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Koinonia graduates speak of their experiences

Susan Richardson will always be grateful for the “insightful and eye-opening” classes at the Koinonia Training Centre that helped her attain her doctor of ministry degree.

Rev Dr Madeline Hayward is looking forward to using her master’s of ministry degree to benefit the First Church of God Angle Street congregation.

The women were among a group of eight students who graduated from the Koinonia Training Centre last month.

Founded in 2014 by Rev Dr Conway Simmons and his wife Joan, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees which are accredited through the Christian International School of Theology.

Leroy Richardson, Beverly Jones, Vanessa Scott, Andre Hayward, Edwina Fullerton and Claudette Smith completed their studies alongside Ms Richardson and Ms Hayward. On June 27 they were officially recognised for having earned various degrees: the associate of ministry degree, bachelor’s of ministry degree, master’s of ministry degree and doctor of ministry degree.

“It was extremely refreshing to attend KTC classes,” Ms Richardson said. “We had courses on studying the word, intercessory prayer, signs to look out for in the last days, what the Bible tells us about spiritual gifts, and even preparing for missions.”

The courses allowed discussions about the New and Old Testament scriptures. The students were also encouraged to use “multiple versions” of the Bible such as The Message Bible and the New International Version.

“In addition, we were encouraged to look at the meaning of scriptures using background, time frame, events, history and author, to understand the context of the scriptures,” Ms Richardson said.

“One of the most powerful things we received from attending classes was to reflect on our relationship with God and maximise the gifts he has given us to make a difference in our community.”

The Koinonia Training Centre was created with a view to assisting Christian laypersons to develop Godly relationships according to Biblical standards and prepare them for ministry.

“Covid 19-did not disrupt our classes at all,” Ms Simmons said. “Our best effort was to set up classes via Zoom with live instructors and Fast Track instructors.

“Covid-19 has taught us to adapt more resilient and flexible approaches going forward. To our detriment, it has disadvantaged us from praying together at the end of every class.”

The graduates intend to use the information and spiritual tools they learnt through training in various capacities within the community. Some will continue to support ministry in their churches; others will look towards transitioning into leadership roles.

“As a pastor and a graduate from KTC, it has given me a better understanding on how to present what has been taught,” Ms Hayward said. “The classes have been very informative. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15: ‘But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.’ There are questions that are being asked, and we need to be able to help others by having a Biblical answer.”

Ms Fullerton’s hope is to expand her ministry through community-based pastoral care.

“Listening compassionately, connecting immediately, loving unconditionally is the road to Jesus Christ building on the gift of pastoral care/chaplain,” she said. “This is my spiritual calling to continue to build on my Christian education and help Bermudians to live past fear and isolation.”

Ms Simmons encourages anyone who has been contemplating training in Christian theology to consider Koinonia Training Centre.

“There are so many wonderful experiences waiting for you as you join with other students in the class,” she said. “The courses we offer will help you to experience God in a real way and will also expand your knowledge in the word of God. We go the extra mile to help students succeed in their calling.

“The benefits are it gives the layperson the confidence where their confidence needs to be – in God’s word. It also makes their gifts more effective, like a sharpened axe. Training the layperson for ministry makes the strength of their giftedness stronger. It helps them to invest in the life of the church and assist the pastor with various ministries within the church.”

For more information about Koinonia Training Center contact Joan Simmons: joansimmons319@gmail.com or 236-3680

Koinonia Training Centre graduates: Anthony and Susan Richardson and Vanessa Scott and Beverly Jones. Front row from left: Andre and Madeline Hayward, Conway and Joan Simmons; Claudette Smith and Edwina Fullerton (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 17, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated July 16, 2021 at 11:05 pm)

Koinonia graduates speak of their experiences

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