Striking social, economic and political changes in the Pacific region in the fifteen years following World War II stimulated the various island churches and missions to confer regarding questions facing the church about its own life and about its responsibility to the communities in which each denomination and mission served. In the first Pacific ecumenical conference held in Malua, Samoa, in 1961, it was agreed that there was a need for a central ecumenical institution to provide higher levels of theological education to better prepare Pacific church leaders. The Dudley House consultations made plans to enlist the cooperation of all church bodies involved in theological training in the Pacific for a central educational institution. In September 1962, a negotiating committee met in Suva and drew up specific, detailed proposals for the founding and operation of such a college. In 1965, the college was established in its current location in Suva, Fiji.
PTC was the first educational institution, secular or religious, within the Pacific region to offer studies at degree level and award an internationally accepted degree. It is a unique regional ecumenical theological institution offering academic programmes since 1965, serving the churches and countries of the Pacific islands. Since its founding more than 50 years ago, PTC has been instrumental in producing many educated church leaders, scholars, theologians, ethicists, and activists both for the Pacific churches and for the wider Pacific community. It is also the first institution in the Pacific to introduce and emphasise the importance of postcolonial studies through indigenisation and contextualisation both in theology and education, as well as assisting the churches and the countries in the region through the contributions of its graduates in their transitions towards religious and political self-determination. The college has also been instrumental, and still is, in shaping and guiding the theological responses of the churches of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) as it addresses critically many of the political, economic and social issues in the region from the perspective of the Christian Gospel.
PTC is made up of five (5) denominational traditions: Anglican, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian/Reformed. Today while still maintaining its firm Christian basis and focus as outlined in its Constitution, the college is increasingly becoming a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-denominational, and multi-religious institution in terms of its staff and students. It is one of the leading theological institution in the world in terms of contextual theology and hermeneutics and has attracted international interest. It has a long history of producing quality church leadership and graduates who have served in many capacities, including leaders of governments, churches, and theological and ecumenical institutions in the Pacific region and internationally. The college serves a diverse number of churches from sixteen (16) different countries from the Pacific region: American Samoa, Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Niue, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, and West Papua. It is governed by its own Council, comprised of representatives of owner churches, General Secretaries of the Pacific Conference of Churches and the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools and the leadership and management of the college.
PTC Strategic Theme
“Towards Theological Education for Leadership for Justice”
To develop PTC as a premier regional theological institution for Leadership for Justice
To provide for the Pacific Churches and the region integrated tertiary theological education for leadership that is prophetic and justice-driven, missiological, academic, socially contextual, that respects and celebrates the ecumenical and cultural diversity, that is relevant to regional stability, and that is informed by the life-affirming Pacific values and insights in an ever-changing environment
PTC Institutional Objectives
- To strengthen obedience to Christ’s vision of an ecumenical household
- To promote how theological and ecumenical education critically addresses issues of justice and how it contributes to changing the story of development in local, regional, and global
- To provide for the Pacific churches and the region leaders who are not just priests and theologians, but also prophets and advocators of justice
- To provide quality research that nurtures and promote theologies of justice and ways of knowing that are Pacific and contextual in nature
- To encourage the uniqueness of Pacific indigenous philosophies and spirituality in informing biblical and theological interpretation and vice versa
- To articulate the faith of the church for the region and to bring such faith into action in solidarity with the justice dimension of the gospel
- To make evident to the world the missiological task of the church towards regional stability
- To strengthen a wider and holistic understanding of Christian faith to include other religious faiths
- To work towards achieving the vision of the College while ensuring the integrity of the life and work of the College in all its programmes
- Justice: Defending and liberating the less-privileged and stabilising societies through theological critical engagement
- Integrity of Life for All: Affirming fullness of life for the whole household of God
- Relationality: Affirming the interweaving of multiple relationships, cultures, traditions, organisations, and disciplines
- Diversity: Respecting diverse differences as key to mutuality and trust
- Leadership: Empowering prophetic leadership to heal and transform societies
- Partnership: Fostering mutual like-minded partnership to develop PTC to achieve its vision