A Briefing Note
In 2001 at Kanuga, the Primates established the first Theological Education Working Party which concluded its work at Canterbury in 2002.
A new Working Group was set up by the Primates at Canterbury under the chairmanship of Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables; this group became known as ‘Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC, pronounced ‘Teek’). TEAC recognised that what was needed is not more theorising but higher standards of theological learning throughout the Churches of the Communion. It recognised that this could be developed by focusing attention on four broad bands of Anglican disciples:
This is the basis of four Target Groups.
TEAC also recognised the need to understand and appreciate the ethos of being an Anglican and doing theology as an Anglican as an important contribution to the wholeness of the Church, so that became a fifth Target Group, ‘The Anglican Way’.
The members of TEAC were nominated by the Primates and are drawn from most of the provinces of the Communion, its work is guided by a Steering Group which meets about five times a year and it is accountable to the Primates’ Meeting. Clare Amos, Director of Theological Studies on the Anglican Communion Staff, who joined TEAC as its administrator in 2003 is now its Secretary, and Robert Paterson is now its Vice-chair.
In 2003, TEAC was asked to produce a Rationale* for its work – an explanation of why Theological Education must be a priority in a suffering world. This was welcomes by the Primates’ Meeting in Dromantine. Please make use of this document.
In 2005, TEAC concluded that all Bishops in the Communion should be asked to sign up to four basic Principles* of Theological Education. It is hoped that you feel able to take these principles back to your province and ask your Bishops to sign up to these fundamental principles. (The Principles can also be found on the website.) At the same time, TEAC was working on a series of Grids* appropriate to each of its Target Groups. These are very simple to read. Just look at the row across the top of the page and you will notice that the content of the boxes develops chronologically; for instance, in the case of the Laity, from before Baptism to mature adult discipleship. Then look at the left-hand column down the page and you will find a series of themes; so, in the case of the Laity again, you will see that the first box (A1) in the left column is ‘Commitment’. Now follow the boxes across the page (A2-A5) and you will see what it is hoped should be achieved by each stage. These so-called ‘outcomes’ can be delivered in the most appropriate way for your own context – the method of delivery is for your own province or national church to decide.
Thanks to generous donations, TEAC has been able to provide consignments of books on the subject of the Anglican Way* to a number of theological colleges or seminaries across the world. We will be doing more intensive work on the Anglican Way when a consultation is held in Singapore during May 2007. It is expected that the work TEAC is doing will be able to make a significant contribution to the Lambeth Conference in 2008.
All the TEAC papers referred to above and others may be found on the Anglican Communion website at www.aco.org/ministry/theological/teac/docs/ Please make free use of all of them.