“Hundreds of thousands of churches will make an enormous difference to the physical, social, and spiritual realities of many communities” Rev Dr Stuart Brooking
The full impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our lives, our livelihoods and on the state of our nation, is something we are all grappling to comprehend. We can barely imagine what the predicted and disproportionate impact of COVID-19 will be like for people living in the developing world.
Our partner Bible colleges serve mostly in countries without accessible and dependable technology to support learning and work. They do not have wealthy governments capable of replacing wages or the economic infrastructure that ensures the supply of food and health essentials. Even less do they have world-class health systems. The developing world is facing not only a potentially insurmountable health crisis in the short term, but a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come. Supporting our partner Bible colleges during this global emergency is a critical priority for Overseas Council Australia.
Our partners are facing a series of institutional crises that mirror their own nations. These include an instant shift to online education requiring new resources and upskilling for faculty and students. As we’ve seen in other disaster situations, colleges will naturally step in to support those who have lost work, those who are sick, the vulnerable and traumatised.
Most OCA partner colleges have moved to online lectures, but few are proficient. They need help to provide comprehensive online learning experiences.
Leading partner colleges throughout the Pacific, Asia, Middle East and Africa will soon come under enormous stress, far worse than anything we have seen in China, Italy, Spain, or what we’re about to see in the USA. If wealthier countries lose hundreds of thousands of lives, it is not unrealistic to expect far greater devastation in developing world countries. The cramped conditions in slums and the low capacity of hospitals are indicators of how the crisis will proceed.
This is essential - The training institutions for Christian leaders must continue.
More is possible - OCA wants to do more - we are standing shoulder to shoulder with leading institutions to meet the challenges that have already begun. Not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the global church which will minister throughout this crisis and in the years ahead.
Meeting the challenges
OCA is hoping in the first instance to assist 15 of its long term partner colleges in the Pacific and Asia, and other key ‘hub’ colleges in Africa. As funds are available we will expand our assistance to the wider group with whom we also connect.
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