Perkins School of Theology in South Africa 2015

Eleven students from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology with faculty leader Dr. Evelyn L. Parker, associate dean for Academic Affairs and professor of Practical Theology, are participating in a May 17-31 South Africa immersion course through the Perkins Global Theological Education Program (GTE). During their time in South Africa, they will explore ministries of Christian hope “in practice” via engagement with the people of South Africa in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town.

Members of the group will share their experiences, including reflections and photographs, here on the SMU Adventure blog during the trip.

The Perkins Global Theological Education Program (GTE) prepares Christian leaders for complex cultural experiences through seminars and significant immersion experiences in other cultures. Students learn to build intercultural relationships, resolve cultural conflicts and guide intercultural ventures.

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Touring Johannesburg and Pretoria

Members of the Perkins School of Theology South Africa course embrace the world with Nelson Mandela, the first president elected in a fully representative democratic election and who served from 1994-1999.

Members of the Perkins School of Theology South Africa course embrace the world with Nelson Mandela, the first president elected in a fully representative democratic election and who served from 1994-1999.

Today the group toured Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, including the Apartheid Museum and the Nelson Mandela monument. The guest dinner lecturer was the Rev. Dalene Flynn, who spoke on “Sport, Ritual, and Social Cohesion in South Africa.”

Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Hannah Escalante, a Master of Arts in Ministry degree candidate (2016) with an emphasis in Urban Ministries:

Our first day of our immersion trip has been filled with the history of South Africa. From the museum of President Paul Kruger’s house to the monument of Nelson Mandela at the Union Building, our time has been spent learning people’s perspectives of the history of Pretoria concerning apartheid and the post-apartheid era.

The Nelson Mandela monument overlooks the city of Pretoria.

The Nelson Mandela monument overlooks the city of Pretoria.

It has been fascinating to talk with people we meet and learn how they define hope for their country. Every person we talk to from the country finds hope from the leadership of Mandela and can happily share what his leadership means for their personal story.

The Voortrekker Monument in Tshwane, outside Pretoria, commemorates the Voortrekkers—literally the “fore-movers” in Afrikaans and Dutch—Afrikaaners who escaped the British-controlled Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

The Voortrekker Monument in Tshwane, outside Pretoria, commemorates the Voortrekkers — literally the “fore-movers” in Afrikaans and Dutch. Afrikaaners escaped the British-controlled Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

It is inspiring to hear how people define hope within a South African context and how we as Americans can form and shape our hope as future ministers and theologians. The first day has been an incredible experience and we can only wait to see what is in store ahead.

A textile hanging at the Union Building in Pretoria depicts communities in South Africa.

A textile hanging at the Union Building in Pretoria depicts communities in South Africa.

 

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