australian) are being sent to Samoa as secondary school teachers. They also will offer courses and consultations for local churches throughout southern Polynesia. During April to June, 1970, a teaching team assisted by nationals from Samoa and the Marshall Islands will conduct courses recruited by local church leaders in Micronesia; Melanesia and Polynesia. Additonal teachers trained in church renewal and imaginal education will be sent to other parts of the Pacific to meet the crucial need for secondary school teachers.

4) Australia and New Zealand. Six teachers are already working with awakened churchmen here and in one sense no specia1 follow­up program is needed. However, the Australian participants have projected intensive work in two areas, training teachers and consultants for other countries, and work among the Aboriginal people (three of whom attended the Singapore Academy). Special help will be given in the development of these crucial areas of work in imaginal education.

16. Sub-Asia. The vast and densely populated sub­continent presents a more difficult follow­up task. A first phase, culminating in the summer of 1970, will be undertaken step by step as follows:

1) Sept.­Dec.1969: Two faculty members, both present in Singapore, will visit each of the six areas of the subcontinent: East India, South India­Ceylon, West India, Central India, North India and Pakistan. They will provide consultative assistance for all those who participated in the Singapore Institute and will assist in setting up educational programs for the winter quarter.

2) January ­ March 1,1970: Two teaching teams, comprised of Institute faculty and participants from the sub­continent will conduct educational programs in each of the six areas.

a) March or April 1, 1970: Teachers from the two teams will conduct a special all-India educational conference which has been requested by several church leaders.

4) 1970. A follow­up consultation will finalize plans for the summer Institute by working out curriculum, developing a systematic recruitment plan, and providing further pedagogical training for indigenous teachers.

17. Further Institutes. In the concluding workshops of the Singapore Institute, participants from both the Southeast Asia­Pacific area and the sub­continent began planning similar Institutes in their respective areas. An Institute for each area was projected for the summer of 1970. Possible locations are Ceylon, which would permit both Indians and Pakistanis to attend, and either Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore or even the Pacific Islands. Both Institutes were envisioned as greatly increasing the number of people available for the tasks of conducting mass re­education of grassroots churchmen, beginning the necessary reformulation of existing forms of the local church by the restructuring of the local congregations and developing signal parish or community projects that would point the way for missional involvement in society, and cultivating the deep spirit resources necessary to sustain the Church in mission. Participants and faculty share the conviction that the follow­up programs outlined above and these two summer Institutes will not only increase the forces of renewal, but also amplify the movemental dynamic within the life of the Church in Asia.