Leon Felipe, a Dream, a Goal.
Casa de Paz. ..... and that includes a meeting place, a place for the formation of laymen and clergymen, where by means of courses and lectures people can brush up their knowledge at a high standard, but where they can get emotionally their breath back as well in the warm environment A place to meet the Other in the other.
A place for people like you and me. Léon Felipe himself was a poet. In Berichtenblad 67 you will find a poem of his at the very last page. (Both in Spanish and Dutch)
For this project much building awaits us: a totally new student's apartment, and a floor on the existing buildings... Even a chapel is planned – that existed in the times of Philips II, and whereof the ancient wall is preserved. It will be there, at His time.
El Escorial is becoming a student’s place.
That target group is now on hand, and the atmosphere where in a
suchlike place can be a success, is not an utopia, but reality. Let us
pray and work, do our parts with money and love and attention, and
maybe even muscle power, to make this great work possible.
The beginning is there.
Description of the projects by the SEUT itself:
Centro de formación y espiritualidad de El Escorial 1. INTRODUCTION The Seminario Evangélico Unido de Teología (SEUT - United Evangelical Theological Seminary) is a Christian non-profit making centre for leadership formation, based in Madrid, Spain.
SEUT’s vision - to serve the Church of the Spanish-speaking world in the area of leadership formation. It bases its ministry upon two main pillars, which are especially important for the creation of a high quality teaching institution in a Hispanic context:
Academically sound programs taught by properly qualified teachers; and
A teaching approach that enables wide access, and integration of the academic, practical and spiritual aspects of training.
SEUT’s history - We are an interdenominational seminary sponsored by the Iglesia Española Reformada Evangélica (Anglican) and the Iglesia Evangélica Española (Reformed – Methodist & Congregationalist). A predecessor of the current seminary originated in 1884, and continued to teach students during the long years of religious persecution and intolerance of Protestants in Spain. However, SEUT was essentially refounded in 1992, with a new staff and a fresh vision: in addition to the traditional model of residential training we started to deliver a program of Theological Education by Extension. This program is the foundation upon which SEUT builds both its distance learning and residential ministry.
Accreditation – In a European context the only worthwhile accreditation is official governmental recognition. SEUT has this as a result of its contract, signed in 1997, with the UK’s Open Theological College (OTC). The OTC was established by a consortium of seven leading British seminaries to offer a distance learning BA (Hons) degree in theology. SEUT has the sole right to translate into Spanish and teach the OTC course in the Spanish-speaking world. Students completing their studies (in Spanish) through SEUT receive their degrees through the OTC; and we are subject to the rigorous quality control procedures of the UK university sector.
Students & staff - We currently have 108 students from 24 different denominations, of which 20% are from outside Spain, both in the United States and Latin America. There are seven full time and three part time academic staff, plus 2 ½ (wte) non-academic staff. Of the academic staff six hold doctoral qualifications, and four possess Master’s degrees.
Centro de formación y espiritualidad de El Escorial - This paper describes the people we seek to serve, and the project to create a Centro de formación y espiritualidad (‘Training and retreat centre’), in El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain. One of the buildings on the site was owned and used by Phillip II, the Spanish King who built the Monastery of San Lorenzo of El Escorial, and who promoted the Spanish Inquisition. The creation of a Protestant training centre, open to all, will be a powerful symbol of harmony between different traditions. 2. THE PEOPLE WE SERVE 2.1 There are four main groups of people that we seek to serve:
Part-time church leaders - There are almost 2000 Protestant churches in Spain. Many are led by missionaries, fewer by full-time ministers, and the majority by ‘part-time’ church leaders who combine these responsibilities with a secular career. The latter is also the norm in Latin America. These leaders require university level distance learning training if they are to be equipped to lead churches increasingly comprised of people from professional backgrounds.
Leaders who need to study full-time - There are also church leaders who have decided to study full-time. In particular, Spain is receiving an increasing number of students from Latin America, and SEUT expects to teach more students full-time in Madrid. They study the same programme, but with the added benefit of seminar classes and ready access to the library.
Leaders who need refresher training - Continuing education for leaders who have already received foundational training is also important. They need both the opportunity to meet with others, and to receive resources wherever they may be based.
Professional Christian people – Church members in ‘secular’ careers need help relating their faith to their work. And a Protestant Christian understanding to contemporary debates and a truly Protestant spirituality is often needed in the Hispanic world. 3. WHAT SEUT DOES 3.1 We currently serve these people in the following ways:
Provision of a high quality distance learning degree in Theology officially recognised within the European Union, as a result of our agreement with the UK’s Open Theological College (cf. 1.4 above).
Seminar classes for those based in Madrid, studying either full or part-time.
Programme of evening lectures for church leaders, students and others.
Publication of the Colección Seminario, a range of key texts previously unavailable in Spanish. As a result of SEUT’s agreement with CLIE, a Spanish publishing house, these books are distributed throughout Spain and Latin America.
Publication of articles, book reviews, etc. in a supplement to the magazine Cristianismo Protestante.
Provision of a library of 10,000 volumes for all those interested in study and research.
A continuing education program for church leaders.
3.2 As part of the strategic development of SEUT the following extra activities are planned:
Creation of an interdisciplinary and interdenominational student residence, Colegio Universitario Ponce de la Fuente (brief biographical details of Ponce de la Fuente are included in Attachment 1). Development of a centre for personal research and for group retreats and conferences. All of these activities have the common theme of leadership formation. This is SEUT’s focus, and developing our capacity to do this better and for more people is the purpose of creating the Centro de formación y espiritualidad de El Escorial.
SEUT’s strategic plan (Attachment 2) details the strategic goals for 2000-2010, along with target completion dates. 4. CENTRO DE FORMACIÓN Y ESPIRITUALIDAD Needs to be addressed - There are three main needs which the creation of a Centro de formación y espiritualidad will address:
SEUT’s present, rented, accommodation is already far too small. Specifically, all offices are shared, the library is inaccessible, and there is only one small lecture room. In order to function properly it is necessary to move to larger and more suitable accommodation.
Buildings for the interdenominational and interdisciplinary student residence (to be called Colegio Universitario Ponce de la Fuente) and the conference and retreat centre (to be called the Centro Leon Felipe – see Attachment 1 for some biographical details) are required, so that we can provide residential training for some of our students.
In order to move towards greater self-sufficiency SEUT must increase the number of students that it teaches. To achieve this goal more space is required, both to provide the distance learning degree in Theology, and for residential students.
Location – The Fundación Federico Fliedner owns a large plot of land in El Escorial that it will lease to SEUT. El Escorial is a small town 45 minutes from the centre of Madrid, the capital of Spain. It boasts excellent public transport services and is well connected to the road network. The site we will use is 30 seconds walk from the train station. Several universities have campuses in the town.
4.3 Elements of the ‘Centro de formación y espiritualidad’ - The buildings currently on this site are: a modern three floor building of about 380m2, an adjoining row of cottages constructed 100 years ago, a detached house called El Castillo, and three small cottages, including La Chimenea (see Attachment 3). The plans for developing the site are as follows (see Attachment 4 for a map of the site when the development is complete):
Seminary / Faculty of Theology
Phase A - Accommodation for classrooms, library, offices, archive, and staffroom
Phase B - Extension of office and classroom space to accommodate more teaching staff and a larger number of students
b. Colegio Universitario Ponce de la Fuente - This will be an interdisciplinary and interdenominational student community, supervised by a member of staff, not simply living accommodation for students.
Phase A - Provision of 15 single study-bedrooms, each with en suite bathroom, a kitchen/dining room and other communal services.
Phase B - Extension of Ponce de la Fuente to include 30 places.
c. ‘Centro Leon Felipe’ conference/retreat centre - Creation of a retreat centre for individuals and groups with bedrooms, conference areas, seminar rooms, etc. in a new building
Rebuilding of the ‘La Chimenea’ for use as a library. The latter will be open to the public, enabling SEUT to give a service to the local community.
A multi-use chapel, to be called Capilla Obispo Carranza (see Attachment 1 for biographical details), will be constructed between La Chimenea and El Castillo. One of its sides will be the extant wall built in the time of Philip II, and one of the others will open onto the garden. It will be available both for users of the Centro de formación y espiritualidad de El Escorial and the general public.
El Castillo - The residence of King Philip II whilst he supervised the building of the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, this building was restored as a large 4 bedroom detached town house by Federico Fliedner at the end of the 19th century. It now needs modernising for use as a staff residence, with rooms for official visitors.
4.4 Phasing the project - The design of the site means that we can develop the project for a Centro de Formación y Espiritualidad de El Escorial in the following phases:
Phase 1 – Seminary Phase A and Ponce de la Fuente Phase A.
Phase 2 – Refurbishment of El Castillo.
Phase 3 – Reconstruction of La Chimenea as a public library.
Phase 4 – Building of the chapel, Capilla Obispo Carranza.
Phase 5 – New building for Ponce de la Fuente Phase B and Centro Leon Felipe Phase 6 – Seminary Phase B 5. EVALUATION The development of the Centro de formación y espiritualidad will be project managed by Pedro Zamora, Co-Director of SEUT, and Jonathan Rowe, Development Co-ordinator.
The consulting architect, who will be responsible for overseeing the technical building aspects of the project, including compliance with building regulations and monitoring the quality of the construction, is Gerhard Glöckner, a German architect operating in Madrid.
A member of SEUT’s governing board, Joel Cortés, the senior partner of an accountancy firm specialising in audit work, will monitor the financial development of the project; and the Board itself will ensure that the project is being completed according to plan. 6. FUNDING
Sources – Given the historical significance of some of the buildings to be renovated we expect that the local government will be willing to subsidise some aspects of the project. SEUT has already secured money to develop the student residence, Ponce de la Fuente, and will seek the remaining funds from foundations, churches and trusts that wish to support the seminary’s ministry.
Sustainability – Apart from the seminary itself each element of the project is sustainable in its own right (Attachment 5 shows the budgeted income and expenditure for each cost centre). However, should SEUT have to take out a mortgage to finance any of the building work, which we would be prepared to do because we are convinced that this is the way to build a strong base for our ministry, other strategic objectives will be compromised. For example, SEUT will not be able to move towards greater self-sufficiency with respect to staff costs.
Risks – There are risks to the success of the project. The first is if we do not manage to secure all the necessary funding for the building work. This risk is reduced, however, because it is possible to phase the building work, as described above. Secondly, income from operations may not be as high as necessary for one or more of the cost centres. This risk is reduced because it will be possible to cross-subsidise between various elements in the short term, because SEUT has an extant income stream from existing operations. In addition, there appears to be clear potential for a centre such as SEUT’s in the new markets we intend to enter.
Plans to secure funding – SEUT is already in contact with existing supporters to ascertain whether they will be willing to help with the development of the Centro de formación y espiritualidad de El Escorial, and is seeking to appoint a Communications and Fundraising expert to help raise the remaining funds. ATTACHMENT 1 – Biographical details Constantino Ponce de la Fuente
Constantino Ponce de la Fuente (1502-1560) became chaplain to Philip II and a renowned preacher of Seville cathedral. He was accused of heresy and died in prison. The experts argue as to whether he was an Erasmanian or Lutheran, but his books and sermons clearly identify him as an advocate of spiritual reformation.
We are uncertain whether permission from the estate of Leon Felipe is necessary for us to use his name. In any case this poet has been chosen because his work combines profound spirituality with vehement criticism of religious hypocrisy. In addition, his personal history (1884-1968, he died in exile) places him amongst those in Spain who believed that faith should not be an instrument of oppression, but should instead lead to service in society. For this reason he believed it both possible and necessary that there should be a dialogue between the City of God and secularism.
Bartolomé Carranza de Miranda The Dominican friar Bartolomé Carranza de Miranda (1503-1576) became Archbishop of Toledo, but his book Comentarios sobre el Catecismo christiano was condemned as heretical by Melchor Cano, and he was imprisoned from 1559 until his death. Carranza was undoubtedly Catholic in his doctrine, but at the same time maintained Pauline principles that made him suspect in the eyes of the Inquisition. ATTACHMENT 2 – SEUT’s Strategic Plan 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 SEUT's team has developed the following strategic plan for 2000-2010. The three main emphases are:
a. Thorough training to meet the needs of lay people.
b. Thorough training to meet the needs of church leaders.
c. Contribution of a Protestant Christian perspective to contemporary debates and spirituality.
1.2 What follows is an explanation of the objectives that we have for SEUT in each one of these areas, along with their implications for the development of SEUT as a seminary and theological college. In short, we aim to consolidate our activities as a seminary and develop as a faculty, so that we can become a Protestant institution of the same quality as the best Roman Catholic seminaries and university faculties in Spain. 2 Plans for training Church members 2.1 New “Discipleship” Course
Develop the course for lay people entitled “Discipleship”, or other suitable training courses. Target date: 2003.
2.2 Increase evening classes
Offer a complete programme of on-site evening classes during two terms. Target date: 2008. 3 Plans for training Church leaders 3.1 More students
Offer the Open Theological College’s translated course throughout the Spanish-speaking world (already in progress), teaching a minimum of 200 students, of whom 20 are residential. Target date: 2005.
3.2 Translation completed Complete the translation of all three levels of the OTC program. Target date: 2005.
3.3 Develop the ‘Colección Seminario’ Publish books and journals with appropriate publishing houses, giving priority to course textbooks and works produced by SEUT’s own academic staff. This open-ended project is already in progress.
3.4 Improved library access Offer better study conditions and access to the library. Target date: 2005. 4 Contribution of a Protestant Christian perspective to contemporary debates and spirituality 4.1 Publishing and conferences programme Publish articles in academic journals according to the research interests of the faculty, and have a programme of conference participation, some organised by SEUT. Target date: 2005.
Convert this insert in Cristianismo Protestante into a fully-fledged journal, with all the usual sections: articles, reviews, opinions, etc., whilst maintaining its present ties to the magazine. Target date: 2004.
4.3 Centro Leon Felipe Create a centre for personal research, and group conferences and retreats for continuing education, and the promotion of Protestant Christian perspectives to contemporary debates and spirituality. 5 Plans for the development of SEUT as an institution 5.1 PhD qualifications for all academic staff
Fulfil the requirements necessary to apply for official recognition as a faculty of theology, including three members of staff with PhDs in each area of academic specialisation (Biblical Studies, Theology and Church History, and Ministry and Mission). Target date: 2010.
5.2 Collaboration with other institutions
We think it is worth developing the relationship with the Pontifical University of Comillas, working towards a formal agreement with a special emphasis on accreditation and validation. Target date: 2007.
5.3 Completion of the ‘University Residence Ponce de la Fuente’ Offer to students of various university disciplines a managed residential centre with pastoral leadership and support, emphasising community and service. Target date: Summer of 2001.
5.4 New premises Move to new premises that will meet both the present needs of the seminary, and those foreseeable for the next 25 years. Target date: 2003.
5.5 Facilities development
Develop information technology, with a special emphasis upon Internet access to the library catalogue, and linking with databases of special interest for teaching and research. Target date: 2010.