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Simo Frestadius appointed chair of theological association

Regents Academic Dean of Undergraduate Students has been appointed as the new Chair of The European Pentecostal Association (EPTA).

As the influence of the Elim movement grows, we are thrilled that Revd Dr Simo Frestadius, Academic Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Regents Theological College, has recently been appointed Chair of The European Pentecostal Theological Association, or EPTA as it's more easily known.

Established in 1979, EPTA offers a forum for promoting research and active fellowship, bringing together European Pentecostal educational institutions and scholars from around the world. It also promotes education and reflection in the broad area of Pentecostal theology.

In the 1990s many Pentecostal colleges began to obtain validation through secular universities, with the result that their relationship with their university became increasingly important, and often drew them away from meeting with each other, and sharing ideas together.

At this point EPTA found another string to its bow, as it's annual conferences continued, drawing a wider audience. It also kept its 'independence' from specific Pentecostal denominations, meaning it could continue to engage theological colleges in joining together to discuss and research topics beyond a denominational context. This shift allowed the association to become a progressive body, and as its scholars gained their doctorates, they probed further into their national histories and their founding theologies.

And that continues today. EPTA is an association of people who are Pentecostal and want to study Pentecostalism. Most are theologians and biblical scholars, and typically currently teach at Pentecostal or similar theological colleges and seminaries in Europe; or have done so in the past. Others are research students studying some aspect of Pentecostalism.

As Chair, Simo has a considerable task ahead. He will preside over meetings, conferences and research interests, guiding the association, and representing EPTA's interests at other associations and forums.  

He follows in the footsteps of two former principal's of Regents; Wesley Gilpin, the longest-serving principal at Elim Bible College as it was known in his day, and William Atkinson who was based on Regents current campus in Malvern, Worcestershire.

In Simo, they are in good hands as he has lived theology for most of his life. Originally from Finland, he moved to Tanzania with his parents who were missionaries when he was 1, heading back to Finland when he was 14.

He took his BA (Hons) in Applied Theology, and an MA in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, at Regents, and completed his PhD in Pentecostal philosophical theology at the University of Birmingham. He is also an ordained Elim minister, and during his time as a minister-in-training helped to lead a missional church.  

Not only does he lead the undergraduate programmes at Regents, but he is also Co-director at Regents’ Institute for Pentecostal Theology (IPT), another community of scholars working together to promote theological research in the Pentecostal tradition. The IPT which serves as a resource for students, scholars and the church across the UK, Europe and further afield, has recently launched a new podcast where it discusses theological issues.

As to the future, Simo said “It is a privilege to follow William Atkinson in becoming the EPTA Chair. My prayer is that EPTA would continue to support our individual, institutional and collective endeavours in doing Pentecostal theology for the benefit of the church, academy and wider society.

“In a context where ‘social distancing’ due to COVID-19 has become part of our everyday language and experience, may EPTA continue to connect us with like-minded scholars, and with people who are keen to uphold and promote the cause of Pentecostalism.”

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