A global online directory of more than 7,000 theological education institutions has been launched to promote sharing and dialogue between establishments in different parts of the world.
The Global Directory of Theological Education Institutions is one of the results of the Global Survey on Theological Education, started in October 2011 and launched on April 4.
The directory is located within the Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism (GlobeTheoLib).
"This interactive global directory aims at facilitating mutual connectivity, exchange, ecumenical dialogue and research cooperation between theological education institutions in all regions of the world and from all Christian denominations," said the Rev. Dietrich Werner, coordinator of the ecumenical theological education program of the World Council of Churches.
"As the enhancement of theological education is a strategic task for the future of mission in World Christianity in the 21st century, churches need to give more attention to the potential, needs and challenges in theological education programs," said Werner.
The directory is a joint project of the World Council of Churches and Globethics.net, a Geneva-headquartered foundation promoting dialogue on ethical issues. The WCC is a grouping of some 560 million Christians that includes Anglican, Evangelical, Orthodox and other Protestant churches.
"By hosting this directory within GlobeTheoLib, we hope that we can increase synergies between theological institutions and the resources available in our unique online library," said Stephen Brown, program executive for GlobeTheoLib.
The directory is the first major world survey on the trends, needs and challenges in theological education and ministerial formation since the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh.
The directory is located within the Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism (GlobeTheoLib), a joint project of the WCC and Globethics.net, a Geneva-headquartered foundation promoting dialogue on ethical issues.
"The online Global Directory of Theological Education Institutions is a monumental achievement in that it offers quick and easy access to the world's theological training centers, formal and informal," said Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) in Boston, United States.
The center is one of the partners that developed the directory, together with the WCC's ecumenical theological education program, the Institute for Cross-Cultural Theological Education of McCormick Theological Seminary, and Globethics.net.
"This is a wonderful new resource for anyone interested in theological education. The directory will prove invaluable not only for prospective students, admissions offices and registrars, but also for everyone doing research in this wide field," said David Esterline, director of the Institute for Cross-Cultural Theological Education in Chicago, USA.
The directory is interdenominational and inclusive in its widest sense, including all types of Christian institutions of theological education and ministerial formation: church based theological seminaries, Bible schools, university departments of theology, faculties of religious studies and mission training institutes.
Institutions listed in the directory can register to update their details. Institutions not listed can apply for inclusion.
"For the first time, users from around the world can both use and edit this critical information on theological education. It is an essential global tool for connecting Christians of all traditions," said Johnson.
Users can search directory entries by denomination or affiliation, types of institution, language of instruction, city and country, world region and degrees offered. Records include information about faculty and students, contact details and the accreditation for degrees offered.
The online directory is the first attempt to update completely the earlier International Directory of Theological Colleges, edited by Alec Gilmore and published by the WCC's program on theological education in 1997.