Trinity Grad New Vice Chancellor at Uganda Christian University

It’s no secret that Trinity grads are working all over the world. From Kazakhstan to Peru to Kampala, Uganda. That’s where John Senyonyi (MA ’92) has just received an invitation to become the new vice-chancellor at Uganda Christian University.

Senyonyi is more than an administrator in higher education, however. Kamapala’s English daily, New Vision, writes, “He is also the founding director of Family Life Network and the chairman of the mission committee of African’s Evangelistic Enterprise.” In addition to his theology training at TEDS, Senyonyi also has a PhD in mathematical statistics from the University of Melbourne, in Australia. Senyonyi also writes a column, Me and My God, for the student newspaper.

During his tenure, Senyonyi says he’ll be upgrading the school’s library and science facility’s for Uganda Christian University’s 10,000 students. “The responsibility I am undertaking is one I am convinced God has cut-out for me. But I need everyone’s prayers to know rightly what God wants me to do,” Senyonyi says.

PS: The Ugandan capital of Kampala was rocked by several bombs detonated by Muslim terrorists from Somalia last night, which killed at least 74 people. No word as to how UCU or its students were affected, but certainly prayers are warranted for the city.

Dr. Priest in the Wall Street Journal

Dr. Robert PriestTrinity professor Robert Priest is referenced in the latest Wall Street Journal Houses of Worship column, “How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire.” Author Brad Greenberg writes about the decline in missions—or rather the decline in missions that include evangelization. “The overwhelming majority of American missionaries today are ‘vacationaries.’ Joining mission trips of two weeks or less, they serve in locales where Christianity already predominates,” Greenberg writes. “The purpose, then, of their visit is to battle the ills of poverty and to stretch their own spirituality.”

Greenberg then refers to studies by Priest in which he finds, “82% of short-term missions today go to countries in the most-Christian third of the world. Only 2% land in the Middle East.”

In other words, short term mission trips are not about the people being visited but the visitors. The trend toward providing physical care without spiritual care attached to it is also a part of longer term missions work. “Christians today typically travel abroad to serve others, but not necessarily to spread the gospel.”

An extensive discussion of this issue between Trinity’s Robert Priest and Calvin College professor Kurt Ver Beek is available at Christianity Today. In the discussion, Priest warns about the effect that funding short term missions (STM) can have on career missionaries. Using the justification that a mission trip will benefit others, it can be simply an excuse to fund a youth outing.

A case could be made that many American congregations and youth ministry programs have discovered a way to fund programs that benefit their own congregations’ memberships much more consistently than those they ostensibly serve (while in the process making the challenge of funding the career missionary enterprise more difficult). It raises uncomfortable questions about whose interests are truly being served when the rhetoric justifying the funding of STM stresses results in the lives of those being served, while virtually all research by STM leaders has focused on the benefits to the short-term missionaries and their congregations.

These are tough questions of course, ones that the Trinity community is seeking to engage.

Read the entire WSJ story, “How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire.” →

Alum Manuel V. Scott Speaking at NEA Leadership Conference

Manuel V. Scott speaking before a crowd.

Manuel Scott (MDiv ’07), a TEDS alum and an Original Freedom Writer, will be the keynote speaker at the National Education Association Leadership Conference in New Orleans this month.

The Sun Herald reports,

“When I speak, I am absolutely committed to make sure that audiences are crystal clear about how to transform their classrooms, departments, or organizations.” Scott’s presentation, Leadership in the Face of Adversity—We Can Overcome Anything With the Right Support, will light a big fire under aspiring future teachers after the recent explosive debates over reforming America’s worst-performing schools ignited in Rhode Island where the Central Falls High School staff was fired for failing to do their jobs.

Manuel has appeared on “The View” with Barbara Walters and on “Nightline” and delivered the keynote address for the Lions Clubs International Convention in Hong Kong, and inspired a coliseum of twelve thousand delegates from 192 countries. He also delivered the keynote address to 100,000 people for San Antonio’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. His story as an Original Freedom Writer was portrayed in the 2007 film Freedom Writers.

Check out Manuel Scott’s website →

Trinity Alum Seeking Immigration Reform with the NAE

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is running a full-page ad in the Washington, D.C. newspaper Roll Call on Thursday, May 12, 2010 to rally support for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States.  Galen Carey (BA ’76, MDiv ’80), director of government affairs for the NAE was interviewed by Yahoo! News about the initiative.

The association, which includes members from 40 evangelical denominations, reached consensus on the issue of immigration reform in 2009 — almost two years after President George W. Bush’s failed attempts to reform immigration — by focusing on the biblical material that supports immigration. (The group took no official stand on the issue during the last congressional debate.) The group’s 2009 resolution on immigration includes several paragraphs citing scriptural authority:

“Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the families of his sons turned to Egypt in search of food,” it says. “Joseph, Naomi, Ruth, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther all lived in foreign lands. In the New Testament, Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to escape Herod’s anger and became refugees in Egypt.”

Read the whole story on Yahoo! News →