on Asia-Pacific Forum for Library and Achives Management
Bangalore, India, June 14, 2004
Ministerial Formation and Librarians
CA sharing by Dr. Hope S. Antone
Christian Conference of Asia, Hong Kong
- Ecumenical Formation as History of the Ecumenical
- Ecumenical Formation as Task of Theological Seminaries
- Role of Librarians in Ecumenical Ministerial Formation
Ecumenical Formation as History of the Ecumenical
Association – what comes to mind when you hear
the name, ecumenical movement?
is from OIKOUMENE
- Greek Oikoumene means “whole inhabited world”
- Oikos is for household and mene to manage
- In Christian traditional usage, it means the promotion
of unity, cooperation or improved understanding between
- In a broader sense, it means religious initiative
toward world-wide unity.
of the Ecumenical Movement
- Global Perspective – from the World Council
of Churches (show a power point presentation from
- Asian Perspective – (A History of the Ecumenical
Movement in Asia jointly produced by CCA, WSCF A-P
Ecumenical Formation as Task of Theological Seminaries
- What is the goal or purpose of your theological
- How is that made known to people?
Goal can be gleaned from:
- Its curriculum
- Its extra-curricular involvement
- Its lifestyle and ethos of the community
- Its mission or vision statement
to the participants, the seminary’s goal can
also be seen through:
- Its history;
- Its emphasis in the library holdings;
- Its students – their denomination and ethnic
- Its departments – representative of ethnic
and language groupings of students?
Survey of Asian Seminaries
1999-2000 I conducted a curricular survey of the seminaries
in Asia for my dissertation work. Although I was interested
in finding how much of Christian Education was offered
in Asian seminaries, I also discovered some things:
Theological education in Asia reflects a variety of
+ curriculum reflects denominational content;
+ curriculum emphasizes church growth.
+ curriculum reflects strong concern for church planting;
+ curriculum reflects traditional concept and practices
+ constitute a minority group in Asia;
+ curriculum includes a bit of ecumenism, comparative
study of religions and (sometimes) dialogue (very
often not required but as electives).
Theological education in Asia generally follows the
- Curriculum based on a hierarchy of courses.
- Specialization in ‘classical’ or so-called
- Difficulty to add new courses that are relevant/needed
in Asian context.
Methodology is generally for cognitive or intellectual
development often to the neglect of other aspects
of human development.
- Lectures and debates in classrooms;
- Reliance on books or library research;
- Shunning creative and innovative methods as unscholarly.
Ministerial Formation as Task of Seminaries
But why Ecumenical?
Why not Evangelical?
Part of the allergy to ecumenism has to do with the
dichotomy/rift/gap between ecumenism and evangelicalism.
- Whole inhabited world as God’s household n
- Christ prays for unity – John 17:21 n God’s
love for all (John 3:16)
- God wills unity – Ephesians 1:10 n Christ
came that they may have life in its fullness (John
- Being ecumenical and being evangelical need not
be opposed to each other; they even need to go together.
- Our evangelical conviction is that the good news
of life in its fullness is for all, hence, the call
is for all to participate together to help make that
become a reality.
- Our ecumenical commitment is that we can meaningfully
and effectively participate together if, while being
rooted in our own faith communities, we are open to
learning, working and living with other faiths.
n Vision of and movement towards unity of churches
and Christians and Christian groups as they pray and
work together for the unity of humankind and of all
n Narrow meaning: promotion of unity, cooperation
or improved understanding between distinct religious
groups or denominations
n Broad meaning: religious initiative toward world-wide
Bases for Ecumenism
· John 17:21
Unity does not mean a loss of identity but a relationship
of sustaining love and complete obedience.
Like the unity Paul prayed for in Phil. 2:2 (same
mind, same love, of one accord, one mind…)
Mystery of God’s will = “gather up (unify)
all things in (Christ)” in heaven and earth
– refers to Christ’s breaking down dividing
wall between Gentiles and Jews into a “new humanity
who are not strangers/aliens but members of God’s
- Plurality is part of God’s design.
- Unity through interdependence and interconnectedness.
- Equality of the sexes.
- Partnership of humankind and with creation.
in Ecumenical Thinking
- From competition to cooperation of Christian denominations
- From condemnation to dialogue with other faiths
- From isolation to collaboration with civil society
- From disintegration to integrity of creation
Role of Librarians in Ecumenical Ministerial Formation
What is the role of the library in ecumenical ministerial
library has been compared/likened to:
- the soul of the community
- the mirror of the community
“show me what your books are and I will show
you who you are…”
- the window to the world…
“read books… will travel…”
now: search the web… will travel…
- the repository of important documents
“of history and of history-in-the-making…”
“one who does not look to one’s past will
not be able to move to the future…” –
“the past is what we see in front of us and
the future is what we cannot see” – Maori
- what else?
for a moment about your library resources. Which do
you have more of in terms of the following considerations?
- Dates of publication: 2001-2004; 1991-2000; 1981-1990;
1071-1980; 1961-1970; 1951-1960; 1950 and before.
- Continental representation of writers: America,
Europe, Africa, Asia, Pacific, Australia, ANZ, etc.
- Mode of acquisition: by purchase, free subscription,
donation, or hand-me-down books.
does this say of our libraries?
of 3 ‘average’ Asian seminary libraries
I am most familiar with:
- Majority of the books are old;
- Very small/few holdings;
- Majority of the books are written by Western authors/scholars;
- Majority of these books were given as donations
from missionaries or from Western seminary libraries.
does this say about these seminaries?
I am not saying that these old books are no good.
What I am saying is that these are not enough. Having
more of the old Western resources and not having any
from our own regions’ resources does not reflect
well of our seminaries. It means that our seminaries
are in poor health.
What is the role of librarians and archivists in ecumenical
From my readings I gathered that:
- They collect and preserve documents of kings and
priests (3000 BC)
- Guard precious ancient manuscripts (ecclesiastical
- As teachers of other fields
- Today – library science and librarianship.
According to Rita England, in addition to library
science and librarianship, librarians also must have
theological understanding and knowledge of Asian resource
the library is the ‘soul’ of the seminary
or the ‘window’ to the world, what is
the role of librarians today?
Collecting annual lectures and publishing them
Library service scheme – internal and external
Orientation to students on the use of library (teaching
Educator of the community – literacy and reading
capacity, promotion of cultural legacy, seminar on
using the library.
you had your way, what do you want to do to improve
the library? What is your dream of a good theological
· For librarians to be social mentors on various
issues; information specialists and “technocrats”
– up-to-date with technology.
· Groups of librarians with general knowledge,
are subject specialist librarians, and information
· Networking of librarians and libraries
· For the library to become a community library
– open to others, even of other faith –
an interfaith library?
for Asian and Pacific Librarians Today
are called to help open the window a little wider
- Proactive acquisition of up-to-date and contextually
- Proactive campaign among the faculty of new and
- Making links with other libraries, groups with online
resources and making these known to library users.
- Creating interest in new and relevant materials
– e.g. a ‘book review day’ each
- Facilitating and encouraging field research –
and exposing students to both qualitative as well
as quantitative types of research.
- Suggesting possible research topics to students.
- Facilitating the recording of oral history.
- Facilitating the collection of Asian and Pacific
resources – not only the scholarly resources
but also other expressions of folk tales, proverbs,
stories, art, music/songs, dance, drama, etc.
- Sharing information on the arrival of new theses
by Asian and Pacific writers to the wider network.
- Sharing information about current research and book
writing projects of professors and students with the
- Exchange of information about national journals…,
Sources of Resources in the Region:
The following list is not comprehensive or extensive
enough but I am quite familiar with these groups which
have very good resources for more contextual theologizing:
Christian Conference of Asia – reading the Bible
with new eyes (Asian eyes), promotion of Asian contextual
theologies, Catholic-Protestant cooperation, interfaith
- CTC Bulletin
- CCA News
- publications by various desks – GS, EGY, JID,
- joint publications with other groups – on
history, interfaith, etc.
www.cca.org.hk <resources> or firstname.lastname@example.org
Asian Women’s Resource Centre for Culture and
Theology – promotion of Asian feminist theologizing,
reading the Bible through women’s eyes.
- In God’s Image
- Alternative leadership
- Asian Feminist Theology modules, etc.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA) and
- DAGA Info (on-line)
- JustPeace newsletter
www.daga.org.hk or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme for Theologies and Cultures in Asia (PTCA)
- Journal of Theologies and Cultures in Asia
Asian Christian Higher Education Institute
email@example.com and www.asianinstitute.org
Theological Associations – ATESEA, etc.
World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region
- “Witnessing to our faith in the university”
- Leadership Training Modules (SELF)
- Young women doing theology
- Campus ministry
Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCA
Christian witness to the wider society…
- Leadership building, etc.
Asian Christian Art Association (ACAA) - very good
materials with Christian art done by Asian artists.
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com