It is a wonderful thing to travel half the way across the world and find colleagues and friends. Jane spent this evening at the home of Mvume and Phumzile Dandala and was treated not only to good food and a kind welcome but also a collegial conversation about some of the challenges in higher education and the purposes of theological formation.
Mvume and Phumzile recall their time in Cambridge with great affection and wish to be remembered to many friends, amongst them, Brian Beck, John Barrett, Christina leMoignan, Keith Davies and Peter Ensor (now in Kenya). They were saddened to learn of the recent death of Geoff Cornell.
Since leaving Wesley House Mvume has worked pioneering mixed race circuits in Southern Africa and superintending the Methodist work in Port Elizabeth at the height of the struggles against apartheid, himself being detained. Subsequently he led the missions unit of the MCSA before becoming its presiding bishop and is now leading the MSCA’s new seminary into its second five years.
Reflecting on what the Wesley House experience offered to Mvume, he said:
‘Wesley House offered me a community of prayer; the intellectual rigour of the tutorial system; and the opportunity to be a black student in a mixed student body together with men and women from different parts of the world.’ Now, he seeks to model and teach a theologically informed leadership that is based on gender, racial and ethnic equality and justice; and to ensure that the new seminary produces church leaders and theologians who are able to contribute intellectually as well as practically to the huge task of nation-building in South Africa and to take their place on the world Methodist stage.
There are striking resonances between Mvume’s experience of Wesley house, his vision for SMMS, and the Wesley House Trustees’ vision for the future on which we hope to build a lasting future partnership.