The Council for World Mission (CWM) has come up with a Theological Education for an Economy of Life (TEEL) Curriculum. CWM commissioned a team of scholars from Africa, Asia, USA, Europe and the Caribbean to design it. For its pilot implementation, CWM has partnered with Union Theological Seminary, Philippines in offering a Master of Theology (MTh) degree.

This curriculum emanates from a New International Financial and Economic Architecture (NIFEA) education process that was initiated by the CWM after the Sao Paulo Ecumenical Conference in 2012. This conference that was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), The Council for World Mission, The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), resulted in a joint statement on the global Financial and Economic system that is based on death and not life.

The economic and financial system was rejected as exploitative and destructive to God’s Creation and the commons. The Sao Paulo statement emphasized the need for an Economy of Life. Following the statement an ecumenical action plan was prepared by a global ecumenical panel of experts spelling out changes that need to be done at the international and local levels by churches, governments, and international institutions. Part of the action plan was the need for critical education on this subject among the churches. CWM took upon itself to engage its churches in all regions through 12 NIFEA colloquia from 2015 to 2019.

After completion of the colloquia there was increased demand by the churches to educate young theologians and church leaders on the subject in a systematic and organized education system. This TEEL curriculum has been developed with a view of moving away from the current conventional system of education to that which will be liberating our young people to embrace an Economy of Life.

The Aim of the Curriculum

The TEEL curriculum is composed of three units as follows:

Unit 1Discerning the Signs of the times and Analyzing the current system
Unit 2Exploring and Engaging Alternatives to the Economy of Death
Unit 3Rising to Life: Living out the New Heaven and New Earth

The aim of the TEEL curriculum is to produce graduates with certificates, diplomas, and degrees in Economy of Life. Postgraduate studies could also be enhanced but short courses could also be developed on the subject for church leaders.  The Curriculum is designed to create critical minds and it is hoped that the syllabi that will be developed under each of the three units will be consistent with the main purpose of producing critical thinkers and doers.  In each of the three units, modules have been put in place and what students are expected to acquire in terms of skills and knowledge. Participatory learning process is emphasized and the search for alternatives is highly recommended.

The pilot implementation with Union Theological Seminary, Philippines, is a 30-unit Master of Theology degree that is self-directed and fully online. UTS is the oldest ecumenical formation center in the Philippines and is co-sponsored by the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Its programs are accredited by the Association for Theological Education in Southeast Asia (ATESEA).

CWM’s Julie Sim serves as the Program Administrator of the pilot program. UTS’s Revelation Velunta and Hazel Joyce Salatan serve as MTh Director and Registrar, respectively.

For more information, you can email them at [email protected].