SMMS President, Prof RS Kumalo, while in San Antonio, Texas in the US recently, held meetings with key scholars and representatives of US seminaries and universities to explore possible partnerships with SMMS.

Prof Kumalo was attending the 2016 American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting. The prestigious AAR Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology, bringing together thousands of professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested laypersons each year.

Prof Kumalo met with Prof Ted Campbell, a highly respected scholar of Methodist History and Prof Evelyn Parker, a leading Practical Theologian and specialist in Youth Ministry from the Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. The discussion centred around a possible partnership between the two institutions and in particular on an exchange programme for staff and students of the two institutions. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was prepared for signing. Prof Kumalo also met with the Dean of the School, Prof Grain Hill who gave his blessings to the discussions on the partnership between Perkins and SMMS.

The President also met with the Dean of Duke Divinity School, Prof Elaine Heather and former Dean, Prof Richard Bishop Hayes. The discussion centred around the partnership between the two institutions. Duke is sending its Director of International Relations to SMMS in January 2017 to finalise the MOU.

Prof Kumalo also met with Prof Cherif Keita from Carlton College in Minnesota and Dr Rosinah Gabaitse from the University of Botswana, who are both doing research on Nokuthela Dube, the wife of Rev John Langalibalele Dube. The discussion was around collaborating on the Incwadi food security project through the Khoza Mgojo Centre for Social Justice and Transformation. At the meeting, SMMS was tasked with organising a commemoration of Nokuthela’s death in June to highlight the plight of women in our church and nation.

The President also met with Dr Matthew Charlton of the Campus Ministry, who visited SMMS in October and Prof Traci West, a respected scholar of Gender Studies, from Drew University. She is also United Methodist and is hoping to visit SMMS in the new year.

Meanwhile, Chief Editor of New Room Books, Dr Kathryn Armistead, informed Prof Kumalo on the sidelines of the AAR Annual Meeting in San Antonio, that he has been appointed member of the Editorial Board of the publishing house.

The board consists of the most respected scholars of the Wesleyan tradition. It is an honour for Prof Kumalo to be on this board, but most importantly, it also adds value to SMMS’ profile for having its leader on this prestigious and respected board.