Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seminary Observations

The difficulty in making observations about my seminary experience is that these observations, however carefully phrased, are in danger of being taken as criticism by some readers. I don't want to be critical about SMMS for a number of reasons, some of which are:

1. SMMS is a fascinating and challenging cultural mix of people. I should think that it is a fairly good representative sample of the South African population in terms of race groups, if not quite language groups. There is no cut and dried way of dealing with this diversity. I believe that if SMMS can figure it out this could be transferred to the Methodist Church and ultimately to the country. This figuring out is not a painless process.

2. The senior staff at the seminary are ordained ministers and are there because they have been stationed there by the church, not because they chose to be there (as far as I know). They don't have experience in running a seminary and are having to work really hard at learning how to do it while doing it. There are naturally teething problems.

3. It seems to me that seminary management or government has four main parts. These are administrative, property, academic and pastoral. Each of these could be a department headed up by a senior person, but at the moment SMMS does not have that number of senior staff. Hopefully there will be a lightening of burdens there already in 2011.

I guess I see an enormous amount of potential in SMMS. I also see the challenges. For the moment, I am but a humble seminarian (well, trying to be humble!), watching the whole thing develop around me.

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