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The McCormick Herald — Dr. Ken Sawyer Praises India J-Term

Check out the first 2016 edition of the Herald!  Click here full the full issue: Herald February 10.  In this issue’s cover story, David Goodwin talks to Professor Ken Sawyer about the J-Term India Travel Seminar.  

January has come and gone, and with it a plethora of experiences both here and abroad. Dr. Frank A. Thomas returned to challenge yet another generation of preachers. The D. Min program convened for a handful of courses including their Executive Leadership certificate. There were also two seminars, one of which went to India. Planned and led by LSTC’s Dr. Peter Vethanayagamony, and professors Sara Trumm and Mark N. Swanson, in collaboration with MTS faculty Dr. Ken Sawyer, Assoc. Prof. Christine Wenderoth, and educational leader, Nannette Banks, the trip took the group of 27 Chicago students and educators out- side of their context and comfort.

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The 2016 J-Term India Travel Seminar. Spot Professor Ken Sawyer in the second row on the far left.

The J-Term, titled “Indian Christianity in Its Religiously-Plural Context,” focused on the interactions between and traditions of both Western and Indian Christianity, Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Dr. Ken Sawyer de- scribed the trip as “an expression of cooperation between the two schools” no ng that it was an overall great experience, “discombobulating” their routines and expectations. As Prof. Sara Trumm observed on the “Cure”, “In about 70 hours, we are going to begin this journey of 45 contact people, 28 travelers, 16 days, 12 denominations, 5 interfaith site visits, 4 seminaries, 3 states/cities of South India, and one very big God!”

Star ng in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on the Southeast side of India, the group stayed at the St. Thom- as International Centre and visited Gurukul Theological Seminary. In the city of Bangalore, Karnataka (central South India), they rested their heads at United Theological College, and ended their travels in Kottayam/Kochi, Kerala on the West coast.

Ken also discussed several important experiences for both himself and the students: seeing a shortened gap between need and scarcity; experiencing a mode of pluralism different from its Western expression; the realities “of highly politicized religious questions”; and witnessing the fallout of “state-sponsored violence.” As they traveled through South India, the group maintained their budget staying in lower cost locales, “because churches are not elite and we were travelling among the church network.”

“I’m really proud of McCormick and LSTC students.” Ken said. “I wanted to continue traveling with them.” Noting that he hoped LSTC and McCormick would continue to benefit from our schools’ overlap.