Rev Dr Andrew Reid | Sep 2019
The middle of this year marked a significant milestone for ETCAsia: our third intake of students. For the first time, we had a full complement of students for the three year graduate and undergraduate degrees that we offer.
This intake was also significant for a couple of other reasons. First, it was our largest intake so far:
- 9 full-time students
- 2 new part-time students
Previous intakes were:
- 2017/18: 9 full-time + 3 part-time
- 2018/19: 8 full-time + 2 part-time
Second, it was marked by something that we have hoped and prayed for: international students from nearby countries. Some of these students have been particularly sent to us to become leaders in their own countries, perhaps in theological training themselves. The range of countries represented now are Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Australia.
As can be imagined, the presence of international students has created all manner of new challenges for the college as well as for other students. It has also raised the awareness of the needs and opportunities in these countries.
We are thankful to God for some of our supporting churches who have not only encouraged such students to come but who have also supplied important pastoral, language and other help for these students (and also, in some cases, spouses).
Our existing students have adjusted very well to the changes and have cared well for the new intake of students. The college continues to be a place marked by strong collegiality among students and their loving support of each other.
Not only is there a strong desire to make Christ known outside college but also to offer Christlike love and support for each other (and for faculty and staff).
In the last six months there have been significant changes at ETCAsia. Not only have we taken our third intake of students and increased our numbers of both local and international students. We have also outgrown our premises.
When the college first started all we needed was two lecture rooms, some walls for bookcases of many books and a location from which faculty, administrative staff and volunteers could work. However, since then we’ve added two more fulltime faculty and their books as well as more students.
Our two units in the Parklane Shopping Mall on Selegie Road were no longer sufficient for personnel but we’d also run out of walls along which we could put books. Additionally, we were in need of a librarian who could give dedicated focus to the organisation of the library.
Moreover, with a growing number of students and the complications of organising curriculum, we needed a registrar who could give more focus to such matters.
The end result of this was that the board approved three major changes:
- Searching for and appointing a registrar.
- Searching for and appointing a librarian, at least part time.
- Finding additional office space somewhere in the Parklane Shopping Mall for a more adequate and functional library, librarian and extra offices for the additional personnel.
In the grace of God, we have found a registrar, Catharine, who has been such a welcome addition to the staff and an answer to our prayers. She is thorough, thoughtful and cheerful and is gradually helping us develop better practices in relation to students and curriculum.
As far as additional accommodation is concerned, God answered our prayers bountifully here as well. Although we would have liked to have another unit next door to the existing two, that was not possible and so we looked further afield, eventually settling on a unit a floor above our existing two units.
After renovation, the result was a good library space and three offices: one for Andrew and Heather (pictured above); another for another three or four staff members and a third for the librarian.
The advantage of this unit is that a large space was left for shelving and the ability to overflow to some remaining shelving on the other floor (e.g. for books that are in high demand, are seldom accessed or are general reference).
We have yet to find a librarian full or part-time. However, even if we were to find one tomorrow, we are not sure whether we could afford one!
The spreadsheet above gives a picture of our current financial situation.
Thanks to the generosity of many in Singapore and the fact that some of our faculty have brought significant support with them, we have had two good years of surplus.
However, because of the factors outlined earlier, such as:
- necessary staff and faculty increases;
- increased space needed for three full years of students and a growing library… along with:
- a significant dropping off of support (43% less than the preceding year) we experienced a small deficit last financial year and are facing a significant deficit in the next financial year.
As a result of these factors, we are asking if you might prayerfully begin to financially support the college if you are not already doing so or renew your support if you have already been supporting the college.
In order to assist you to do this, we would like to initiate a couple of mechanisms that might be of help, such as:
- We will enable online giving to the college.
- A number of our faculty already produce regular prayer letters for people who have committed to prayerfully and/or financially support these faculty and we will open these communications to others.
For our part, we commit ourselves to providing more regular updates like this one (at least two but hopefully three each year).
You can support the college by making a financial pledge here.
You can find our banking details here.