An Update from
Wally Burman serves with Latin American Biblical University, Costa Rica.
My wife Ann Hidalgo and I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica at the end of 2020. Ann accepted a teaching position at Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana (UBL) here in San Jose. I accompanied her to UBL and am serving as a Global Service Worker with Global Ministries. UBL offers upper-level degree programs and pastoral formation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and will soon be celebrating its 100th anniversary.
The students who attend UBL are from different denominations and a variety of backgrounds. UBL celebrates the diversity in its classes which allows the sharing of different life experiences and theological perspectives. Hence, UBL directs its theology and biblical studies programs towards the contextual needs of its students. UBL’s students are involved in their churches, faith-based organizations, and educational institutions. UBL’s goal is to empower students to participate in processes of social transformation, defending human rights, etc.
There are three areas of focus that UBL incorporates into everything they do. These areas are gender justice and equality, ecological or environmental justice, and social justice, and human rights. These three areas are part of all the projects that UBL is involved in; such as the Green Team that seeks to make UBL’s campus sustainable and make educational processes available to students. Gender justice and equality are also part of everything that UBL does and are present in every course taught along with women’s participation in theological education, in the church, and in society. The area of human rights and social justice has been a part of UBL since its beginning.
Because of the pandemic, UBL has moved all its classes to a virtual format since April 2020. UBL currently has 100 students who participate in the bachelor’s and licensure programs. These students are from approximately seventeen different countries and twelve different churches, including Catholic and Indigenous.
UBL also has several ongoing publications. UBL’s next big project is providing Consultations on Practical Theology, which will be held online with 50+ participants, focusing on what it means to do theology through churches, faith-based organizations, and social movements in the face of the challenges within the region.
Besides the programs in theology and biblical studies, UBL has an Open Education Program and the Continuing Education Program with the annual participation of 180+ students. UBL also has two master’s programs, one in theological studies and another in religious studies and gender diversity involving 30+ students.
UBL has been and continues to be the leading educational institution in Latin America by educating its students in the aforementioned areas of gender justice and equality, ecological or environmental justice, and social justice and human rights. With such a focus, UBL delights in celebrating its upcoming 100th anniversary and is committed to being the leading educational institution for many years into the future.
I am working on my Spanish, volunteering in the library of UBL, and volunteering with UBL’s Green Team by working in the community produce gardens that are located on the UBL campus.
My fluency in Spanish is growing, but not as fast as the vegetables in the community garden, as evidenced by the pictures! Life is good here in Costa Rica as their national slogan “Pura Vida” indicates. I appreciate your prayers and interest in the projects that I will be involved with as my Spanish fluency improves. Thanks for your prayers and keep the faith.
Wally Burman serves with Latin American Biblical University, Costa Rica. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.