An exterior view of the United Methodist University Graduate School of Theology in Liberia. Classes begin this month. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS

An exterior view of the United Methodist University Graduate School of Theology in Liberia. Classes begin this month.

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By Julu Swen, United Methodist New Service

More than 20 students begin classes this month at the United Methodist University Graduate School of Theology.

The Rev. Yatta R. Young, dean, said the school is starting with Masters of Divinity program now with the intention of later adding other disciplines such as human rights and peacebuilding.

“With over 20 students now registered, nothing can stop us from imparting theological knowledge into these enthusiastic Liberian ministers of the gospel,” Young said.

During an orientation meeting with the students and faculty members, Young said the school will ensure that Liberian clergy attain the highest and best theological education. “You are about to enter into a cutting edge institutional learning program,” she told the students.

She said overseas partners of The United Methodist Church in Liberia, especially the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, will not settle for anything less than excellence from the graduate school. The school obtained an operational permit after several months of negotiations, planning, and endorsements.

The dean said students with undergraduate degrees from the Gbarnga School of Theology will feed into the new graduate school.

“We expect that students graduating from GST will make use of this opportunity and won’t stop because they have undergraduate degree,” she said.

School serves other denominations

The United Methodist University graduate school has students from several denominations in Liberia in addition to United Methodists. Those include the Salvation Army Liberia Command, the Church of the Lord Aladura, and the Don Stewart Christ Pentecostal Church program.

“I am enrolling in this graduate school of theology because my experience at GST tells me that the United Methodist Church can better prepare me theologically than any other institution,”  said Tamba Gborie, a member of the Church of the Lord Aladura.

Jokor Varney Fahnbulleh of the Salvation Army said enrolling in the United Methodist graduate school of theology was “like coming back home because the founder of my denomination was once a Methodist.”

The graduate school of theology has faculty with doctorates in several theological fields. Faculty are hopeful that the United Methodist University, the Board of Higher Education and Ministry and Discipleship Ministries will enter into a partnership that will help to provide textbooks and e-readers for the students of the graduate school.