First non-Adventist minister graduates from NCU
REVEREND Wayan Wellington of the New Testament Church of God recently became the first non-Adventist to graduate from Northern Caribbean University's (NCU's) Master of Arts in Religion programme.
Wellington, who serves as the national youth director of the New Testament Church of God in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, earned his Master of Arts degree in religion with emphasis in the New Testament after two and a half years of study.
He received his diploma during the first commencement exercise of NCU at its main campus in Mandeville on August 12.
"The experience with Rev Wellington was refreshing and effervescent," said Dr Newton Cleghorne, dean of the School of Religion and Theology (SRT) at NCU. "He was open-minded and willing to be challenged. His participation in the course gave us an opportunity to share with the wider religious community, which is a part of our philosophy in the SRT. We currently have four students at the undergraduate level from Sabbath-keeping churches (not Adventist) who are completing their studies in the Bachelors of Arts in Religion."
Wellington is the fourth person to graduate from the Master's programme since it was introduced in 2009.
"Normally, individuals from my church would move on to do these courses at the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology or Jamaica Theological Seminary, but I chose to do the course at NCU to get a different experience," he said. "In addition, I was stationed at one of our churches in George's Valley, Manchester, which made it easier for me."
He had high praise for the NCU programme.
"Without any form of reservation, I would say that the lecturers at NCU are excellent," Wellington noted. "The course content was very good and I had a great fellowship with the other students in the programme."
The master's programme at NCU has three emphases: the Old Testament and the New Testament and theological studies.
"The atmosphere was a comfortable one, with open and frank people [who] did not make me feel out of place," Wellington said. "We had intense discussions, but mature ones, which in the end gave me a different viewpoint and I now have garnered a greater deal of respect for the Adventist doctrine and belief. It was a rewarding experience. I have grown spiritually because of my time at NCU."
Meanwhile, beginning in September, SRT will focus its attention on ensuring that all graduates are proficient in conversational Spanish or French.
"The reality of the global environment demands that for any professional to perform at optimum, he or she must be able to communicate in at least one other language," said Cleghorne. "We believe the gospel as it was on the day of Pentecost must be preached to all nations, tongues, kindred, and people by our graduates."