104 Inya Road, Kamayaut Township, Yangon, Myanmar.

This is the blog for the Holy Cross Theological College's Alumni and friends and anyone who is interested in HCTC. Here we can meet, express and reveal ourselves, and discuss. Most of all, we will have a chance to strengthen, comfort, and reinforce each other.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Revisiting the past and Looking forward to Future

Today I would like to share something about our country and about our Anglican Church in Myanmar. And the role of Holy Cross Theological College in Church of the Province of Myanmar. You can read the details history of HCTC in my previous posts. Now I am trying to explain the importance of HCTC for the future of CPM. Here is what to want to share;

Myanmar is a country in South East Asia and its neighboring  countries are China in the North, India and Bangladesh in the West, Thailand in the South. Myanmar was under (still is) under the military regime for more than 60 years and it is an under developed country. Over 60 millions people living in Myanmar and it has 8 major ethnic groups. Buddhism is the dominant religion in the country and 90% of the population is Buddhists.  Christianity shares only 4% (2400000) of the population and Anglican Christian contribute only 10,000 to that. Only 2.4% of Christian population is Anglican. Myanmar first contact with Christianity was said to be occurred in 16 century through the merchants and traders from the West.

The Anglican Church was introduced to Myanmar by British army chaplains around 1825. The main task of these chaplains were to look after the British government related people, and, they were not able to do the mission until 1853. Only in 1877, Yangon diocese was founded and it was under the administration of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon Province. After the second world war, missionaries were not allow to enter into Myanmar, the mission in Myanmar was done by the missionaries already arrived. In 1966, all the missionaries, including all the ordained ministers, were asked to leave the country and many buildings; including schools, hospitals, were nationalized. The Church of the Province of Myanmar was only formed in 1970 with four dioceses, and now, there are six dioceses in the Province. The dioceses are; Yangon, Hpa-an, Mandalay, Sittwe and Taungoo. 

Before the missionaries left the country, they realized that without the indigenous/native ministers, the Church would not survive. Therefore, they started to train the native people for the ministry. The predecessor of Holy Cross Theological College was just an ordinance training school and later developed to a degree conferring college. In 1883, the catechist school for the native ministers was opened in St. Michael church in Yangon, later moved to Mandalay. After that, Most Reverend George A. West decided to promote the catechist school to Divinity School and relocated back to Yangon in 1935. The Divinity School was called “College of Holy Cross” that time, and, only in 1979, it has the present name “Holy Cross Theological College. The college began Bachelor of Theology program in 1989 and the first commencement was held in 1993, the present Archbishop of Church of the Province of Myanmar was one of the graduates from that class. Holy Cross Theological College just launched a new program called, Master of Divinity with 9 students. HCTC is a member of ATESEA (Association for Theological Education in South East Asia) and its degree is accredited by that association. 

The primary mission of Holy Cross Theological College is to train ordained ministers, mission workers and future leaders of CPM. In order to materialize its mission, HCTC has set five objectives; Discipleship, Christian Education, Mission, Anglican Heritage and Leadership Development. According to these objectives, HCTC has been training and nurturing future leaders and workers for God’s work in Myanmar. There are 12 full-time faculty and 10 part-time lecturers at HCTC. 4 faculty members are now studying abroad and hoping to be back with deeper knowledge of the Scripture, academic expertise and partnership.There are 58 B.Th students and 9 M.min students are currently studying at HCTC. With the theme of “Imitating Christ’s poverty, HCTC is preparing, transforming lives of the students. HCTC is now trying to improve the academic skills of the student and library resources. Furthermore, in order to improved learning environment, HCTC is trying to build  a four stories building, in which, lecturer theater, offices and library will be included. 

HCTC is vital for the future of CPM because it is the only theological college which produce clergy and missionaries in Anglican Church in Myanmar. Moreover, HCTC is the only place where people can learn, prepare and equip for themselves for future ministry. Therefore, the future of CPM lies at the teaching, training and preparation of HCTC. The growth, success and failures of CPM are depend on how HCTC faithfully carry out God’s work in Myanmar.

Although, Anglican Christians in Myanmar has been faithfully carrying out God’s mission in Myanmar for more than 140 years, we still need the support, partnership and prayers from our brother and sisters in Christ. If I have to say frankly, our Church in Myanmar is a stagnant rather than growing, due to political and economic situation of the country. We have the desire and passion to spread the gospel and share the Love of God, but, we lack resources to put into action of our desire and passion. The fact of only 10,000 Anglican in Myanmar in 140 years of history, highlights us that we have a great deal of work to be done. This is the reason, why we need prayers and supports from fellow believers in Christ. 

I thankful to the Lord that we are under the leadership of our Archbishop, Stephen Than Myint Oo. He is a godly man who commits his life for the spread the Gospel in Myanmar and for the truth of the Scripture. I would like to quote his first speech as an Archbishop of Myanmar; “I will seek God's will and purpose first rather than my individual concepts, vision, and personal feeling in accomplishing His mission (or) goal that is set before me. For that, I will obey Him and go forward without turning to the right or to the left.” His primary vision is to do God’s will in Myanmar through godly leadership, Mission and evangelism so that we are able to extend the Kingdom of God in places where we are. Since he was a lecturer at HCTC, he also have passion for our college. His vision for our college is to train and nurture the students with God’s love to be faithful preachers of God’s word, passionate missionaries and most importantly, godly persons who is filled with the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt that we would be able to extend God’s Kingdom and to do His will in Myanmar with the blessings and guidance from Him. The wisdom and directions from God through our Archbishop would play a very important role in our mission in the years to come. With God’s help, may we grow from 10,000 to 100,000 in near future.  

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