Principal of Bishop Gwynne College, Juba, Visits BDS
Trevor Stubbs, principal of the Bishop Gwynne Theological College in Juba, Sudan, visited Berkeley Divinity School during the third week of June. Stubbs and his wife, Tina, were responsible for reopening the college following the civil war and an ensuing financial crisis.
Retired from full-time ministry in the Diocese of Salisbury in the UK, they traveled to Sudan, having never been there before, and set about the task of starting from scratch. Two years ago, they started with 15 students, in a single small building that housed the students, served as their chapel and classroom, and included a small library and outdoor kitchen. Now the college has 50 students, has moved into larger quarters, and is financially viable.
Stubbs spoke movingly to students and faculty about the challenges of the church in the Sudan. "Sometimes," he said, "all you can do is to name the injustice. You may not be able to change the situation, but at least naming it makes it bearable." His words rang true the next morning when notice was received that the diocesan school had been robbed the night before: the guard macheted and left for dead, the safe broken into, the computers gone.
Asked how he chose work in retirement that many would find daunting at any age, he said, "The joy comes from knowing that you are doing God's will. And then the relationships are what give meaning. It's not the status or the prestige or anything like that, but the sense of doing what God wants you to do."
Stubbs is stepping down this year and handing the school over to a new principal who is a native Sudanese and recent graduate of Duke Divinity School. "Actually," he said, "I never accepted the title principal. I was only the interim administrator."
BDS Dean Joseph Britton visited Bishop Gwynne College in the spring of 2010, and Jesse Zink '12 M.Div. spent several weeks there in the fall of that year. "We would be delighted to have other students come as well," Stubbs said, encouraging a growing and continued exchange between the two schools.