The resources for Trinity in terms of sites, buildings, library, equipment and staff can be traced as far back as 1898 to the contribution of the Malaya Methodist Theological College, the successor to the Jean Hamilton Training School (for men), the Bible Training School and the Eveland Seminary (for women). The Methodist Church provided a secure tenure of the property to Trinity in the form of a long term lease. This was later extended to St Peter’s Hall, the Anglican hall of residence, which was originally sited in St Andrew’s School, Woodsville. The Revd Dr Hobart Amstutz, who later became the Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaya, served as Trinity’s first principal.
In 2001, Trinity moved to its new campus at Upper Bukit Timah Road. This campus is equipped with modern facilities to meet the challenging needs of theological training in the new millennium.
A Union Institution
In 1955 the Methodist Missionary Society of the Methodist Church (UK) entered into partnership with Trinity Theological College and, at the invitation of the Board of Governors, assigned a teacher to the faculty and subsequently a member to the Board of Governors. In 1957 the Protestant Episcopal Church (USA) assigned a teacher to the Anglican Church for training purposes, and with the concurrence of the Anglican Church he was invited by the Board of Governors to join the faculty of the College. In 1962 the Lutheran Church of Malaysia (later becoming the Lutheran Church of Malaysia and Singapore) was admitted as an affiliate member and sent their first faculty member at the beginning of 1966. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia was granted affiliate membership, with their first member to the faculty in 1965.
In 1970 the Chinese Department of the Methodist Theological School in Sibu, Sarawak, was closed and became a part of Trinity. Their students came to Singapore to complete their theological education.
The Protestant Church of Sabah became a constituent member from 1975 to 1985. In October 1998, the College celebrated its Golden Jubilee and welcomed the Anglican Diocese of Kuching into the governing body of the College.
A Centre for Theological Studies
Trinity initially offered a three year theological programme in English, leading to a Licentiate in Theology. A Senior Cambridge Certificate was then the main entrance requirement. In 1952, a parallel theological curriculum in Chinese was introduced. For those without the necessary academic qualification, a Certificate of Theological Studies was introduced in 1956.
The extension of the three-year programme to four years gave rise to the very first theological degree offered by the College. This degree, the Bachelor of Theology (BTh), was awarded in 1960. In 1966, the College added the Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree, also a four-year course, based upon university matriculation. The Master of Divinity (MDiv), a three-year programme offered to university graduates, was introduced in 1977. The BD and the MDiv were rationalised and streamlined in 2002 to become an integrated curriculum.
To help pastors with a first theological degree to further enhance their professional skill, Trinity introduced the one-year MMin programme in 1975. Trinity conferred its own MTh degree in 1993. This programme focuses on training through reflection in the following areas of concentration: biblical, historical-theological and pastoral. To meet the ever-changing need of bearing witness to the gospel in the Asian region, Trinity launched its own doctoral programme, the Doctor of Theology (DTh) degree, in 2001.
Trinity is a founding member of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA), which was established in 1957 in Singapore. Through this association, Trinity continues to supervise students taking up the Doctor of Theology degree (DTheol) of ATESEA Theological Union (ATU).
The graduates of the College serve the churches of Singapore, Malaysia and in more than 40 other countries. Many of them hold key positions.
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