A unique partnership that provides additional training to African ministers has produced its first cohort of graduates.
The partnership between the University of Aberdeen and Zomba Theological College in Malawi was devised to ensure that students no longer have to come to the UK to study special Masters degrees.
Last week, 11 ministers from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe who participated in the Masters in Ministry Studies programme were awarded their MTh degrees, while two others received Postgraduate Diplomas.
The graduates began their part-time studies in Malawi two years ago, taking courses in Spiritual Formation, Leadership, Preaching and Christian Practices, before each writing a 20,000 word Dissertation.
Speaking about his experiences, graduate the Rev Falitsani Kansilanga said: “The programme has transformed the way I do and perceive ministry. It has really been a lot of learning and unlearning.
“In a nutshell, this programme is not only a course for the mind, but for the heart as well. The mind has been enriched, the heart has been refreshed.”
The programme, which is sponsored by the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the Presbyterian Church of the USA, was co-ordinated by the Rev Dr Ken Jeffrey, Church of Scotland minister and senior lecturer in church history at the University.
He commented: "It has been a joy and a privilege to have this opportunity of working with our friends in Malawi and to support the church in the theological education and training of their leaders. We are delighted by the achievements of this first cohort of students and look forward to starting work with a new class of students later this year.”
A second cohort of students, including four female ministers, will start the programme at Zomba Theological College in October.