For Such a Time
14 May 2020
A little over two years ago, God in His sovereign plan gave Horizon the opportunity to partner with Overseas Council. The partnership would involve Horizon personnel teaching on the topic of online theological education at ten institutes around the world. Over the course of two years, 393 faculty from 112 seminaries from 54 countries came together in these institutes to learn how to move their programs into online learning environments. Little did we know then that the onset of a global pandemic, announced when the final institute was nearing completion, would force schools to close completely or to move their teaching online. God had prepared Horizon for such a time as this. If it were not for Horizon’s online platform and training resources, many of our partners could be facing permanent closure. Other schools have also seen the benefit of Horizon’s services and have contacted us about their need for help with online learning during this time.
We have also heard many stories of seminaries around the world that are facing serious financial challenges because of the pandemic. All have lost significant revenue. For example, one seminary generated revenue by renting its campus to groups for retreats. Due to the pandemic, they have not been able to rent their facilities and, as a result of the loss of revenue, faculty and staff have been laid off. In addition, due to restrictions of movement, some schools have students, faculty, and staff quarantined on campus for whom they provide food and accommodation. Since many professors and some students also pastor churches, some seminaries also contribute to the care of local churches in need. As trained counselors, faculty and staff also serve many in their churches and communities who are struggling to cope with the pandemic. In this midst of such a crisis, we have also heard stories of those associated with our partners providing for those in need. Because part of the preparation for ministry involves sharing the love of Christ, seminaries are also serving their communities by providing food and clothing for the needy. Some seminaries have even opened their campuses to provide food and shelter to refugees that the local government has rejected. One school in India is providing meals to over 100 families in a neighboring slum. One regional director in Central Europe said, “if the seminary is strong, the churches will be strong. If the seminary is struggling, the churches will be struggling.”
Horizon has identified three ways in which we can help our education partners to continue to operate during this global pandemic, a Learning Platform Fund, a Video Conferencing Fund, and an Emergency Relief Fund. We would ask you to prayerfully consider how you could help in these three areas of opportunity to bless these seminaries. Your gift of any amount will have a large impact on our seminaries for the remainder of this year and into the future.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration to these needs,