The Church of Pakistan : St Thomas Theological College

THE CHURCH OF PAKISTAN: ST THOMAS THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE

St Thomas’ Theological College is the national seminary of the Church of Pakistan and is based in Karachi. Samuel Azariah, the former Moderator and Primate of the Church of Pakistan, serves as the chairman of the seminary and the Rev’d Dr Pervaiz Sultan is the Principal. USPG has supported the college ever since it was founded in 1987.

St Thomas’ is committed to theological education for all, and its programmes are aimed at training Pakistan’s future church leaders in a holistic manner. Its mission statement declares: ‘We exist to empower Christians of Pakistan through a meaningful study of Scripture and other components of Christian theology, thus building capacity of men and women of a calling and commitment for a broader participation in the ministry and mission of the Church.’

Prospective students are enrolled through a process whereby local university graduates who believe they are called to ministry share that with their local ministers who then approach their Bishops on their behalf with requests for them to be chosen as ordinands. St Thomas’ offers one-year certificates in a number of disciplines, aiming to cover every ministerial need a local church will have – everything from youth and women’s ministries to rehabilitation of drug addicts, inter-faith dialogue and mission work.

The present student body consists of 37 full-time students, and the college also runs evening classes for lay people who wish to learn theology. This is a three or four-year programme in preparation for a degree in Theological Education; a good starting block for ‘people in the pews’ who might want to consider training for non-formal ministry at some point in the future. In addition to the female full-time students training for ordained ministry, the college also runs weekly bible study for the wives of married male students. This is conducted by the principal’s wife, Mrs Ophelia Sultan.