I am very pleased to be coming again to Trinity this fall. Visits to Trinity are always energizing and refreshing! It is reassuring to see how the founding vision has been retained and enhanced. As many people know, the origins of Trinity lie in a desire to take the gospel to the whole world, including the neediest and hardest places in North America itself.
While Bishop Alfred Stanway’s legacy is being faithfully upheld, the missionary challenges for the Church to continue to change. We have to keep asking, “What does the Lord require of us in this place and at this time?” I hope to address this question —concerning Christ, Culture, and Context—during my visit. We need to relate to the cultures around us both gratefully, as they are God-given gifts, and critically, as they are limited and fallen. In doing this, we must bring the horizon of the Bible, God’s Word written, to relate to the horizon of culture. More than this, we should make sure that in our mission and ministry, the whole weight of the Apostolic Teaching, down through the ages, is brought to bear on our response to human culture. Contrary to the here-and-now wisdom of revisionists, we have much to learn from the saints in other ages, as well as from our brothers and sisters in other cultures both far and near. Cultivating relationships among our global neighbors is more important than ever, as biblical truth and evangelical and catholic faith are flourishing and being defended in the majority world. Not only that, these neighbors have shown themselves steadfast and faithful by coming to the aid of orthodox believers, churches, and dioceses in North America in their hour of need.
It is clear that Trinity takes seriously the transmission of the whole counsel of God in its formation of those studying here. Yet this formation is only complete when it presses the students toward the missionary task of communicating the gospel to the unreached around us and beyond. This is where Trinity’s history and commitments are so important. If we are to equip the worldwide Church for these tasks, we need thriving partnerships wherever the Lord leads us to work.
To this end, Trinity has been developing significant partnerships with theological institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as nearer home. The partnership with the Christian Institute in Jos is vital for developing leadership in a part of Nigeria which is under severe pressure from Islamist expansion. The relations with the Alexandria School of Theology in Egypt are developing towards a genuine mutuality, where Trinity faculty and students can both give and receive, particularly in the area of relations with Islam and reaching Muslims with the good news of Jesus. Emerging relationships with the Lahore College of Theology in Pakistan and Holy Cross Theological College in Myanmar will help in the further development of these important institutions. At the same time, Trinity’s commitment to North America is shown in their support of theological education in the Diocese of the Arctic in Canada and the reopening of the Arthur Turner Training School there. A number of more local partnerships allows Trinity to reach both near and far.
Nor is this all. The presence of many international students on campus, the diverse DMin population, and a host of visiting scholars and speakers from around the globe all reveal Trinity’s continuing commitment to the mission and ministry of the worldwide Church. As a visitor myself this fall, I look forward to learning more about how Trinity is enriching and being enriched through its partnerships for the sake of the gospel.
Editor’s Note: We were pleased to have The Rt. Rev. Nazir-Ali as our guest at Trinity School for Ministry’s Ambridge campus in September.