15-19 August 2022, Kyiv, Ukraine
We, the representatives of the Eastern European Institute of Theology (L'viv, Ukraine), Kremenchuk Evangelical Seminary (Kremenchuk, Ukraine), Odesa Theological Seminary (Odesa, Ukraine), Tavrian Christian Institute (Kherson, Ukraine), Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (Kyiv, Ukraine), University Divitia Gratia (Chisinau, Moldova), and Transcarpathian Christian Institute (Khust, Ukraine) gathered on August 15-19, 2022, together with our international partners Overseas Council-United World Mission, ScholarLeaders International, and Langham Partnership in Kyiv for the consultation "Theological Education after Bucha."
Bucha was a flourishing satellite town near Kyiv. Together with Irpin and Hostomel, it became the battlefield during the first weeks of the invasion. The inhabitants of these towns experienced extreme levels of violence, including mass shootings of civilians, rapes, pillaging, and demolition of the property. For us, Bucha symbolizes war crimes and senseless atrocities against civilians. A visit to Irpin, Bucha, and Hostomel during the consultation was one of the highlights. We witnessed the war's scars on these towns, but we also observed the slow restoration process. That is why Bucha is a sign of resilience and hope for us. By speaking about theological education after Bucha, we want to emphasize this new context in which we find our theological educational institutions. We want to be the instruments of God's Kingdom in this new context.
Our consultation was in the spirit of openness, sincerity, humility, mutual respect, and vulnerability. Its primary purpose was to discuss this newly emerged context of theological education in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We also planned to set the contours of future partnerships in theological education in the region and chart the possible course of action for the near future.
During the consultation, we shared our war experiences, disclosing our traumas, pain, deep hope, and longing for the restoration of a just peace. We shared new ways our institutions are ministering to the needs of the Church and society with the help of international partners. We discussed the new issues and challenges caused by the war. In particular, we are concerned about the disruption of regular academic processes and encouraged by its slow restoration. We are disturbed by the decline of enrolment due to waves of refugees and internally displaced people. We discussed how to deal with the fatigue of the faculty and staff and thought of ways to help them return from involvement in humanitarian projects to their calling to be theological educators. We also discussed possible avenues for partnerships of theological institutions in the region.
We are resolved to continue working to develop theological education in our part of the world for the sake of God's Kingdom and the needs of the neighbors. Therefore, we agreed to organize several strategic meetings to make a progress in this area:
Before October 5, we will share additional information and ideas with you regarding the consultative and constitutive meetings. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.