United Methodist Bible College
Opens in Almaty, Kazakhstan
Almaty, Kazakhstan, October 4, 2007 -- A United Methodist Bible College for laity opened in Almaty, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on September 29.
It is the first such denominational school of its kind in Central Asia, an area where The United Methodist Church is developing new congregations and social ministries. The Central Asia Mission was launched in 2003 and is part of the Eurasia Episcopal Area, led by Bishop Hans Vaxby of Moscow, who was on hand for the school's opening.
The first twelve students attend classes every Tuesday and Thursday in a term to run for eight months the first year. Depending on results and resources, a second year may be added. The primary course topics are the Bible, the Life of a Christian, and Methodist Theology and Church History.
Pastors of the Central Asia Mission have their own continuing education program separate from the new lay Bible School.
In an address opening the first term, Bishop Vaxby said that "good Christian education always involves head, heart, and feet: If you miss one of the components, you have missed the whole idea with the training." He based this advice on the words "teaching," "compassion" and "went about" in Matthew 9:35-36.
The new school has a director, Dauren Kansultanov, and three teachers, the Rev. Dmitri Lee, Viktoria Kim Syng Ri, and Rev. Kanat Khazhamuraatov.
Kazakhstan is the world's ninth largest country in land area but only 62nd in population with 15.3 million residents, according to 2006 figures. It is located immediately south of central Russia and extends from the Caspian Sea on the west to the border of China on the east. Kazakhstan is a traditionally Muslim country. Sixty-three percent of the population is Kazakhs and 23 percent Russian.
Classes at the new Bible School are held at the United Methodist Mission Center in Almaty, made possible by a $130,000 gift from the First United Methodist Church in Flushing, New York.
The United Methodist Central Asia Mission now has a total of nine congregations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. It is an initiative of the Eurasia Area in collaboration with the General Board of Global Ministries, the church's international mission agency.
The mission board currently has two missionaries in Kazakhstan. Dr. Christiana Koisey Hena is coordinator of a comprehensive community-based health care program in eastern Kazakhstan. Hee Jin Park is coordinator of evangelism and church growth.
The Central Asia Mission can be supported through the Advance for Christ and His Church, the United Methodist designated mission giving program. The Advance number is 14939A. Gifts to the Advance can be made by credit card online at http://givetomission.org, or by phone at (888) 252-6174. Checks may be sent to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, GPO New York, NY 10087-9068, or put into the offering at any United Methodist congregated, marked "Advance 14939A."
Visit the brand new Global Ministries site in Korean. Korean fonts must be installed in your browser to see the Korean words correctly.
Date posted: Oct 05, 2007