THETA - Theological Training in Africa
THETA has fulfilled our mission. Our season has ended. We have officially dissolved. God accomplished much through THETA since 1997. Many thanks to our long-time partners! We recommend support for the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa.
Christianity is growing fast in Africa. The extent of the African church far exceeds the number of well-qualified and trained pastors, teachers and other leaders. Meanwhile the church faces a multitude of spiritual, ethical, organizational and economic challenges.
THETA’s mission was to promote excellence in theological training of many more men and women in Africa. Specifically, our charter said we would "provide financial, material and personnel support for post-secondary theological education in Africa."
THETA was formed in October 1997 initially to support the ongoing ministries of Rich and Kathy Stuebing in Zambia. Rich is a native of Ohio and a graduate of Cornell University (1966) and of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry in 1994). Kathy is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of Messiah College, Cornell University (1967) and of Harvard University (Doctor of Education in 1994).
They answered the Lord’s calling to Africa in 1969, and served initially as “tentmakers” at David Kaunda Secondary Technical School in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, where Rich taught Mathematics and Kathy taught Religious Education.
Rich and Kathy were among the first faculty recruited in 1982 for the new interdenominational, inter-tribal Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA) in Ndola, Zambia. They served at TCCA full-time through 2010 and part-time in 2011 and 2012. Both taught a number of different courses. Kathy also did local cultural research and worked with the TCCA Wives Program, and Rich also served as TCCA Business Administrator for many years.
THETA’s primary focus in recent years was supporting the Association for Christian Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA).
ACTEA accredits theological programs at various institutions, but it does much more than that, mainly in the areas of networking and meetings for further education. ACTEA is one of nine regional associations linked through ICETE, the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education. Accreditation is essential for quality theological training in Africa. It enables institutions to attract top-notch leaders, faculty and students, as well as funding. Graduates from accredited institutions find more open doors for further education in Africa and elsewhere.
ACTEA now occupies permanent offices at the premises of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) in Nairobi, Kenya. ACTEA is a major ministry of AEA. AEA provides important strategic liaison for ACTEA with all of AEA’s member organizations across Africa and beyond.
ACTEA is moving forward to address an increasing number of requests for accreditation and assistance. THETA was pleased to serve for several years as a channel for USA donors to support this vital ministry.
Another focus of THETA in recent years was contracting with Rich Stuebing and Dwight Singer (USA-based associates of ACTEA) to carry out THETA’s work through ACTEA in and for Africa.
While at TCCA, Rich also became heavily involved in the work for ACTEA to encourage very high standards in African theological programs.
In late 2013, Rich was re-elected by ACTEA for another 3-year term on the Executive Committee, where he served as the only non-African. He is based in the USA and travels to Africa as needed, mainly for accreditation visits.
In 2015-2016, Rich led accreditation teams in several countries in Africa; other trips are possible for 2017.
Dr. Dwight Singer became an ACTEA associate in 2015. Based in the USA, and via trips to Africa, he serves on the leadership team as Networking Officer, representing ACTEA at workshops, producing e-news, and assisting on accreditation teams.
Dwight holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Delaware (his home state); a (post) Graduate Diploma from Columbia International University, South Carolina; a Master of Theology (Old Testament) from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation from Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania.
Dwight worked as an engineer for several years in the aircraft and fossil fuel industries before becoming an assistant pastor at New Monmouth Baptist Church, New Jersey. He was ordained to Christian ministry in 1984 and commissioned for missionary service in 1989.
With Serving in Mission (SIM), Dwight was a member of the faculty of the two oldest ECWA seminaries in Nigeria, for 26 years -- first at ECWA Theological Seminary, Igbaja, and later at ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos (JETS). He taught a variety of subjects and served in several administrative roles.
Dwight and his wife Miriam, a Registered Nurse, have three married children and two grandchildren. They now reside in the USA to care for their aging parents. Dwight’s passion for theological education in Africa still blazes in his service with ACTEA.
With the change in focus to ACTEA, THETA supported the Nairobi-based ACTEA office and employees, airfare for Africa trips by USA-based ACTEA associates, and other African ministries (such as teaching) of the Stuebings. Applying their academic education and skills, and their love for and experience in Africa, in the summers of 2013 and 2014 Rich and Kathy taught short courses at the Evangelical Theological College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
THETA’s season has ended.
At Easter 2017, reflecting on the Stuebings’ African career, Kathy wrote:
“As I sorted through old photos recently, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy as I came upon picture after picture of students we had mentored who are now involved in effective service for our Lord all over Africa. I felt humbled that the Lord had given Rich and me the privilege of being a part of what he was doing in their lives as he prepared them for the ministries they now have. Many are in church leadership, and their churches are serving the poor among them, including orphans and HIV/AIDS sufferers as part of sharing the good news of abundant life in Christ. Some are teaching in schools and colleges while mentoring young people who are making major life choices. Some are leading organizations that train poor people for productive jobs so they can rise above their poverty and serve their communities.
“Realizing that we were involved with these wonderful people at significant points in their lives gives us a deep sense of fulfillment now that we are retired from active ministry in Africa. We thank the Lord for calling us to the life he gave us and for sustaining us through our 40+ years of service to him in Zambia. As I thought about the richness of the life God called us to as a family, I realized that to keep this fulfillment and joy to ourselves would be dishonest. We could not have done what we did or seen the fruit we have seen without you, our faithful friends and supporters, standing with us through all those years. Your prayers moved mountains and brought us through some very difficult and trying times, and the abundant fruit we now rejoice in is just as much yours as ours. A continuing reminder of that fruit is the message ‘We are the fruit of your labour’ on the plaque given to us upon our retirement by the TCCA alumni. So let us rejoice together in the power of our risen Lord in all of our lives.”