05 September 2005

A new Ecumenical Mission Studies Centre

The Methodist Church and the (Anglican) United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel have announced the creation of a new Mission Studies Centre as part of The Queen's Foundation in Birmingham, from September 2006.

USPG has had a Training College in Selly Oak since 1923, and 10 years ago the Methodist Church closed its own Kingsmead College to create the United College of the Ascension jointly with the USPG. Now that work will be transferred to the new Selly Oak Centre for Mission Studies, alongside the ecumenical Theological College, the West Midlands Ministerial Training Course and the Research Centre that help make up The Queen's Foundation in Edgbaston.

The new Centre, with its three fulltime staff and international scholars, will continue to train mission partners and shorter-term volunteers who go to serve in the world-wide Church. It will also be a base for further study and research in World Mission, linking with similar institutions around the world.

Speaking on behalf of the Methodist church, Michael King, Team Leader World Church Relationships said, 'This development is a natural extension of the training and formation work we already share with theological institutions in our Partner Churches. There is also a real excitement that global perspectives in mission studies will be so closely linked with theological formation in this key centre in Birmingham '.

Bishop Michael Doe, General Secretary of USPG, said that although for many it will be sad to see the present U.C.A. closing down, the new Centre represents an ongoing commitment to training, study and research in a multi- cultural and ecumenical context.

Canon David Hewlett, Principal of The Queen's Foundation, said 'Here at Queen's we are committed to theological education and training which enlarges horizons and engages deeply with mission and ministry in the context of diversity of belief, culture and ethnicity. The arrival of this new Mission Studies Centre means that everything we do and learn will be permeated by international, mission focused, cross-cultural perspectives and insights. This will be a wonderful, stimulating and challenging environment in which to study and train for ministry and mission, and I look forward to welcoming new staff and students next year.'

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