Deaths affect seminary training programmes


THREE deaths in two years has affected the academic programme to train theologians at Martin Luther Seminary in Lae, principal Dr Michael  Rupulga says.
The two main partners in the Lutheran Church organisations, the Evangelical (ELC-PNG) and Gutnius (GLC-PNG), need to look critically into the faculty development programme in training more theologians, he said.
The seminary is unable to replace the vacuum created after the deaths of its three highly- qualified academics Dr Zirajukic Kemung,  Rodney Dali and  James Agusave within two years.
“The Lutheran church in PNG is over 130 years old but never performed enough in training highly qualified theologians with doctoral and master’s degrees in theology.
“It has produced only four doctorates in theology and fewer than 20 Masters degree holders: Two of the four doctoral degree holders were the late Wesley Kigasung and  Kemung,” Rupulga said.
He said church was facing complications.
“Where there are no pastors preaching and teaching the Gospel and administering the holy sacraments to humanity that congregate and we call this a church,” he said.
“Church cannot exist without seminaries training pastors. Hence, we need a serious look into the issue affecting seminaries and its academic strength.”
Rupulga urged the church to take ownership of the faculty development plan in academic training by raising its own funding and providing scholarships to qualified candidates to do masters and doctorates.
“We can no longer depend on our overseas partner churches for everything anymore; we are mature, more than 130 years old, we need some drastic changes to sustain the need in our church” Rupulga said.
He said that producing qualified pastors like  Kemung meant dealing conscientiously with various issues incited by science and technology affecting the society such as sorcery, the death penalty, drug abuse, bribery, corruption in high offices, nepotism, breakdown in marriages, same sex marriages and unemployment.