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brief history of SATS

The Early Years (1932-1945) 


In the Treaty of Paris in 1899, the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States, thus, became the latter’s colony. Various church groups from the U.S., including the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., known as PECUSA, came to preach the Gospel and established churches, schools, hospitals, all over the country.


On March 27, 1901, the Church Club of the PECUSA decided to take on the challenge for missions in the Philippines, and after the PECUSA convention that year, sent the first missionary bishop: Charles Henry Brent. All of his missionary staff were Americans. They established churches, schools, and hospitals that still exist and growing such as the National Cathedral of St. Mary and St. John (February 3, 1907); St. Stephen’s Parish, Manila (November 3, 1903); St. Luke’s Medical Center (1903); St Mary’s Church, Sagada; Holy Trinity Parish, Makati; Brent Schools International; Brent Hospital, Zamboanga; Easter College, Baguio; St. Stephen’s High School, Manila; All Saints Mission Elementary School, Bontoc; St. Mary’s High School, Sagada; among many others.


It was during the term of the second missionary bishop: Governor Frank Mosher, because of the financial depression of the 1930s in the U.S. and the world, the PECUSA Board of Missions was not able to provide clergy for domestic and overseas missions. Bishop Mosher was pressured by circumstances to look for alternatives to provide workers in the field that his jurisdiction acutely needed. He presented this need to the 1930 convocation, challenging it to consider the establishment of a seminary.


The convocation took the challenge, and approved a resolution establishing the St. Andrew’s Training School in Sagada, and designating Fr. Lee Rose to be in charge of the training program. Fr. Rose and his fellow missionaries taught in this School while taking care of the 17 outstations of the Sagada mission. Fr. Clifford Barry Nobes, one of the missionaries, recruited Fr. John Ramsey and Wayland Sterns Mandell, both of whom became the first full time Faculty of the School. With their arrival, it was decided that the training should follow the requirements of PECUSA canons. However, there were seminarians about to graduate in the old curriculum, which they did. So, on January 25, 1938, by the grace of God, Eduardo Longid, Albert Masferre, and Mark Suluen were ordained Deacons in Manila. Mandell was also ordained.


The new curriculum took effect as programmed by Mandell, but classes were interrupted by the outbreak of the war in December 7, 1941. When all the American missionaries were arrested and made prisoners, the first 3 St. Andrew’s graduates now ordained, took the Worship Services in Sagada, Kiniway, Besao, Tadian, Lubon, Sumadel, Bantey, and Bontoc. Praise the LORD JESUS CHRIST! His servants trained in St. Andrew’s have proven worthy of the training and trust given to them in very difficult and even life-threatening circumstances.


Post-war years and move to Metro-Manila (1945-1964)


After the war, the third missionary bishop: Norman Spencer Binsted

(who succeed Bishop Mosher in 1940 and was taken prisoner too) sold the church property in downtown Manila, and bought 15 hectares of land along E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue in Quezon City, what is now Cathedral Heights. He envisioned a modern seminary in this new place. Then, he offered the Deanship of the seminary to Mandell, and in 1945, Mandell accepted, and in 1946, started to gather the students in Sagada, whose studies were interrupted by the war, to come to Quezon City, to continue their studies. Mandell also recruited Faculty, such as Fr. Raymond Abbit, and staff, like Mr. Bonifacio Somebang. Bishop Binsted called this seminary, “St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary,” or “SATS.” He also granted that the Philippine Independent Church (PIC) seminarians to study at SATS, receiving the many blessings of this Episcopal Church-owned and operated Seminary. Classes began on September 16, 1947 with 21 students in the four-year levels. The first statutory or full-time Faculty after the war included Dean Mandell, Fr. Spackman, Mrs. Spackman, Fr. Abbit, (1947), Fr. Harry Ellsworth Chandlee (1948), Fr. Conrad Myrick (1951), Fr. Floyd Foster, and Fr. Freeston (1952). In 1953, permanent seminary buildings and three faculty houses were completed.


The first Commencement was held on June 4, 1948, which graduated seven students, all remnants of Mandell’s training school in Sagada, now SATS graduates! Fr. Ezra Diman succeeded Mandell as Dean in 1961 for the latter’s health reasons. In the same year, SATS granted the Bachelor of Theology degree to 10 graduates. In the same year, the new St. Andrew’s Chapel (SATS Chapel), designed by Architect John Van Wei Bergamini, was consecrated by Bishop Lyman Cunningham Ogilby, the bishop who succeeded Binsted.

Changes in a changing world (1965-1979)


In 1965, SATS became a founding member of the Association of Theological Schools in South East Asia= now, the word “Schools” was changed to “Education,” or known as ATESEA. For health reasons, Dean Diman resigned in 1966, and was succeeded by Dean Charles “Kelly” or “Django” Clark in 1967. He reported to Convocation in 1968 that a new curriculum is being implemented to equip the seminarians for the ministry of a changing church in a changing world. In 1977, Dean Clark was succeeded by Dean Robert Hibbs, who recommended that the seminary staff should be governed by National Church standards. During his deanship, a search for a Filipino dean to take the deanship commenced.


High Standards and High Expectations (1980-The Present)


As his arrangement with the SATS Board to serve three years, Dean Hibbs finished his term and left in 1980, and was succeeded by Fr. Henry Kiley, the fifth Dean and first Filipino Dean. Towards the latter part of that decade, the Seminary started offering a new Master in Divinity programme for those who hold a first Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Because SATS is part of the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology or SEAGST (a regional consortium of Theological Schools), presently known as Asia Theological Union, or ATU, three graduate programs were offered: a]Doctor of Pastoral Studies, b]Doctor of Theology, c]Master of Theology. It also maintained its Theological Education by Extention which was a non-residential three-year program for lay members of the ECP and PIC churches.


Upon Dean Kiley’s retirement, Dean Edward P. Malecdan succeeded him in 1994 as the sixth Dean and second Filipino Dean. During his deanship, the Master in Divinity program has become a four-year normative program of theological studies at SATS. The Bachelor of Theology program was offered to those who earned at least 75 units of Arts and Sciences courses from any accredited college or university. Likewise, a National Consultation involving the major stakeholders of the Seminary was held during Dean Malecdan’s term which led to the definition of the Vision-Mission of the Seminary and the introduction of some amendments to its goals and objectives.

In 1997, Dean Malecdan was elected the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines. He was succeeded by Dean Joseph P. Laus in 1998 as the seventh Dean and third Filipino Dean. During his term, the Bachelor of Theology program was offered simultaneously with the Master in Divinity.


Upon Dean Laus’ retirement in 2001, he was succeeded by Dean Tomas S. Maddela, the eighth Dean and fourth Filipino Dean. Aside from the regular Core curriculum offerings of the B.Th. and M. Div., a separate training program was established to target the development of specific ministerial skills. A Lay Theological Program was started and courses were offered in different ECP dioceses.

As the Seminary celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2007, a National Consultation was again called which led to the definition of the Seminary’s Vision-Mission 2008-2018. The Prime Bishop Dr. Ignacio C. Soliba, D.D., called a leadership-level meeting of SATS Board of Trustees and Faculty in April 21-22, 2008, in which the Seminary’s Vision-Mission 2008-2018 was officially adopted, and the curriculum was developed that is relevant, inspiring, significant, and enduring, which is in line with the Vision-Mission statement.


The ninth Dean and fifth Filipino Dean, the Very Rev. Doctor Patrick Tanhuanco, was installed on June 15, 2008 by the SATS Board of Trustees Chairperson, Prime Bishop Dr. Ignacio C. Soliba, D.D. The Dean, together with the Faculty, implemented the new curriculum and Seminary programs according to the SATS Vision-Mission 2008-2018. During its March 24, 2010 meeting, the Board of Trustees, under the Chairmanship of its former Dean and former Prime Bishop Dr. Edward P. Malecdan, D.D., decided to make the SATS Dean also the Seminary President, following the practice of the Presidents and Deans of The Episcopal Church Seminaries, thus, making Dean Tanhuanco the first SATS President. In the same meeting, the Board approved the SATS Redevelopment Project which includes plans for a new multipurpose building (a long-term future development plan), the refurbishing and improvement of the present existing main building, and continuing faculty development program for several faculty to earn a doctorate in their field of concentration. Looking back since 1980, the following faculty earned their doctorate, during their term at SATS as statutory faculty =Dr. Artemio Zabala=D. Theol.-Germany-1981; Dr. Guillermo Juan, Jr.=Ed.D.-Philippines-2001; Dr. Tomas Maddela=S.T.D.-Italy-2007; Dr. Gloria Mapangdol=Th.D.-Singapore-2009.


On December 2010, the Board approved a continuing fund raising project to raise PhP10 Million for a permanent and perpetual scholarship fund, in which only the interest will be used to support needy seminarians to finish their theological training, which otherwise cannot because of financial constraints. This will enable many persons who are called by our LORD JESUS CHRIST to the ordained ministry to be trained and serve Him and people in His Church and the world.

The Lay Theological Program was revived, and several courses were planned and offered to the 6 ECP dioceses and the PIC dioceses, as SATS coordinates with the dioceses for the training of its lay people for effective ministry in obedience to Christ’s mandate to make disciples, to preach the Gospel to all nations, and to equip the saints for work of ministry, to the glory of God the Father.

Select References: [1]Malecdan, Edward P. “St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary: Through the Years 1932-1990.” The Philippine Episcopalian (3rd Quarter, 2010): 3, 16-23. {This article is where most of the historical facts and dates of this SATS History were taken} [2]Botengan, Kate Chollipas. Pearl for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines. Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila: The Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines, 2002. [3]Tanhuanco, Patrick. “The Effects of Teacher Training on Filipino Ethnic Chinese Episcopalian Lay Adults and Their Students.” Doctor of Ministry Thesis, Denver Seminary, 2002. [4]Various Minutes of Meetings, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, from April 2008 to March 2011. [5]Various Minutes of Meetings, St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary Faculty Meetings, from June 2008 to November 2010.

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