Yearly Archives: 2021

Carlile College: programmes that “propel the mission of the Church”

Carlile College, Nairobi was established in 1958 by Church Army Africa. Its name is explained by the fact that Church Army was launched by Wilson Carlile in the late 19th Century “to train ordinary Christian men and women to share the gospel with those most in need.”* Following on from last month’s blog post, Benjamin Kibara interviews the Principal, Revd Capt Patience Wanzala.

For our readers, can you give some further background to Carlile College?

Carlile College is a unique institution offering academic programmes with a focus on mission, evangelism, discipleship and church planting. Our vision and mission is to train men and women who will offer solutions to the church in Africa.

How has that mission focus shaped the college’s programmes?

The college has helped the Church in Africa remain focused on mission by developing and offering programmes in Chaplaincy and Children’s Ministry, among others that propel the mission of the Church.

What developments would you like to see at the college over the next few years?

The development we anticipate at the college is to upgrade our physical infrastructure to give it a new face so that we are able to attract more students to our programmes.

How do you view your vision for Carlile in relation to the changes that might lie ahead for more traditional forms of theological education?

Our vision will not change even as are faced with new ways of doing theology: moving from residential to non-residential, physical to online. Last year we had to change to online studies and though our students and staff struggled a bit we managed. Therefore I believe change is possible with some preparation through training and orientation.

Can you comment on how we can we best achieve academic rigour and personal transformation through training?

Theological Education aims at academic formation, ministry formation and spiritual and character formation. These can be best achieved by ensuring that they are reflected in the curriculum, have faculty who understand that as their mandate and create time for implementation, partner with local churches and communities to provide space for student mentorship.

These are difficult choices, but how can we also take cost-effectiveness and sustainability into account?

The sustainability of theological programmes depends on ownership by all the stakeholders such as students, staff, church, community and partners who together support the running of the programmes in various ways [such as] funding, sending students, teaching quality, among others.

What might all this mean for modes of delivery, which you’ve begun to touch on?

That we need to adopt to friendly modes of delivery such as distance learning [and] online studies among others to give room to those [who are] working, [so they can] study at the time of their convenience.

Finally, in the light of what you know about BUILD, with its non-traditional approach and model of multiplication, how do you see it serving within theological education?

BUILD is a good programme that has its place in building the capacity of the leadership of the church. There is no programme that has monopoly of importance; therefore BUILD comes in to reinforce what other programmes are offering to the church.

Many thanks for sharing with us Patience. BUILD is proud of its own focus on mission and evangelism, as well as its intention to act as ‘yeast in the dough’ for theological education: connecting it together and contributing to the whole. That desire is certainly in keeping with your closing comment.

* From

Extending theological education in the Anglican Church of Kenya

Since its beginnings in Guatemala over 50 years ago Theological Education by Extension (TEE) has had an extraordinary impact in doing just that: extending the reach of theological education. Walter Omudokolo is the Provincial TEE Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK). BUILD’s Benjamin Kibara caught up with him at Carlile College, Nairobi to talk about TEE and BUILD.

Walter, on reflection, what do you see as some of the strengths and weaknesses of the approach and the movement?

The books are one big strength of TEE, as is its suitability for the structures of the Anglican Church. Plus there is a long history of TEE courses in Kenya, which makes it easy to introduce to any diocese. However, our books’ content is dated and has served its purpose, and they are expensive for students to acquire.

How have those insights played into the story of TEE in the ACK, and how do you assess its impact?

TEE has impacted many leaders at the parish level. Many evangelists and lay readers have gone through the programme including some of the clergy. But due to lack of proper funding and coordination at the top, and lack of people who are willing and trained to teach TEE materials, the uptake has been going down over time.

Can you explain where TEE is now heading in the ACK and why?

The provincial department that was formerly known as TEE has been renamed to Lay Christian Training by Extension (LCTE). TEE and Certificate in Christian and Religious Studies (CCRS) are some of the programmes under LCTE; both are hosted by Carlile College. LCTE is a broader name that makes it possible to introduce other courses aimed at equipping lay leaders to serve the church.

TEE has a huge potential if the materials used for training can be availed easily to those willing to take it. It remains as a parish programme, especially for church leaders who desire to do personal study and acquire some basic theological knowledge. It is very informal, rather than rigorous and academic. There are very few formal requirements from the students compared to CCRS.

However, we have introduced CCRS as an additional course to equip the licensed lay readers and commissioned evangelists. Some clergy who had not been trained properly are also enrolling in this course. This is an academic course with an entry requirement, fee payment, exams etc. CCRS is a one year provincial course that is domiciled at Carlile College and validated by St Paul’s University.

Can you indicate the focus of the content: would you describe it primarily as training in discipleship or leadership or would you use another category altogether?

The focus of LCTE is more or less a traditional theological course. There is nothing new apart from the mode of delivery. In fact, the curriculum mirrors a very high percentage of what is offered in the other theological colleges.

Are you changing any of the ways in which LCTE is delivered on the ground?

The certificate curriculum has 12 units that are covered in three semesters. Currently we have 16 centres across the country. Each centre is operated independently. The diocese helps in recruiting students, they purchase the books which are sold centrally, the centre coordinator collects fees from students and a percentage of those fees is remitted to Carlile. The diocese is responsible to look for competent trainers who will teach the students.

What do you see as some of the greatest challenges that lie ahead for LCTE?

The content of the CCRS doesn’t help in spiritual formation. It is an academic exercise that focuses on head knowledge but very little on the heart. These challenge can only be met if we can have a current, contextual and relevant curriculum that is focused not only on academics but combines both academics and spiritual formation. Emphasis on discipleship and personal spiritual growth is lacking.

Tied to the above relates to the instructional materials that need a lot of revision to address aspects that speaks to the heart.

BUILD’s focus is leadership: strengthening those who lead, care for and teach local churches, as well as those in related ministries. It is not divorced from discipleship and encourages that, nor is it divorced from biblical and theological knowledge, but the content is designed to serve those who lead. How might LCTE and BUILD best encourage one another?

I wish you shared the information about BUILD last year, I could have launched the course as a diploma course in our latest centre doing a diploma. Looking at the content of BUILD, I can see a lot of emphasis on the Bible. This is something that is missing on many curriculum. Also I have noted that every module you have emphasis on leadership. The preaching emphasis and sermon preparation will be highly welcomed by our current target group of lay readers and evangelists.

Thank you for sharing, Walter.