On June 18, 2020, Dr. Amnuay Tapingkae, the Interim President of Payap University, posted news that plans are being made to have one of the university’s colleges become an independent institution. The college that is in the process of re-configuration is actually Payap University’s oldest component, the McGilvary College of Divinity (MCD). Through a series of steps, as now being planned, the MCD will be funded by the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) and the faculty and staff of the MCD will be transferred to the CCT. The MCD is completely used to provide education and nurture for future leaders of the church. It is a seminary, so it is appropriate that the church resume responsibility for the MCD and benefit from its graduates.
For more than 40 years, the seminary has been one of the faculties of Payap University. The seminary began as a training program for pastors and evangelists about 140 years ago. It was first located in the homes of Presbyterian missionaries in Chiang Mai, and then moved to its current location on Kaewnawarat Road which was just outside of Chiang Mai in those days. [Please click on the link here for a previous blog about the history of the seminary: www.kendobson.asia/blog/thailand-theological-seminary ] After the Second World War the seminary was restored with the Rev. Prasert Intapan as manager and the Rev. Herbert Grether as principal. The Rev. Dr. E. John Hamlin became principal when missionaries were expelled from the Nanking Theological Seminary in China where he and his wife had been working. Dr. Hamlin’s focus was on helping the seminary achieve international academic standing, which was accomplished when the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA) accredited the seminary’s degree programs. National Thai accreditation came when the Thailand Theological Seminary joined Payap College as the McGilvary Faculty of Divinity. The old seminary building was replaced with a large new one with adjacent dormitory. This construction undertaking was largely coordinated by the Rev. William J. Yoder, a Presbyterian missionary who served for several terms as needed as dean of the MCD.
When the transformation of the MCD is complete in a year or two, the seminary will be an independent college with its own board of trustees. Its degrees will be solely accredited, once again, by ATESEA.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.