A new Ecumenical Mission Studies Centre

The Methodist Church and the (Anglican) United Society for thePropagation of the Gospel have announced the creation of a newMission Studies Centre as part of The Queen's Foundation inBirmingham, from September 2006.

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

The new Centre, with its three fulltime staff and internationalscholars, will continue to train mission partners and shorter-termvolunteers who go to serve in the world-wide Church. It will alsobe a base for further study and research in World Mission, linkingwith similar institutions around the world.

Speaking on behalf of the Methodist church, Michael King, TeamLeader World Church Relationships said, 'This development is anatural extension of the training and formation work we alreadyshare with theological institutions in our Partner Churches. Thereis also a real excitement that global perspectives in missionstudies will be so closely linked with theological formation inthis key centre in Birmingham '.

Bishop Michael Doe, General Secretary of USPG, said that althoughfor many it will be sad to see the present U.C.A. closing down, thenew Centre represents an ongoing commitment to training, study andresearch 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 andtraining which enlarges horizons and engages deeply with missionand ministry in the context of diversity of belief, culture andethnicity. The arrival of this new Mission Studies Centre meansthat everything we do and learn will be permeated by international,mission focused, cross-cultural perspectives and insights. Thiswill be a wonderful, stimulating and challenging environment inwhich to study and train for ministry and mission, and I lookforward to welcoming new staff and students next year.'