The Global Impact of Trinity School for Ministry
by the Rev. Christopher Klukas
Last year, the Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry facilitated the process of creating a new Vision Statement for Trinity. The statement declares that “…we desire to be a global center for Christian Formation…” This international focus is vital to our identity, and we try to live it out in a number of ways. For instance, all of our Master of Divinity students are required to go on a short term, cross cultural mission trip as a part of their program. We also seek to bring new international students to our campus each year. In doing this, we are able to open the eyes of all of our students, helping them to see how big and diverse the Church really is. As a result, many of our alumni choose to work overseas doing mission work.
This global focus is quite apparent as you travel around the world and see the many ministries in which Trinity Alumni are engaged. One great example of this is the Tumaini Academy in Sololo, Northern Kenya. The idea for this school came through a friendship between two seminarians in the Fall of 2008, the Rev. Qampicha Daniel Wario (MAR 2010) from Kenya, and Janet Helms from Pittsburgh. Noticing the Islamic influence on the government schools in Northen Kenya, Qampicha felt the need to provide a Christian alternative in this poor nomadic area. Together, Janet and Qampicha (with the help of some other Trinity students and the Rev. Canon Dr. John Macdonald) set up a non-profit organization called the Kenya Christian Education Partnership (KCEP) as a way to raise funds for the initiative.
On January 10, 2011, the school opened and began to offer classes for about 70 children. Now there are 140 students, and two new classrooms have been built. Construction for the rest of the school is ongoing, but the hope is to eventually offer education from kindergarten through the seventh grade. Janet Helms rejoices that “In one short year, we have seen significant changes in the children by their improved comprehension, demeanor, and Christian witness as they embrace this opportunity for a Christian education. It has changed not only the children, but their families and even the community.” Three mission teams from Trinity have already visited the school as a part of the “cross cultural experience” that is required of every MDiv student. Much of the financial support that has made this ministry possible has come from Trinity alumni and their congregations.
Another educational initiative that is making an impact for the sake of the Gospel is the Saints Augustine Seminary in Peru. The Revs. Allen (MAR 1996) and Rachel (MAME 1999) Hill first met each other at Trinity and later married. After their graduation they felt a call to minister together in Peru. When they arrived, one of the main needs was to raise up more indigenous leaders for the diocese. They determined that the best way to accomplish this would be to build a seminary to train those who felt called to ordained or lay ministry. They began to offer classes at the Arequipa campus in 2000. Because of the success of this first campus, they opened a second campus in Lima in 2005. Through the training offered at these two campuses, and via their new online program, the diocese has been able to quadruple the number of clergy, lay leaders, and missions. Allen comments that, “The solid biblical and theological education I received at Trinity is the foundation of all that I teach today. In addition, it was at Trinity that I was inspired and equipped to become a missionary in the first place.”
Betsy Hake (LS 1983) has lived in Honduras since the early 1980s. After working with a church planting team in Tegucigalpa in the early ’90s, she was led to begin Jericho Ministries to reach out to prostitutes: getting them off the streets and helping them learn to work with hand crafts which can be sold to bring them income. Because many of these prostitutes come to her with children, Betsy now has a kids ministry as well.
In addition to these traditional forms of missionary work, there are also a growing number of Trinity alumni and former faculty members who serve as Bishops and even two alumni Archbishops. These are people who have taken their Trinity educations and used them to lead entire dioceses and provinces all over the world.
This international vision isn’t something new; rather it is something that has been a part of the school from the very beginning. Trinty’s first Dean and President, the Rt. Rev. Alfred Stanway, served as a CMS missionary in Tanzania for most of his adult life. When he moved to Pittsburgh to begin Trinity School for Ministry, he brought his love of global mission with him. As Bp. Stanway worked to develop Trinity’s culture and ethos, he built his missionary zeal into the very roots of the school.
A decade later, in 1989, the Stanway Institute for World Mission and Evangelism was founded to equip future missionaries and church planters, and to make sure that the Great Commission of our Lord was never far from the hearts and minds of Trinity’s faculty and students. Reflecting on Trinity’s global focus, The Rev. Canon Dr. John Macdonald (MDiv 1986), current Director of the Stanway Institute, remarked, “Our graduates literally have gone to the ends of the earth. This little seminary in Ambridge has had a much greater impact than I think many people are aware of.”