In the course of the virtual ceremony, the Faculty also launched a new centre, the Centre for Faith and Community, which is a consolidation of three centres that existed within the Faculty, namely; Centre for Contextual Ministry, Centre for Public Theology and last, Sustainable Communities.
The prestigious event that was held at Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk – Universiteitsoord, on Friday, 20 November 2020, honoured 852 delegates who successfully completed their training programmes. The delegates were able to view the ceremony via the live stream on Enterprises UP YouTube platform
Ms Kate Bapela, National Spokesperson for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), opened the ceremony by recognising the special guests and welcoming everyone at the event and those viewing on the live stream.
Followed by Prof Jerry Pillay, Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion who said, “It makes me proud to see over 800 people completing and receiving certificates in the 46 training courses we offer throughout the year, and to see all of these people pass as community leaders, counsellors, church leaders, etc., all come wanting to gain knowledge and a qualification that gives them that credit and value for it.
The Faculty is one of the leading theological institutions in Africa and is known for its quality research, relevant teaching and learning programmes, and community engagement.
Prof Pillay took the opportunity to officially constitute the Centre for Faith and Community.
Ms Bapela applauded the Faculty for successfully “bringing three giants together” making reference to the three centres that have been consolidated into one centre. “Thank you for the sterling work you have done, I have always known I had three components when I came to the University, now I know I just enter one door and I am sorted” said Ms Bapela.
The guest speaker, Father Michael Lapsley congratulated the delegates who completed the training courses and receiving their certificates.
Father Lapsley, through his speech themed 'Resist-Reclaim-Sustain’, touched on the unprecedented situation of COVID-19, “The world as we know has changed forever.” “What is COVID-19 teaching us?” he asked. Father Lapsley encouraged the Faculty and guests to take note of what the universe is seeking to teach the world.
He also touched on the spike of gender-based violence (GBV) during the COVID-19 period. He explained that we should not only focus on the women as victims but we should focus on the boy child, both as the potential perpetrators but also as those who can be an alliance against violence. He encouraged the Centre to do the hard work of assisting with stopping the violence and healing the wounds, as it is a responsibility of everybody on the planet.
Prof Stephan de Beer, Director: Centre for Faith and Community, took the podium and explained “The vision of the centre formally is healthy communities through the formation of community and church leaders.”
“Theology is something that ideally should be done in the community as a process of shared learning with others, and especially through the eyes of those who are ordinarily not included. To do it with people from a range of disciplines, we work closely with people from anthropology, health sciences, geography, architecture because if we want to build healthy communities, all of those are necessary” he added.
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