Who We Are
We are the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH), a network of people and institutions that since 1992 has been working in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and more recently in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and improvement of theological education and its impact on the lives of individuals, churches, and communities.
We promote and certify the quality of Hispanic theological education programs and contribute to the leadership development of women and men who strengthen our congregations and communities.
We are a community of experts and leaders who share a passion for promoting theological education. Our network is made up of educators, researchers, directors of educational institutions, pastors, denominational leaders, NGO and FBO leaders, authors, lecturers, and students.
Our Mission Statement
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many definitions of theological education. At AETH we understand it as the set of values, concepts, resources, and programs necessary in the process of forming people who seek to serve God by serving their neighbor, caring for all creation, and promoting fullness of life.
Education forms and educates people, but theological education does so with the aim of educating individuals and communities in the principles and values that cultivate and promote life, according to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, theological education is vital for the development of society.
Theological education is an ongoing process that encompasses formation offered in the home, in congregations and parishes, and extends to institutions that develop postgraduate programs. It is a process that never ends.
AETH is unique and its name represents it well, because we are an association formed voluntarily by people committed to Jesus Christ, promoting life in fullness, and fostering the preparation of leaders for communities of faith and society.
COLLABORATION is one of our core values because it brings together the contributions we can individually make, enabling us to improve our service. It is also a way of resisting the selfishness that can society seeks to impose.
Theological education is vital for the development of society, educating individuals and communities in the principles and values that cultivate and promote life, according to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Association for Theological Education (AETH) fosters the development of theological education in the Hispanic/Latino community to better serve individuals, congregations, and communities.
We carry out our mission as followers of Jesus Christ and in collaboration with all persons and organisations committed to improving the quality, impact and scope of Hispanic theological education. The vision with which we work has in view the whole church, with all its diverse understandings of its life and mission; with its doctrinal, organisational, ethnic and socio-cultural diversity.
ELEMENTS OF OUR BIBLICAL-THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION
- All creation belongs to God and has given humans stewardship over it.
- While human beings seek to generate well-being, their own will takes precedence over God's will, thus producing brokenness and much pain, both interpersonal and global.
- God has revealed Jesus Christ, the author of life, as the model and alternative for a new and full life.
- The Kingdom of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, is the context in which human beings taste and experience the fullness of life.
- The church, a sign of the Kingdom of God, sustained by the Holy Spirit, proclaims the good news of the gospel, denounces the works that oppose God's will, and forms those who believe in Jesus Christ to live as he lived.
- Church leaders must be able to live and instruct others as disciples of Jesus Christ, according to his teachings and example.
- Church members live their lives as followers and witnesses of Jesus Christ, so that God's will may be done here on earth, cultivating constructive relationships with all creation, all people, themselves, and God.
We serve all people interested in theological education and Hispanic theological education. This audience includes:
- Professors, researchers, and executives linked to theological education institutions.
- Institutions of theological education and church institutions with ministerial training programs.
- Students in ministerial training programs and theological education institutions.
- Pastors of churches and heads of denominations.
- Lay people and volunteers serving in a variety of ministries and churches.
- Workers and managers of NGOs, FBOs, and community development organizations.
- We focus on the Hispanic/Latino(a) community living in the United States, and
- In the Spanish-speaking community throughout the rest of the continent
AETH ENVISIONS A FUTURE IN WHICH:
- Churches, denominations, and non-denominational groups:
- Prioritize increasing the number of Hispanic men and women trained for ministry.
- Ensure that those already in ministry have easy access to resources and support, and are continually connected to quality programs and courses that are culturally sensitive and available in both English and Spanish.
- Recognize the existing efforts to develop church leaders and provide resources to support them, to promote the vitality of the church's impact on society.
- Institutions at various levels of theological education:
- Increase opportunities for Hispanic men and women of all ages, especially young people, to be trained for and during their service in ministry.
- Maintain a culture of continually updating educational contents and mediations so that the training program is relevant and pertinent in the 21st century.
- Anticipate the needs of society and local communities, generated by the impact of global and local forces of change.
- Collaborate and participate in joint projects and programs through which knowledge and experience are shared, maximizing the use of available resources.
- To build a networking environment that enables students in theological training institutions to see themselves as part of an ecosystem that shares similar goals, exchanges knowledge, and generates new opportunities for service.
- Entities that promote the quality of theological education:
- Inspire and nurture a culture of innovation in the theological education system, to foster an environment of shared excellence and relevance to the needs of the 21st century.
- Collaborate with AETH and support its role as an institution that promotes quality theological education for Hispanics.
We seek to positively impact all of society and the church through:
- Promote more broadly the expansion of theological education among Hispanic churches and denominations and among denominations that have programs with Hispanics.
- Promote the quality of Hispanic theological education in Bible Institutes and other ministerial training programs.
- Strengthening relationships (to connect, collaborate and contribute) with key partners in the theological education ecosystem.
- Develop internal organizational capacity to support projects leading to the achievement of strategic objectives.
- Achieve a balanced budget in all AETH operations.
- Share learning based on the experience of theological education institutions, the network of Bible institutes, and local denominations and churches.
In 1988, with PEW support, Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez conducted a study on the state of Hispanic theological education in the United States and Puerto Rico, which revealed that:
In the Hispanic community, pastors play an important role and make a significant contribution to the churches in the communities;
Leadership training for Hispanic churches is primarily done through Bible institutes and training programs in churches and denominations;
Most Hispanics serving in church ministries do not have access to seminaries that are members of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS);
There is a great need to promote greater dialogue and collaboration among the wide variety of institutions and programs that provide theological education to the Hispanic community.
This led a small group of women and men involved in theological education in the United States and Puerto Rico to organize the First National Gathering of Hispanic Pastoral Teachers in August 1991. More than one hundred people from all regions of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico gathered to share experiences, needs and dreams for the formation of men and women for pastoral ministry in the Hispanic church. This group, representing churches from various denominations, Bible institutes, and seminaries, decided to create the Association for Hispanic Theological Education (AETH).
In 1992, the Second National Meeting of Professors of Hispanic Pastoral Ministry was gathered, which was to be the first assembly of AETH. A similar group of people met this time to discuss the statutes of the association, to elect the first Executive Director of the organization and the first Executive Council. Dr. Justo González was appointed as the first president of AETH.
Since then, and without interruption, members of AETH and partner organizations have met in a Biennial Assembly to discuss and deepen open issues related to the expansion and quality of Hispanic/Latino theological education.
Thus, in response to the needs and expectations of the Hispanic churches and their leaders, for more than 25 years AETH has developed a variety of resources and programs that have been appreciated and used by the Hispanic community, both for self-training and in support of theological training programs conducted by churches, Bible institutes, and seminaries.
True to one of its original purposes, AETH implements its work in collaboration with institutions of theological education and with denominational organizations and agencies interested in supporting the theological formation of Hispanic leadership.
These collaborations have given rise to the programs that today identify the work of the AETH: the production of books and other resources for theological formation, the Pastoral Gatherings Program, the Certification Program for Bible Institutes, the programs carried out through the Justo y Catherine González Resource Center Foundation and, more recently, the Network of Hispanic Bible Institutes.
The creation of AETH and its more than 25 year history are the result of the movement of the Spirit among people and institutions willing to collaborate for the expansion and quality of Hispanic/Latino theological education. AETH continues to mature and grow. Under the guidance of the same Spirit, it will continue its mission in favor of theological education, the church, society, and all creation.