Theology on the National Stage

Very Rev Prof Timothy Nyasulu, Chair of Trustees, Theological Society, presents the first book published by TSM Press
to HE President Lazarus Chakwera

A President’s diary is always very full, so the Theological Society of Malawi was highly honoured that President Lazarus Chakwera took time on Thursday to officially launch the new association. This gives a clear signal that the Society intends to play its part on the national stage. Now it has to live up to the expectations it has set.

It is a child of the covid time. After six months of closure, many educational institutions were demoralised. The meeting of what was to become the Theological Society at Nkhoma Mission in September 2020 lit a small candle in the darkness. 

A year later, by the time it met again at the Ekwendeni campus of the University of Livingstonia, it was ready to adopt a Constitution, confirm the appointment of trustees and elect its Executive Committee. So the Society got underway as a functional reality. The new Executive Committee set about formalising its existence by meeting all the legal requirements. Meanwhile, the proceedings of the two conferences went through a rigorous process to create two books that showcase what the Society has to offer to theological education in Malawi.

The educational landscape is going through a dramatic transformation, particularly at tertiary level. Student numbers have multiplied many times over. New infrastructure has been developed in many different places around the country. Existing faculties have expanded, and new faculties have been created. There is, however, a risk in this rapid expansion – it could become very fragmented, with people working in different corners without knowing what their colleagues elsewhere are doing. Academic work thrives on collaboration, not fragmentation. 

This is where the TSM can play its particular role by bringing together the many different institutions and individuals who are engaged in theological teaching and research. They have much to learn from each other and this is what the Society aims to facilitate. Its task is to raise the standard of teaching in all of its member institutions and to drive forward theological research through fostering collaboration.

Other countries have benefitted from having national academies devoted to advancing a particular discipline – through conference, through publication, through shared projects. Buoyed by the energy and commitment of its members, the TSM aims to introduce such a forum to the Malawi scene. It is early days, but they are full of promise.

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