Revd. Dr. Jeffrey Truscott is no stranger to us in Singapore. He has been attached to the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS) and also various LCS congregations to assist as theological advisor while lecturing at Trinity Theological College for the past 16 years. He officially ended his term of service with TTC and LCS on 30 June 2020 and is waiting for a visa to move on to Indonesia for the next phase of his assignment by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) which has graciously sent and supported his ministry here.
Below is an interview article conducted with him.
- Can you tell us something about your background, training and assignments before coming to Asia?
I am an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, USA and Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I was pastor of ELCA congregations in Brunswick, Maryland, and then later one in East Earl, Pennsylvania. I received my PhD in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. I taught at Japan Lutheran College and Theological seminary from 2000 to 2004.
- How long have you been in Singapore and what prompted you to apply for the posting here?
From 2004 to 2020, I taught at Trinity Theological College, Singapore. Back in the late 1990s, the Lutheran Church in Singapore had been in discussion with the ELCA about sending a Lutheran scholar to teach at Trinity. All of that, for some reason, was put on hold because of 9/11. I was in Japan when the discussion began again in the early 2000s, and so I was contacted by the ELCA about moving to Singapore, which I was very happy to do.
- What are some of your reflections on your assignment as ELCA missionary to Singapore?
Teaching at TTC “stretched” me in many ways, especially the assignment to teach courses on preaching. It was a also a challenge to learn about the worship traditions of other Protestant denominations and be able to address the concerns and needs of students from those denominations. The biggest “stretch” of all was being the Chaplain of TTC and having to deal with all of the detailed work that that chaplaincy involved, as well as accommodate the traditions of the College and those of the various denominations whose worship traditions are part of TTC’s chapel life. I was very glad to publish three books while in Singapore, two with a local publisher. But most of all, I rejoice that I had a vital relationship with various LCS congregations and with their pastors, especially Redeemer, Bedok, and Jurong Christian Church.
- What is your forthcoming assignment and future plans?
I have been reassigned by ELCA Global Mission as lecturer in Liturgics and Homiletics at Sekolah Tinggi Theologia—HKBP in Pematangsiantar, Indonesia. Currently, the government of Indonesia is not granting work visas to foreigners due to the COVID 19 pandemic, so I expect to remain in Singapore for a little while longer before actually moving to Siantar. For the moment I am instructing my students in Indonesia through online Zoom sessions. The call to teach in Siantar is without limitation, so I expect to be in Siantar until my retirement.