This is the fourth installment in our SIFAT Remembers column, written by cofounder Ken Corson. This article was published in our February Journal, which you can download here.
At the time I was discovering a more practical theology, one that served human needs—physical as well as spiritual. Schmaucherâ€™s ideas, based on small scale and self-help rather than welfare, fit with my thinking. Thus before we left to work under the Bolivian Methodist Church, we went to Vermont for training in appropriate technology.
After two years of ministry in Bolivia, we returned to Alabama. Sharing stories of how we had used technology in the context of the church stimulated interest among Christians who heard us over several states. We called a meeting in our home church, Wedowee United Methodist, where we shared the great concern we felt for the hungry and suffering in our world. Those present responded by helping us create SIFAT as a Christian non-profit corporation. The founding name was Southern Institute for Appropriate Technology. However, at the first board of directorsâ€™ meeting, the founders agreed that we wanted the world to know that this was a work of faith, part of our living out our Christian commitment. So we adopted a second name also—Servants in Faith and Technology. The acronym for both names was SIFAT (See-fat). Not only did this name include faith, but also the aspect of servanthood which is a fundamental aspect of Christâ€™s teaching.