A dedication service was held to mark the official launch of the CWM’s first Theological Education for an Economy of Life (TEEL) Master of Theology programme on 26 January 2023 at the Union Theological Seminary (UTS), Philippines. Among those in attendance were the pioneer batch of students from various regions around the world, who took part in the dedication service via pre-recorded video.
During the service, CWM General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum expressed profound thanks to UTS for their support to pilot and host the online Master of Theology (MTh) degree, which responds to an increasing need by CWM member churches to educate young theologians and church leaders to work towards an inclusive, alternative, life-flourishing economy.
Dr Keum said: “CWM’s TEEL Programme is forming part of CWM’s efforts to fulfil its missional agenda as it works with member churches and ecumenical partners to create life-flourishing communities reflecting ecological integrity and climate justice.”
“This TEEL Curriculum has been developed with a view to equip our young people to be critical of the current economic systems and embraces an Economy of Life. It is concerned about justice and seeks to build an economic order that respects human dignity, encourages solidarity and mutual accountability and serves the common good,” Dr Keum added. He also encouraged the first batch of TEEL MTh students training to become ambassadors for economies of life, before presenting a memento to UTS President Dr Eleazar Fernandez.
“I am excited and grateful that CWM contacted and engaged with us, along with other religious leaders from other parts of the world on the topic of Economy of Life Curriculum,” said Dr Fernadez in his speech.
“What we are going to launch today is a product of the work of many over a period of time. But this launch is only a moment in the journey of TEEL. As a pilot for TEEL, I hope and pray that UTS will be able to embody well the vision of TEEL and share and inspire others to accept the challenge to share TEEL in their own context,” Dr Fernandez added.
TEEL arose from CWM’s commitment to the Ecumenical Action Plan for a New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA), a process emerging from the Global Ecumenical Conference on a NIFEA organised by CWM, WCC, WCRC and LWF* in Brazil, 2012. After a series of preparatory meetings and developing tactical plans, the Theological Education Team on Economy of Life (TETEL) developed the TEEL curriculum, which aims to equip students to understand and critique the current economic system and to offer an alternative rooted in the economics of abundance and life.
The first batch of students of the TEEL Master of Theology (Mth) Programme was admitted and began their studies in November 2022.
* World Council of Churches (WCC), World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
Dated 30 January 2023