A Farewell, and a Welcome
At the end of April, SATS bids a sad farewell to Dr Reuben van Rensburg, Principal at the Seminary since 2006, as he enters retirement. He is succeeded by Dr Kevin Smith, who has been at SATS since 2004. He writes of Reuben: “Under his leadership, SATS grew from a relatively small correspondence institution to a globally respected online Seminary with 2,900 students in 75 countries, including the largest evangelical PhD programme in the Global South. Reuben is a man of uncompromising integrity with an unwavering commitment to the truth of Scripture, and an undying passion for quality theological training.”
Please join with us as we pray for Reuben, as he enters this new chapter of his life and ministry; he and his wife, Bev, are relocating to the Eastern Cape. Also, please pray with us for Kevin as he enters his new role at the helm of SATS, under God’s guidance and enabling.
In the picture: (left to right) The former Principal and founder of SATS, Dr Christopher Peppler; The incumbent Principal, Dr Reuben van Rensburg; and his successor, Dr Kevin Smith.
Getting Ready for Term 2
A reminder to all our students that Term 2 starts on the 1st of May. Please note that the cut-off date for payment of all term fees is by the 5th of May. We pray that the Lord will bless you, protect you, enrich and equip you as you start with your new courses.
The New Courses You Asked For
In response to feedback from our alumni and students, SATS has developed several new courses. The following new courses are on offer in 2018, to help equip our students in areas of need they have identified in ministry:
Term 1: (already launched!)
MIS4122 – Understanding Islam
PRA2124 – Children at Risk
MIS4121 – Missiology
MIS4123 – Critiquing Islam
BIB4123 – Ephesians
PRA1125 – The Imperative of Children’s Ministry
THE4123 – Child Theology
Looking back on Graduation Week
This year, SATS had an exceptionally busy week leading up to the Graduation Ceremony (held on Saturday 14th April). With many staff, students, ministry partners and friends of the Seminary flying in from all over the world, SATS hosted a series of events to capitalise on the time we had together.
On the Monday, nearly 40 staff (and some of their children) had a day of team-building, food and fellowship at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, Gauteng.The following morning, the staff met at the Lonehill Village Church in Johannesburg. The morning programme consisted of a teamwork training workshop, and in the afternoon the staff were joined by friends and family at a Farewell Luncheon for Dr Reuben van Rensburg.
For the two days prior to the Graduation Ceremony, SATS academic staff and partnership representatives met at the Good News Convention Centre near Krugersdorp for the SATS Annual Academic Retreat. Dr Manfred Kohl, Special Ambassador of Overseas Council, was the keynote speaker at the Retreat. Drs Reuben van Rensburg and Kevin Smith led the morning devotions, and Dr Johannes Malherbe facilitated the academic meetings and discussions.
SATS Graduation 2018
The 2018 Graduation Ceremony of the South African Theological Seminary saw not only a record number of graduating students, but also the largest group of graduates in attendance, in the history of the Seminary. The cohort of Doctoral graduates, alone, hailed from Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Canada, Benin, Finland, Ghana and Congo. Dr Reuben van Rensburg presented the State of the Seminary Address, and the Student Speaker, Mr Shoadi Ditaunyane, led the gathering in a rousing speech. Besides the awarding of the Higher Certificates and Degrees, SATS also had the pleasure of presenting the Frederick Buechner Annual Awards for Excellence in Preaching and Writing, respectively.
We praise and thank God for seeing every one of our graduates through their journey with SATS, and pray that He will put their training to good use in service to his Church and His Kingdom. To all our students who graduated: hearty congratulations! Your hard work and diligence has paid off.
Manfred Kohl: Fellow of the South African Theological Seminary
The highest honour that the South African Theological Seminary can bestow on anyone is to name him/her a Fellow of the South African Theological Seminary. This award is made to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to theological education – either internationally, or locally. At the 2018 Graduation Ceremony, SATS made this prestigious award for only the third time in its history. On this occasion, the award was made to Dr Manfred Kohl, to whom Dr Reuben van Rensburg referred as “a giant in theological education… I am convinced that there are very few people in the world who know more about theological education than he does.”
After serving as a pastor of a church in Massachusetts for some years, Manfred served with World Vision for 17 years in West Africa, German-speaking Europe, and then with their worldwide ministry. Since 2008, he has served as the Special Ambassador of Overseas Council, with whom he has served in various capacities since 1994. In his ministry with Overseas Council and World Vision, it is estimated that Manfred has visited more Seminaries (476 in 165 countries) than any other person. He has also been a good friend and passionate promoter of SATS for many years, and was the guest speaker at this year’s Graduation Ceremony.
Introducing: Lindiwe Sibisi
Those who have visited or called SATS recently will have met a new, friendly welcoming member of the staff family at SATS. We bid a warm welcome to Lindiwe Sibisi, our new Receptionist, who joined the team earlier this month.