The United Methodist University (UMU) on Wednesday officially announced the commencement of a graduate program in theological studies beginning second semester 2014/2015.
The commencement of the program is a precedent set by the university, “because many other graduate programs are in the pipeline to be introduced, the dean of the graduate program, Rev. Dr. Yatta Roslyn Young, disclosed.
She further indicated that the United Methodist Church (UMC) has been long in the vanguard of providing theological education in Liberia. The program started several decades ago by the UMC-run Gbarnga School of Theology (now College of Theology). The college was established in 1959 to train indigenous ministers of the Gospel to take over the leadership of the church from Western missionaries.
Since then, Rev. Young said, the college has been offering diplomas and undergraduate degrees in general theology, with hundreds of graduates desiring to pursue post graduate studies in theology.
“We thank God for endowing our leaders with the vision and giving them the inner tenacity to expand our learning space by adding yet another facility of learning to the academic programs presently being offered at the UMU,” Rev. Dr. Young asserted.
She said that the program is the culmination of the concerted efforts of UMU and its Board of Trustees.
“Though it was a tough road to travel, I’m happy and honored to inform the general public that the UMU has been granted a permanent permit by authorities of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) to offer the Master of Divinity degree (M.Div),” Dr. Young averred.
According to her, as a university, they are convinced that considering their enviable record and experience over the years, no other time is appropriate than now to proceed with the graduate program in theology.
By that, she assured prospective students that UMU is fully prepared and equipped with the requisite staff and facilities to offer the program. “This is because we are committed to being nothing less than what we have always been,” she declared.
In brief remarks, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, UMC Resident Bishop of Liberia and Chairman of the UMU Board of Trustees, said the Methodist Church has played a major role in the educational sector of this country since the 1830s. This began with the College of West Africa (CWA) in 1839.
Bishop Innis said the inclusion of other academic programs at the university is paramount to the country, because education is paramount to the mission of the Methodists, which calls for the church to make disciples for Jesus Christ.
According to him, the university’s administration and Board of Trustees have been working assiduously to ensure that the graduate program commences according to schedule.
The church, he said, takes pride in giving quality education to Liberians as well as developing minds through study and discipline.
“The UMC wants to liberate Liberians from spiritual darkness to light,” Bishop Innis declared.
The purpose of education is not only to intellectualize, but also to share with others what the teachers acquired over the years, he said.