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.

Forgiveness, grace, justice, hope

A mosaic, crafted by an artist at the Regina Mundi (Queen of the World) church in Soweto, captures the theme of the 2015 Perkins South Africa immersion course. A final reflection from South Africa, from Perkins student Matthew Bell, a Master of Divinity degree candidate (2017): May 29 – the final day of our trip before departing for the United States – was spent at the Cape Town Institute for Healing of Memories, which also has locations all around the world. This ministry’s mission is to continue the much-needed work started by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1995. What’s the TRC, you ask? Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the TRC was a national effort to reflect [...]

Robben Island

Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Kantrice Robinson, a Master of Divinity degree candidate (2016, Pastoral Care and Women's Studies Certificate Programs): We entered Monday, May 25, in the afterglow of the worship experience and visit to the Table Mountain. We awoke early to make the ferry to visit Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27-year sentence. We were given a tour by former prisoner, Mr. Sparks, who spent seven years of a 15-year sentence at Robben Island as a political prisoner and for committing sabotage. His ability to move with fluidity and calm was surprising to many of us. He feels liberated by the ability to share about his imprisonment experiences, and [...]

Extraordinary Day of Worship and Wonder

Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Kantrice Robinson, a Master of Divinity degree candidate (2016, Pastoral Care and Women's Studies Certificate Programs): When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-5.) On Sunday, May 24, 2015, the Christian church celebrated its birthday, a day on which we remember when the [...]

Nature, up close and incredible

Pilanesberg National Park Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Sadie Brink, Master of Divinity degree candidate (2017): After the emotionally and physically exhausting day yesterday, today was a respite. Today is safari day! We all had a relaxing morning that allowed for an extra hour of sleep (very much appreciated!). Over breakfast Glen, Charles, Kantrice, Matt, Dr. Parker, and I had a great discussion about children and their role in the church and communion, and finding ways to get them involved so that they want to be a part of worship in and outside of the church. I think one of my favorite things about the trip thus far has been the various discussions that we have had [...]

Courage, despair and prayer in Soweto

Perkins students Matt Bell and Joyce Campbell. Photos by Glenn Luhrs. Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Matthew Bell, Master of Divinity degree candidate (2017): Today was non-stop. We skipped lunch in favor of getting to the Bridgman Development Centre! It’s a ministry of hope (“Timba” in Zulu) of the United Congregational Church of South Africa. The leaders there were gracious and welcoming. Every day around 2 p.m., children from the neighborhood come to Bridgman to study, worship, and fellowship before their parents pick them up.Today, we led them in worship. Somehow, we were not aware we were responsible for this task, so we designed a worship service for kids in under five minutes, music and all! Thanks [...]

Finding hope in the next generation

Today’s reflection is from Perkins student Jonathan Allen, Master of Theological Studies degree candidate (2016). The day began with a zero six-thirty alarm urging me to embrace the morning breeze and awakening sun. As we all gathered for our devotional and breakfast, we were informed of today’s itinerary. Our driver, Oupa, arrived on time as usual; and after we all boarded the van, we were off to The Urban Studio (a center for contextual ministry) to meet with Dr. Stephan de Beer. In our discussions, we explored various post-apartheid issues present within the city of Pretoria. Dr. de Beer made striking comments regarding the work that is still left to do to move past the Apartheid era, and thus stated [...]

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. 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 [...]

Welcome to South Africa

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.