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New Scholarship Announced for Postgraduate Students from South Asia

Homepage Feature — 9th July 2020

New Scholarship Announced for Postgraduate Students from South Asia: The Hermann Gschwandtner Postgraduate Scholarship

NTC-Manchester is launching a new scholarship to provide assistance for postgraduate students from South Asia. Designed to support students pursuing full time or part time study, the award will be named after a man who invested more than twenty-five years of his life in the work of the Church in South Asia, Dr Hermann Gschwandtner.

Dr Hermann Gschwandtner, who retired in 2015 from his role as Field Strategy Coordinator in South Asia, is a man of many gifts. Before becoming a Nazarene Minister in Frankfurt, Germany, he ran a parachurch organisation that handled literature distribution – and then swiftly took on work with the Church in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, a time when he began to develop ministry in the area of compassionate ministries. This mushroomed, and led to his coordinating compassionate ministry efforts throughout South Asia – which led directly to starting the work of the Church of the Nazarene in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. From 2000, he took over the work of the JESUS film ministry in India and South Asia.  In 2010, he took on the role of field strategy coordinator for the South Asia field, in a time which saw thousands of new churches planted, often in challenging circumstances.

When I look back, I am filled with gratefulness to the Lord who performs the impossible and who opens closed doors and who gives a great harvest that is truly plentiful and who provides the leaders and people and who truly builds His church. (Gschwandtner)

Christianity is a minority religion in South Asia. Statistics indicate that 2.3% of India’s population is Christian; about 0.5% in Bangladesh and Nepal; 1.7% in Pakistan; 7.5% in Sri Lanka; and 0.9% in Bhutan.  In spite of the challenges, in many parts of the region Christianity is growing swiftly, and new congregations are springing up.  The need for trained ministers, and for qualified teachers to prepare those ministers, is acute, and this scholarship is designed to help prospective faculty members, identified by local leaders, complete postgraduate degrees at NTC, which will enable them to enhance educational opportunities in the region itself. South Asia is also urbanised, and highly educated, so the leadership there has determined that new churches in the cities need leaders with appropriate training, at least to degree level.  This scholarship, working alongside leadership in India, will invest in developing indigenous faculty to further support learning and training.

Gschwandtner says, “When I look back, I am filled with gratefulness to the Lord who performs the impossible and who opens closed doors and who gives a great harvest that is truly plentiful and who provides the leaders and people and who truly builds His church.”   This scholarship, named in his honour, is shaped to equip and resource those leaders, and build on foundation already established.

If you would like to give to this scholarship, or get more information, please contact finance@nazarene.ac.uk