By Caitlin Barton – Communications, Development, and Administrative Associate – OMSC@PTS
It was with great thanksgiving that we welcomed our first group of Global Partners to the PTS campus in August. This year they hail from Australia/China, India, Indonesia, Jordan/South Korea, Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria, Tanzania/Sweden/UK. Many of these local and cross-cultural church leaders, scholars, educational administrators, and our artist in residence have been waiting since the beginning of the pandemic to come, so their arrival has felt even more momentous.
After settling into Payne Hall, where our global partners reside, they started off the year by joining PTS’s International Student Orientation. This was a great way to get to know each other as well as the new international students at the seminary. We also had our own orientation to learn the 100-year history of OMSC, discover the amazing resources available on campus, and get acquainted with the Princeton area.
We later gathered to share how God has called us to our specific ministries and work. It was quite touching to hear how God has worked to bring us together from such diverse contexts. On another occasion everyone shared the research projects they’ll be working on this year. Projects range from books on Biblical translation, research into interfaith dialogue in Indonesia and Myanmar, advancing Benedictine education in Nigeria, analysis of patterns in the kinship systems of tribal India, exploring contemporary African Christianity and missionary movements in the context of world Christianity, and more! We can’t wait to share more about each one’s vital work as projects come to fruition.
In September, we began our monthly tradition of breaking bread together with an American style cook-out complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and brownies. Dr. Hastings even donned a chef’s hat for the occasion! In October we gathered for dinner again and had a potluck where we each brought a traditional dish from our respective countries. We enjoyed tasting a range of cuisines, from kimbap and spring rolls to channa masala and Chin traditional soup. These times are also open to visiting scholars from other seminary departments, and we’ve loved getting to know them as well.
As the semester has progressed, the group has gotten more and more blended within the campus and local communities. This has included participating in the seminary’s chapel on numerous occasions and visiting Hopewell United Methodist Church together for Celebration Sunday.
We’re also thankful to have resumed our seminar series with a new focus. Instead of presenting the same topics each year, we’re tailoring our seminar program to the specific research interests of our Global Partners. We started off with Father Joseph Cheah and Dr. David Moe presenting on Christian Mission and Christian-Buddhist Dialogue in South Asia. These three-day seminars will be live streamed starting in November with Dr. Moses Biney discussing “African Diaspora Mission in North America: Challenges and Opportunities.” For more information and to participate online, please check our seminar series page.
Please pray for the transition and well-being of each of our Global Partners and their family members, here and at home; that home sickness or physical sickness won’t hinder anyone’s progress. Please also pray for the various situations in their home countries, especially those coming from sites of violent conflict, that God would use their work here to further His kingdom in their local contexts.