The GTF has launched a collaborative initiative in Cuba, coordinating with ministry professionals in that country to offer GTF courses on-site for Cuban academics who are interested in furthering their theological training. In January, under the oversight of GTF faculty member, Rev. Dr. Jorge Colon, approximately 15 Cuban students, men and women engaged in pastoral activity and teaching,came together to participate in the following four courses.
- Fundamental Themes in Christian Theology
- Contemporary Theological Movements
- Prophecy in Crisis, Exile and Hope
- Methodology for Theological Research
Most of the students were well-trained in Hebrew and Greek, the biblical languages, and some were fluent in English. There was much hospitality and kindness on the part of the institution’s staff, and great cooperation and participation by the students, who are doctoral candidates with GTF.
Students and faculty shared meals, prayer, liturgies, reflections and, of course, excellent presentations. The final evaluation on the program by the students was very positive.
Group shot of some of the students and faculty taking part in the program in Cuba this January.
Rev. Dr. Jorge Colon, Rev. François-Xavier Durrwell, C.Ss.R., Professor of Theology
Students engaged in classroom instruction.
Following is a statement created by the students who are taking part in this initiative.
GTF Doctoral Program
The doctoral candidates for the Ph.D. program offered by the Graduate Theological Foundation (GTF) in Cuba, upon sharing our experiences and after finishing our first encounter, feel and declare that:
- Theological thinking should perfect Love and prepare us to bear fruit. (Philippians 1, 9-11): 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION)
- Doing Christian Theology from the Cuban perspective means to highlight the centrality of the Kingdom of God, here and now, starting out from the life and practice of our faith communities.
- In this action we proceed from the context, which will remain as a frame of reference and theological site for the different theologies in Cuba, immersed in a process of changes that generate uncertainties at the level of the whole society. Our work tries to address the ecclesial, ecumenical and social reality with a critical and transforming vision.
- Theological knowledge and training are not separated from the history, experience and practice of the faith in our Cuban context, because these are sources of theology.
- We seek a spirituality that is enriched by academic formation, communion and service. These tasks are not an end in themselves but have their reason for being in the Christian ministry and the transforming work of God.
- We celebrate our diversity as a divine gift, and we promote the integrity of creation and the fulness of life.
- We affirm hope, amid the Cuban reality, stemming from the Word of God, trying to be faithful in the following of Jesus.