Theological Education as Development in Vanuatu: ‘Wayfaring’ and the Talua Ministry Training Centre

Steve Taylor, King Phil

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Abstract


Education is essential to development. In Pacific cultures, in which the church is a significant presence, theological education can empower agency and offer analytical frames for social critique. Equally, theological education can reinforce hierarchies and dominant social narratives. This paper provides an account of Presbyterian theological education in Vanuatu. Applying an educative capability approach to a theological education taxonomy proposed by Charles Forman brings into focus the interplay between economics, context, and sustainability as mutual challenges for both development and theological education. However Forman’s model does not accurately reflect the realities of Vanuatu. An alternative frame is proposed, that of wayfaring, in which knowledge-exchange is framed as circulating movements. Wayfaring allows theological education to be imagined as a development actor that affirms local agency, values networks, and subverts centralising models. This alternative model provides a way to envisage theological education, both historically in Vanuatu and into an increasingly networked future, as an actor in Pacific development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
JournalSites: A journal of social anthropology and cultural studies
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019

Keywords

  • Vanuatu
  • theological education
  • wayfaring
  • Christianity
  • development

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