Still a little jet-lagged, my colleagues John Sungchang Park and Sheryl Stewart and I participated in helping the class of 2018 at Myanmar Institute of Theology graduate on Saturday morning. It was a joyous occasion, teeming with students and their proud families. It is my privilege on behalf of the faculty and board to confer the Doctor of Ministry degrees upon those who have completed their work in our joint degree program. Central and MIT have been collaborating for nearly a decade now.
Both schools are rightly proud of these doctoral graduates as they labor in ministry while pursuing their academic work. They write their project-dissertation in English, which may be a third or fourth language for them. They are through their scholarship and practice seeking to do contextual theology that will be a source of renewal for their congregations and conventions.
The commencement speaker, Dr. Andreas Nehring of Erlangen, Germany, offered a wonderful charge to the graduates. Following Jeremiah’s counsel, he encouraged them to “seek the best for the city,” as Luther’s translation put it. Wherever God calls them to serve, they will be the tangible presence of Jesus in their context. Their incarnation of the gospel will make their cities or villages better.
We witnessed the passing of the torch as Rev. Dr. Maung Maung Yin is retiring as Vice President, and Dr. Eh Tar Gay, currently Academic Dean, will become Vice President. Maung Maung will continue to teach and lead the Peace Studies Center, but will not have the load of being the external ambassador of the school. He has served well in this role, helping forge partnerships all around the world. He has been integral to the work of MIT for 35 years.
Dr. Samuel Ling will serve his third four-year term as president, and Eh Tar Gay will also serve four years concurrently with him. It was good to be present for their installation. They are exceptional leaders and will guide the school with wisdom and energy. I especially celebrate Eh Tar Gay’s ascension in the week we have celebrated International Women’s Day. She will bring many gifts to her new role.
On this Sunday and the next our faculty will be preaching around the city. I will visit a new church, the Lutuv Baptist Church, where MIT D.Min. Director is active. I do know how to be mercifully brief as translation doubles the time. Of course, there will be a big meal after the service, which is the customary hospitality of congregations.
On Monday I will begin a seminar on Incarnational Theology co-taught by Dr. Samuel Ling, also a theologian. I always learn as we teach together, for we share many concerns about the relevance of Christian faith in a religiously plural world.
Molly T. Marshall
Central is personal, global, and horizonal.