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The need to teach students in seminaries about marriage, family relations, gender issues and domestic violence has become recognised in recent decades and us increasingly prioritised by theological colleges, seminaries and other religious training centres. However, how religious training institutions pursue this topic and instruct on it, what methodologies they employ to equip their students and future clergies or theologians with theological knowledge and pastoral preparedness to respond to difficult questions and family situations, including domestic abuse, has received less attention. In this webinar we were joined by specialists working in seminary education and clergy training to explore current approaches, share lessons and identify gaps or opportunities that may exist.
The speakers included colleagues that project dldl/ድልድል closely collaborates with in Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as specialists from other parts of the world to capture the diversity in approaches and understandings currently and to achieve knowledge exchange that can improve the ways in which seminary students and future clergies are provided with training and preparation to address difficult topics and issues around marriage in their specific contexts. The second part of the webinar discussed how the specific homilies of St John Chrysostom on marriage and related topics can become resourceful for preparing clergy and theologians to teach about marriage and against any form of domestic violence.
The event was chaired by Dr Romina Istratii, PI of project dldl/ድልድል, and supported by Ms Mebrak Ghebreweldi, director of DRI and project facilitator in Eritrea.
Mr Tesfay Hadera Gebremedhin, current dean of the St Frumentius Abba Selama Kessate Berhan Theological College in Mekelle, Ethiopia
Mr Tesfay Hadera Gebremedhin is current dean of the St Frumentius Abba Selama Kessate Berhan Theological College in Mekelle, Ethiopia, having taken this position in 2015. Previously he acted as Administrative and Development Vice Dean of the College, and prior to that as Legal Advisor of the College and as Academic Vice Dean. He instructs on numerous courses, including Systematic Theology, General Church History, Patrology, Canon Law, Introduction to Law, Liturgy, Counselling and Pastoral Theology, and acts as a preacher an counsellor to the community he serves. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the St. Frumentius Theological College in Mekelle, an LLB degree in Law from Mekelle University College of Law and Governance and a Master’s degree in Advanced Leadership and Community Development. He is currently pursuing a PhD from South Africa.
Aba Qeshi Loul, member of the clergy in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, London, UK
Aba Qeshi Loul Tewolde is currently serving as a priest at the MedhaneAlem Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church in London. He was born and raised in Eritrea and has been serving the Church for 22 years, having started as a deacon in Eritrea and continued his service as a deacon after he arrived to the UK in 2009. Qeshi Loul became a priest in June 2019. In parallel, he is a second-year engineering student at Southbank University of London. He works part time and serves as a priest voluntarily to the community and has regular contact with the elderly, women, children and those in need.
Dr David Ford, professor at St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania, USA
Dr David Ford is Professor of Church History at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, US since 1989. He is co-author, author or editor of multiple publications, such as Marriage as a Path to Holiness: Lives of Married Saints (St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press) co-authored with his wife, Dr. Mary S. Ford, Women and Men in the Early Church: The Vision of St. John Chrysostom (St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press), and Wisdom for Today from the Early Church: A Foundational Study (St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press). He is also co-editor and contributor to Glory and Honor: Orthodox Christian Resources on Marriage (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press), translator and editor of Saint John Chrysostom: Letters to Saint Olympia (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press), co-editor and contributor of Healing Humanity: Confronting our Moral Crisis (Holy Trinity Seminary Press, Jordanville, New York) and compiler, editor, and translator of Sing to Your Soul, Vol. One: The Narrative of Salvation History in Selected Passages by St. John Chrysostom (St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press).
The presentations were followed by discussion and a Q&A session with the audience.
The full webinar can be watched through the project’s Vimeo account below.