For a Faculty of Theology and Religion to be engaged in a community and society usually does not call for a specific programme since its staff members and students are mostly imbedded in the lives of their respective faith communities. And it is a multi-various engagement of a constructive nature over a wider spectrum and longer duration. This is also the case with our Faculty, especially with regard to its main function, namely the training of ministers. However, it still runs two modules as part of its sharing in the broader emphasis of the University on community engagement and societal engagement. Therefore it is necessary to see the function of the two modules within the broader framework of the Faculty.
The Faculty trains ministers of religion by way of agreements with the church partners and in this way has a direct impact on these communities. The agreements provide for various structures which link the research and teaching skills of staff members and students with these communities and reciprocally enrich and align the programmes that the Faculty offers with the needs of these faith communities. The close consultation with the church partners and the Ecumenical Advisory Board regarding undergraduate training serves as a feedback loop to align the training needs of faith communities with the programmes offered by the Faculty.
Since 2013 the Faculty runs two modules, namely CYE 210/210 and PFN 310 to integrate community engagement into the curriculum by teaching, learning and assessment of academic programmes through a “programmes-based approach”.
A large number of postgraduate research projects involve the specific needs of faith communities, and the Faculty has developed a process through which the Research Committee monitors the research. The process was introduced in 2013 and will continue in 2014. At the same time the Centre for Public Theology as well as the Centre for Contextual Ministry is planning a project on the important issue of social cohesion – Spirituality for Liberation, Democracy and Social Cohesion in South Africa.