Abegglen to serve at TCM International Institute
Monday, April 28, 2008
CANTON, Mo. – Dr. Sue Abegglen, Culver-Stockton professor of education, has volunteered to serve at the Training Christians for Ministry in Europe and Central Asia (TCM) from July 16 – August 2. TCM is located at the edge of the Vienna Woods, near Baden, Austria, and is an institute of higher learning where men and women from Eastern Europe and Central Asia can come and earn a master’s degree in Christian ministry or Christian education. The institute was recently the first overseas institution to be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
TCM was started in the 1960s as the Toronto Christian Mission in Canada and has evolved through the years, eventually moving to Austria. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, TCM became a training institute for educating Christian leaders.
“My husband and I were in undergraduate school with the daughter of one of the founders and the mother of the current president, Dr. Tony Twist,” said Abegglen. “We have been interested in the work ever since and have tried to keep in touch with them. There are a few full-time faculty members year-around, but for the most part, the faculty is recruited from U.S. colleges and seminaries to come as volunteers for the short sessions. Many classes are also taught in the various countries. I had several of these volunteer faculty as instructors in undergraduate school and several I taught with at my last college in Tennessee.”
Abegglen said she and her husband volunteered for a session in June 2007 and taught about 60 students from 11 different countries. “Additional students tried to come from Slovakia, but were detained at the border and refused permission to leave the country,” she said. “It was a humbling experience to be around these students who are very poor and are sacrificing so much just to further their education. Some of the Russians rode a train for four days without getting off for food to get to TCM in time for a session. They all have other jobs, so they can only take one or two classes a year by taking their vacation time to come and take one class. So it is much like our three-week classes, only a little shorter. Some classes are taught in English, others have interpreters.”
Abegglen said she has already been invited to teach in 2009 as well.
“Volunteers also help with for all the general ‘grunt’ work of the institute. Students also are expected to help out in serving food and cleaning up. I worked in housekeeping and hosting at meals last summer but I don’t know what I’ll be doing this year yet,” Abegglen said.
For more information on Dr. Abegglen’s volunteer work with TCM, contact her at email@example.com.
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