By Mark Brown
Students aged 15 to 19 who are interested in exploring the mysticism of theology will welcome a new program being formed at Huron College.
On Nov. 19, Huron College was awarded $150,743 US from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. in a competition on theological programs for high school youth, said Wolfram Gretchen, communications director for Lilly Endowment Inc..
Many of these high school young adults are quite capable of exploring the theological ministry, she said. "It may or may not appeal to them, but it allows them to find out."
Over 202 accredited theological schools were invited to apply to any of the three competitions, she said. Gretchen added Huron College was one of 11 schools splitting a total of $1.8 million.
"In the past few years we have seen a few theological schools that were working with high school age students and these programs have been really successful," she added.
"Youth in the church need to be more of a priority," said Rev. Bradley McLean, dean of theology at Huron College.
The endowment grant will be used to create a program for high school age students to spend two weeks developing leadership skills and learning more about theology, he explained.
The program will involve youth from all seven diocese across the province, McLean said. "We are hoping to select students who are already known for their good leadership."
He added the money from the grant will be used to cover the cost of providing transportation, accommodation and web usage for the two-week program for 25 students. McLean said the grant will keep the program running for three years, but added he hopes it will last longer.
Pat Dunn, director of education with the London district catholic school board, said any program which provides opportunities for secondary school students needs to be promoted.
"I do see some merit in theology as well," he said. Dunn added believing in a supreme being will help young people who are trying to seek some structure in their life.