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As human being, Balewiyata has identity. ‘BALEWIYATA’ is a name, is an identity, in Javanese. The founder of the name could not know exactly. Supposedly, for instance, written by Rev. Sardjonan,. the former of General Secretary of GKJW Synod, ‘Balewiyata’ had been launched by DR. B.M. Schuurman. He was the theologian from the Netherland. He was very well in Javanese. One of his Javanese dogmatic books was Pambijake Kekeraning Ngaurip (Revealing the Secret of Life). He was an expert in Javanese language. That is why Rev. Sardjonan wrote, that the Javanese name of ‘Balewiyata’ might be launched by DR. B.M. Schuurman. ‘Balewiyata’ consist of two words, ‘bale’ means ‘a house’ and ‘wiyata’ means ‘learning’. So, Balewiyata means a house of learning.
The identity of Balewiyata is ‘a theological school’ for enriching and deepening religious consciousness. How to be more religious rationally and also spiritually is the core concern of the Balewiyata. How to be religious people authentically is its basic design of Balewiyata’s program. The authentic of life, quoting the Javanese vocabulary, means making harmony between micro-cosmos and macro-cosmos. Micro-cosmos meaning esoteric inner struggle and macro-cosmos meaning exoteric dimension of religious consciousness should be so integrated harmoniously that people won’t be confuse by its tension.
Theologically, especially in the Javanese context, we need to dialog many aspect of life. For facilitating the process of the dialog, Balewiyata will be the laboratories.
Mojowarno. The pioneering era of Balewiyata was in Mojowarno, the first congregation in East Java Christian Church. Balewiyata started in 1905, 1914, and 1918. It was intended as the theological education in East Java. The first two events were launched by Ds. D. Cromelin. And the third one was launched by Ds. J.M.S. Baljon. All of them were implemented in Mojowarno. Unfortunately, the pioneering era did not successful yet. Since, firstly, conceptually the format of theological education was still trial and error. Before the pioneering of Balewiyata, there were courses on preaching at some places where the missionary lived. The goal of courses was preparation of Voorganger. Secondly, the priority was not theological education. Public school or public education was as the priority. Before studying the Bible, someone should able to read. That was why the second coming of Ds. Cromelin to Mojowarno, sent by ‘the conference of missionary’ in Jakarta, to lead public school. He was become the director of Normal School, secondary school.
Kediri. The resort managing formal theological education was Kediri. January 12, 1925 to be established ‘Javanese Pastor Education’, placed at an annex of pastor’s house of Semampir, in Kediri. The students were 15 people. All of them stayed in boarding school. Some of them stayed with family. More or less after 75 years at Mojowarno, to be established Javanese Pastor Education in Kediri. Its exact word was Gospel Teacher Education. The basic format of the education was living as sisters and brothers in a community. They learned intensively.
Malang. Viewpoint turned. From Kediri it turned to Malang, pushed by two motivations. Firstly was urbanization. And the second factor was fertility. The eastern of mount Kawi, Malang, was very fertile. And also Malang was like Jerusalem. It was at the hill.
On August 18, 1926, Nortier wrote, ‘embedded the first shovel at the land for digging it as the hole of foundation’ building of Balewiyata. At that location Balewiyata established up to now. The ceremony of first laying down the rock of Balewiyata building was on September 3, 1926. An important and interesting note of Nortier was that among many skilled workmen, who set forward himself, was a Haj. And, the architech was de Heer S.S. de Vries. The process of building was so fast that in 5 months finished. On January 13, 1927 was the first day of leaning in Balewiyata in Malang.
The anniversary of Balewiyata, as noted by Nortier, is January 6. It is on January 6 1927.
At the first time, the students of Balewiyata consisted of 2 listeners, 8 students married. The single student stayed at boarding school. And, the families of students stayed at duplex house. They study theology for 4 years. The first generation finished. And then, the new class opened. In 1932 opened a new class. The students were 16. Among them, 6 people married. In 1934, to be opened a new class. At that time, the GKJW student applied. The ecumenical students at Balewiyata consisted of 5 Balinese people. Some came from Muria, west Java, Kalimantan, and Halmahera.
Continually, Balewiyata become a kind of formal theological education. The out put of Balewiyata became pastors of East Java Christian Church, became pastor of the army institution and also the police institution. In the book of 50 years of East Java Christian Church wrote the entire students of its. Up to 1965 Balewiyata had passed 14 generation.
Up and down the process of Balewiyata life is going on. In 1942, ‘after Japan occupied Indonesia, Balewiyata had to be closed. A lecturer of Balewiyata, DR. B.M. Schuurman was captured by the Japanese soldiers. He died at the prison. At the period of 1942-1945, Balewiyata, practically, closed. The 7th generation started again in 1947.
From the beginning, Balewiyata was the ecumenical institution. In 1955 the theological education of Muria joined with Balewiyata. Western Indonesian Christian Church also joined with Balewiyata. And also the Eastern Indonesian Christian Church supported Balewiyata. At this era, the time for studying in theology should be 5 years. And, in 1959, it became 6 years. The 44th Synod assembly in 1963 decided that Balewiyata as the formal theological education.
The advance step and spirit of Balewiyata, still in the ecumenical spirit, Balewiyata to be joined with Duta Wacana Theological School. It took part at 1963.
Because of the long and significant history of Balewiyata, even if Balewiyata had been joined with Duta Wacana, Balewiyata still be functioned by the Synod of East Java Christian Church. Balewiyata became the lay center of East Java Christian Church. The students of Balewiyata are pastors, elders, deacons, and the church members. And then, Balewiyata called as The Institute of Theological Education ‘Balewiyata’. The program consist of come structure and the other is go structure.
An article of 56 Synod Assembly, in 1971, as written by Rev. Sardjonan, said: ‘If some day the East Java Christian Church needs to open Balewiyata as the formal theological education, it could be re-activated with a new form. And, it was right. The 88th, in 1988, East Java Christian Church decided that Balewiyata be -reactivated for preparing the East Java Christian Church pastors. We called it Crash Program.
One of the programs of Balewiyata as the theology laboratories is interfaith dialog. After the international seminar on Pro-Existence, in 1991, Balewiyata continually led interfaith dialog both between Christian and Muslim and all religious people at the national and international level. We discuss about religion as well as discuss about religious people itself. On how transforming our character of life into peaceful one more and more. Live in participants among the real and authentic community is the implementation of the transformation of character of life in the context of interfaith dialog.