The Union Biblical Seminary is unique in the sense that it represents evangelical Christians from almost all the major Indian ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups as well as from other countries. The dynamic principle of ‘unity in diversity’ finds expression in everyday experience based on the solid foundation of the person of Jesus Christ, to whom every member of the UBS family is committed. The vision of UBS from its founding is the fulfilling of the Great Commission in the contemporary socio-economic, cultural and religious context of India. This involves training committed men and women to become more effective ministers and mission leaders who will facilitate the Indian Church in fulfilling its calling. In other words, the Seminary sees itself as the handmaid of the Indian Church, and this self-understanding is reflected in all it seeks to do.
History and General Information
The Founder-Principal of UBS, Rev. Dr. Frank J. Kline , was, to begin with, the Principal of a Marathi-medium Bible School opened by the Free Methodist Church in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. This school was founded to train leaders for the local churches. However, several developments took place after World War II, and the medium of instruction was changed to English when it was found that several church and mission groups other than the Free Methodist expressed their desire to send candidates for ministerial training to the school. The Evangelical Fellowship of India was founded in 1951, and soon after the cooperating church and mission groups decided that there ought to be made available ministerial training of a good standard to those called to serve in the church. In 1953 the Union Biblical Seminary was officially constituted as a joint effort of eleven mission and church groups.
Rev. Dr. Frank Kline was chosen as the first Principal, and the Bible School of which he was already Principal was merged into the new institution. Today, there are more than thirty churches, Christian Institutions, missions and Christian organizations represented in the Union Biblical Seminary Association, the body that governs the Seminary.
In 1975, the Union Biblical Seminary Association decided to relocate the Seminary to the city of Pune. There were several reasons for this historic decision, but perhaps the most important of these was that there was inadequate scope in the relatively isolated town of Yavatmal for the integration of ministry experience and classroom learning that is essential to relevant ministerial training. In contrast it was felt that in Pune, a cosmopolitan city with a population of more than one and a half million and about 45 congregations representing seven languages or more, there would be more than adequate scope for such integration. So the Seminary was relocated in 1983 to the new campus at Bibvewadi, a southeastern part of the city and about 8 kilometres from the Pune Railway Station. The campus is on a beautiful hillock, overlooking the city.
Union Biblical Seminary is primarily a community of peoples. Its faculty, staff and students come from various cultural, regional and language backgrounds. Consequently, the medium of instruction is necessarily English. On the other hand, the variegated character of the community provides rich opportunities for cultural interchange and interdenominational understanding. The Seminary is committed to training men and women to “rightly handle the word of Truth”, not only those who can afford to come for a residential course, but also those who cannot, for one reason or another, afford to do so.
The Union Biblical Seminary Association, the faculty and staff, and the students are committed to the biblical and historical foundations of the church and seek to express this commitment in their personal and corporate lives.