Report on St Thomas’ Theological College, Karachi, Pakistan (1.12.14)
Article by college principal the Revd Dr Pervaiz Sultan.
St Thomas’ Theological College, sited on the premises of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi, belongs to the Church of Pakistan – but we also believe that theology is for all, and believe we have been a blessing to our city for many years.
We pray constantly for the city of Karachi and for our country. In the midst of turmoil in Pakistani society, we stand for peace, spirituality and love. God has blessed all, and we are confident to remain in his blessings.
We are a small but active community. Over the last year we have had four full-time and three-part time faculty members, and we have welcomed visiting professors.
We have 25 full-time students training in theology at present. We also have 35 part-time students (men and women) who attended our evening theology programme three days a week – of which 25 completed the full course successfully. And we have 10 priests studying on our in-service programme.
The range of training we offer in teaching, preaching, leadership formation, writing and other skills has had a far-reaching effect. We take in students from all dioceses in Pakistan, plus other evangelical churches and para-church organisations. We work particularly closely with Karachi and Hyderabad Dioceses helping in pastoral and academic activities. In addition, we have a close link with Karachi Diocese’s drug rehabilitation programme, and we venture out into the community to offer theological education in local churches.
Our commitment in all our endeavours is to promote understanding of a holistic theology of mission and ministry. This includes studies in development theory alongside investigation of diverse theological approaches, church history and biblical languages.
Meet some of the students
The following snapshots of a number of our students might offer an insight into the motivations and aspirations of our students.
Jerald John is the son of a priest who was himself trained by St Thomas’s principal Dr Pervaiz Sultan. Jerald would like to join the priesthood and eventually become a professor of the Old Testament.
Farayd is an electrician by profession. He left his job to train to become a pastor in Karachi Diocese. He is concerned about splits in the church and is committed to promoting unity and harmony.
Shamaun received his parents’ blessings to train as a priest when he was aged just 16. He has a sound commitment to learn and practise theology and grow as a minister.
Cornelius formerly has a job at McDonald’s. His desire is to be a worthy disciple of Christ and serve as Christ’s servant.
Jerald, Farayd, Shamaun and Cornelius are all in their first year, having started at St Thomas’ after making their mark while teaching with the Church of Pakistan.
In the second year, Kamran Younis was formerly a school teacher, and holds a Masters in business and administration. He is passionate about teaching and preaching and says St Thomas’ has taught him a great deal about theology and biblical interpretation.
Also in the second year, Kiran Sohail is one of our two female students. She lives off premises, travelling 12 km to reach the college. Kiran appreciates the stances that St Thomas’ has taken on gender equality, and is hopeful of working as a lay person to promote religious education for women and children especially.
Tahir Pervaiz is a third year student from Peshawar Diocese, where he is a member of All Saints Church, which was the target of a bombing by extremists which killed over 100 people in September 2013. Tahir is highly disciplined in life and in his studies, and is confident of developing his learning in theology and preaching skills.
Alongside solid biblical and theological teaching, we trust that all of our students are benefiting from exposure to a respectful learning atmosphere that fosters ministerial and personal development.