As the WCRC Theological Network Consultation in Mangalore, India wraps up… one of their main agendas being the preparation for the GIT 2012, I thought it would be a good time to share a little bit of my own experience at the GIT 2010. This was originally written as a reply to some questions a student had about the GIT 2012 and I decided to post it on the blog in case there are similar questions as well. Hopefully it will inspire theological students/pastors in the first years of their ministry to register for the GIT. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
A common day at the GIT 2010 was scheduled this way (with commentary):
7:30 – 7:45 a.m. Devotions
— these were all student led and everyone was free to volunteer to lead the worship services either in the morning or the afternoon (Vespers), and ask people to help them with it. This resulted in very interesting worship experiences as everyone tried to bring something from their own culture. We heard stories from Zimbabwe, sing and danced to Indonesian songs, meditated in silence, etc. (for a pretty detailed story on all our worship services, check out this blog post
Indonesian dance at GIT worship
8 – 9 am Breakfast
9 -12:30 p.m. Core Course — for every course we had received reading materials beforehand (there were quite a lot to read). We meet in class and the professor would do a short lecture, then generally we’ll break out to smaller groups to have discussions based on questions by the professor, then we either come back to class to report our discussion results and share our questions OR (sometimes) the discussions just continue on and we talk further to the professor during lunch or break. The faculty always made sure that our groups are gender and region balanced, and this makes for very interesting, challenging and fruitful discussions. At the end of the core course we are to submit a paper. We were free to choose our own topic based on the themes presented in class. We were encouraged to write something from our own contexts. The paper was then graded and some of the best ones were published in the WCRC journal, Reformed World.
12:45 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 – 2 p.m. Break
2-4 p.m. Electives — Elective courses take different but similar approaches. Again, like I mentioned before, we have received reading materials, but the methods used in class varied. Generally though, we have lectures, discussions, presentations and papers. The variation, last year for my elective of “reading the bible in context”, some presentations were done in theatrical performance, and for the final paper one of us got to perform a song as she’s a church music major. So what I can say about the courses is that they really inspire you to do theology creatively, contextually and yet of course responsibly.
a theatrical presentation
4-6 p.m. Study Time — Is either used to do our readings, do group work, further discussions, or to explore the city.
6-7 p.m. Dinner
7:15-7:45 p.m. Vespers
7:45 p.m. onward. Study/free time
Saturdays was a study day where we are free to do readings, hang out in the library, explore the city, etc.
Sundays we went to different churches in the area, followed by an outing of some sort.
Playing soccer was one of our favorite things to do!
Our group of students was very varied. Age wise the range was 18 – over 50, academic wise some of us were doing bachelors in religious studies, others are doing M.Div., some are doing M.Th., are Ph.D. candidates or have finished their studies and are vicars or pastors. We come from many different countries, some of us have never heard of the countries others came from, so we spent one afternoon in front of a large world map and pointed where we are from, how we got to the US (where the GIT 2010 was held), etc.
GIT 2010 students and faculty in front of The Bean, Chicago
At the beginning I was very unsure how this diverse group of people would interact but as it turns out we interacted very well. We pretty much bonded over course work, discussions, games (we played a lot of soccer and a few party games), and worship in such a way that we regard each other as family and are still keeping very much in touch even today.
Having been a student of the GIT I would highly recommend it to any student of theology but especially if you’re interested in contextual and ecumenical theology. The experience is worth it even if you don’t get the credits for it — and in most cases you actually do!