God willing, Mukhanyo will open a new advanced study centre in Durban next year. Preparations have already begun for January 2020. The centre will initially be based in the building of the Reformed Church Pinetown, until more suitable facilities are secured.
The expectation is that the centre will be able to start with some ten BTh Degree of Theology students. Diploma-level qualification will remain available at the various distance learning centres in the greater area.
A number of diploma students from the fifteen distance learning centres in KwaZulu-Natal have indicated that they want to continue their degree-level studies as soon as they have completed the diploma. But these potential degree students are unable to study in KwaMhlanga, Johannesburg or Pretoria. These centres are too far away to enable them to serve in their home churches over weekends. So the degree qualification will be offered in Durban with lectures running from Tuesdays to Thursdays.
In Durban, initial facilities are available, the centre manager has been appointed (see the next article) and a start has been made to recruit lecturers and other staff. In addition, fund raising for this centre has also begun.
Durban will be Mukhanyo’s fourth advanced learning centre. Besides the main campus in KwaMhlanga (now in its 26th year), the Johannesburg and Pretoria centres started a number of years ago, while the Rustenburg centre was upgraded to an advanced learning centre earlier this year. All this development is in addition to more than 70 distance learning centres with 650 active students all over the country and beyond.
Why Durban? Mukhanyo was invited by a number of church leaders to explore possibilities in Durban for a degree programme. After initial explorations, the great need became more apparent. There is now a growing coalition of local leaders and churches who have joined in to support this new centre.
Additionally, this location was chosen since it is a large metropole with an estimated population of 3,8 million, and it is in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal with 11,5 million people. Over many years much ministry work has been done in this province, but there are no suitable Bible training colleges in the greater area. In addition, low-intensity conflict and political instability over many years in KZN has resulted in much social disruption.
But there are many faithful pastors and churches in the area who have been doing excellent groundwork over the years. This had provided fertile potential to build on. It is our hope that the training of pastors and other church leaders will be an important next step to grow churches and stabilise communities.
Mukhanyo’s Board of Directors approved the appointment of Antonio Coppola as the Centre Manager of the new Durban Advanced Learning Centre. This Centre is due to start functioning at the beginning of 2020.
Antonio has extensive experience in theological training, church planting and other ministry functions. He will start preparing for the new centre this October.
Born in Durban in 1982, he was brought up in a Christian home and completed his BA (Honours) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2004, specialising in South African missionary history (Swiss Mission). In 2017 he completed his Master of Divinity at the Westminster Theological Seminary in California, USA.
Through the years, Antonio has also been involved in practical ministry work. He first served as a young adults worker at the St Agnes Anglican Church in Kloof, Durban, and then as a pastoral intern at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, California. He also established and led the Kloof Theological Centre in the Durban area. And this year he started a church plant, Covenant Waterfall Presbyterian Church, in his community in Durban. This church plant is connected to a group of Presbyterian and Reformed churches as well as the Sub-Saharan Africa Reformed Mission.
Antonio says his desire is to be involved in quality theological education in South Africa, and also in the rest of Africa, planting and pastoring biblically orthodox, Reformed, gospel-centred churches. For him, becoming Centre Manager of Mukhanyo’s Durban centre is the ideal next step.
Mukhanyo is excited to have Antonio join the team! He is experienced in team leadership, management, teaching and preaching, curriculum development, pastoral work, discipleship, young adults ministry and mission work. Over and above Hebrew and Greek, Antonio is also fluent in Italian, speaks Afrikaans, while his home language is English.
Thank the Lord with us for Mukhanyo’s gifted team of faithful workers! But more people are still needed to serve in this growing ministry:
Records Manager – The Records Manager is responsible for managing a team of dedicated people in the Student Records department. This position, based in KwaMhlanga, manages and coordinates all administrative activities involving student admissions, registration, record-keeping, and graduations. The ideal candidate will have experience in office management and educational administration.
Rustenburg Secretary – The person in this new position will be responsible to manage a number of office functions in the Rustenburg Advanced Learning Centre, including receptionist work, administrative roles, and coordination and scheduling.
Lecturers in various areas – Additional part-time and full-time lecturers are needed by January 2020 to serve Mukhanyo’s growing student body. We welcome applicants to apply if they meet the criteria outlined in the job advert. All Mukhanyo lecturers must affirm Mukhanyo’s statement of faith and share our organisational values. More information about open positions can be found here.
Distance Site Tutors – Mukhanyo welcomes applications for new Distance Learning Support Centres across southern Africa. Experienced church leaders are encouraged to submit an application to become a volunteer tutor and lead a local centre.
More information and additional vacancies are listed here. More information about Mukhanyo’s gifted team found here on these recently revised webpages.
Mukhanyo continues to improve its collection of quality study material. The production of study guides for the updated curricula is making good progress.
Developing quality material takes much time. All the study guides must go through a number of stages. Guides that have been completed are used and then re-evaluated at the end of the first year to be adjusted accordingly. In this way, Mukhanyo remains at the forefront of quality theology training.
Please pray with us that the new Higher Certificate will be approved soon so that these quality materials can be used to bless many more students.
What should be Mukhanyo’s priorities in 2020? Earlier this year, as in previous years, the Mukhanyo team engaged in strategic planning sessions with the entire staff. Outputs were further shaped by the faculty and management, and then recently approved by the Board of Directors.
A number of priority activities are ongoing. But like any other growing organisation, it is important to sit back every year to reflect on what Mukhanyo is doing to facilitate improvements in the right places.
Thanks to all the growth in the past years, Mukhanyo is increasingly able to accommodate more and more students, which is much to be thankful for. But it requires special attention in a number of fields.
One such aspect is the public relations of Mukhanyo to churches and communities. The potential and also the need for all sorts of church leaders in southern Africa is enormous. So the contribution that Mukhanyo can make needs to be communicated more and more.
In addition to better communication, a number of other identified priorities include the following:
Our Father in Heaven has over the years provide to Mukhanyo what is needed. We at Mukhanyo are trusting God that He will continue to do so, as long as Mukhanyo functions according to His will. Please join us in praying for God’s blessings even as we pray for grace to do His will.