Dear Supporters and Friends of PTS, Alumni, and Well-wishers,
This is my first letter to you after taking over as Interim Principal of PTS in August 2014. I would like to give you a few excerpts from the Principal’s Report on Graduation Day 2015, which highlights some news of the past year, with some additional current news.
God has been with us in this past year and we can truly say “Give thanks to the Lord, for his is good, his love endures forever’ (Ps 118:1). On our 43rd Graduation Day, we had the joy of sending out 24 students going out to serve the Lord. Most of them were going to serve Reformed and/ or Presbyterian churches.
ACADEMIC YEAR NEWS
The academic year started in July with a series of meaningful expositions by Rev. Dr. Simon Samuel, Principal of New Theological College Dehra Dun. His idea of the seminary of a seed bed that prepares lives to be nurtured was a great blessing to all of us. The Reformation Day was celebrated on 31 October. Our speaker this year was a guest teacher from the Netherlands, Rev. Arnout Francke. He spoke on the Reformation and its implications for mission. The lecture was followed by audience interaction.
Christmas Cantata : As usual, the Annual Christmas Cantata brought together Christians from Dehra Dun district to enjoy the singing. We are grateful to Mrs. Judy Chacko for this dedicated effort each year. The Winterfest, held in February, brought many from the local community to our campus. We are thankful for the cooperation and support we receive from all of you at such events.
Missions Focus : We were privileged to have Dr. Theodore Srivinasagam, General Secretary of India Missions Association (IMA) speak one evening in chapel. He gave us a challenge to engage in mission.
Talking of mission, the PTS Hindi Extension Program is going well in three strategic locations (Kanpur, Gurgaon, and Jabalpur) in north and central India, PTS trains grass roots level evangelists in Bible and Theology related subjects to give them a sound grasp of the gospel and its proclamation. In two centers the first graduates completed their courses and a new batch is enrolled already in one center. In this center we partner with a national evangelistic organization training their eager workers who are zealous for the gospel. Many of these evangelists are first generation Christians with a contagious excitement that makes the long and tedious journeys, the lack of proper rest while travelling, and other inconveniences that our faculty experience, seem insignificant in comparison to what the Lord is accomplishing through us.
Master of Theology (MTh) Program : To meet the need of qualified teachers for MDiv level teaching throughout the country, an MTh program in Old Testament and Missions, from an evangelical and Reformed perspective, is being developed under the able leadership of Dr. Mohan Chacko.
Buildings : Last year the campus buildings were painted, a parking area and a mess washing area constructed, as well as some repairs done. Similarly, our buildings in Green Valley also have got a facelift. We thank the De Verre Naasten (DVN), in Holland, for this generous help.
Board Members : We thank God for the committed men of God who serve on the Board of Directors of PTS. One of these men, Rev. David John, passed away last year. Rev. John served on the Board for over three decades. We thank God for his life, ministry, and contribution to the seminary.
Farewells : Transitions and farewells are painful, but sometimes necessary. This year we bid good-bye to several of our faculty members. Rev. Vijay Minz already left in April to join his wife in Germany. We will miss his warm personality on campus. Miss Joy Venning taught English for about one year at PTS. Ram Pan Mawia completed his M. Div at PTS and taught as an intern for 2 years. Both he and Joy helped in music. We were also sad to see Dr. Steve Griffin leave us. Dr. Griffin served as an Adjunct Faculty member for about 3 years. He faithfully visited PTS every week from Delhi and fulfilled his teaching commitments with dedication and consistency. In 2001 Rev. and Mrs. John Ellis, of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, Melbourne, came to work at PTS. Over the years, Rev. Ellis taught, preached, and ministered in other ways in the seminary. He served as Academic Dean and also Dean of Students. Mrs. Ellis served as the seminary nurse and did more than just give medicines. Students often considered her a second Mother to them. They plan to come in the future to help in short term ministry. We wish all these friends the Lord’s blessings in their future endeavors.
Welcome : We welcomed Rev Abhishek Barla as a faculty member in the Church and Ministry department. Rev Barla is a graduate of PTS and Hindustan Bible College. He also served a number of years as a Pastor at the Bangalore Presbyterian Church, Bangalore, and more recently as a church planter in Jharkhand. Abishek, his wife, Chin, also a graduate of PTS, and daughter Aradhana are a welcome addition to our community.
Our Ministry Partners : Our sincere thanks to many overseas partners like DVN, The PCAustralia, MTW, ARMA, and others, for their partnership in the gospel. We are also grateful to those who sponsored students and made a difference in their lives.
Faculty Update : We hope to welcome back to campus very soon Jeff Garrett and family, and also Ramesh and Maria Chand and children Sophia and Nadia. We are praying for more faculty members and above all for a Principal.
Principal’s Visit to US and Brazil : From March 10 to March 31, 2015, I visited the US and Brazil. My main purpose was to attend the General Assembly meeting of the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) in Sao Paulo, Brazil (March 23-28). En route I stopped in the US, especially in St. Louis and Washington, DC, to meet people who wanted to know more about PTS. In St Louis I met with Dr. Mark Dalbey, President of Covenant Seminary, who was very keen on restoring some long-forgotten links with PTS. My thanks to Dr. Owen Tarantino who made this visit a reality. In Washington DC, I had a wonderful time with former missionaries to PTS Dr. & Mrs. Bruce Fiol who were so excited to hear the seminary. In Sao Paulo, I was able to meet several key people from the Reformed community worldwide who showed a genuine interest in the ministry of PTS.
Dr.Ebenezer with Dr. Mark Dalbey, President of Covenant Seminary, St.Louis
Graduation 2015 and Strom Mission Lecture : The 43rd Graduation Service of PTS was held on 2nd May 2015 (Saturday) at the Young Strom Chapel on campus. Twenty four students graduated : two in Bachelor of Ministry, fourteen in Bachelor of Theology, and eight in Master of Divinity. The Rev. Dr. Ian Smith, Principal of Christ College, Sydney, Australia, addressed the graduating class on the theme: “The Keys of the Kingdom.” Two days prior to graduation, Rev. Kevin Murray was the speaker for this year’s Strom Mission Lecture. He presented a paper on “Mission, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.” The lecture was followed by a response by Dr. Mohan Chacko and questions from the audience. Rev. Murray is the National Director of the Australian Presbyterian World Mission (APWM).
Graduation 2015 was a great source of blessing : Twenty four students graduated to serve the Lord in different parts of India and Nepal. These young men and women will minister among youth, in training of women, in children’s ministry, in pastoral internships, as evangelists, as church planters, reaching out to college students, developing Christian leadership, as Bible teachers, in literature ministry, and seminary teaching. For more information about the graduates and where they would be serving please refer to the PTS Newsletter of May 2015
The Current Crisis : Your continued prayers and help are greatly appreciated. Please uphold the seminary as it goes through a time of financial crisis. We know the Lord has been faithful in the past, and He will be the same always. As we look to Him in faith, we remember that we are not alone; we are part of a greater family of believing friends, alumni, supporters, churches, and denominations who are praying with us. We thank the Lord for each one of you!
With many Blessings!
Dr. Matthew Ebenezer