Love of God leads nurse to pursue Doctor of Ministry degree
When Gloria Burgess accepted Christ at the age of 11, she had no idea that she was being prepared for a life in Christian service.
A nurse by profession, she is currently completing her Doctor of Ministry degree, through the Koinonia Training Centre.
“I was brought up in a Christian home,” she said. “Both of my parents were believers and attended church. They naturally ensured that my brothers and I attended church and Sunday school. I was brought up in the Brethren assemblies and attended Crawl Gospel Hall, up until I left for school abroad. I always had a love for God but did not make a decision to serve God until about age 11.”
At age 19 Mrs Burgess left Bermuda to pursue a degree in nursing. In London, England she was “thrown out into the world” but never lost her faith. In fact, she believes her worldly experiences strengthened it.
“I really got to understand some of the teachings I received and, during difficult times, the verses I learnt came to life and were a tremendous comfort. I will always be grateful for my spiritual foundation in my youth.”
She later married Reverend Dr Milton Burgess. Despite her connection to God and the church, she never expected take on the role of pastor’s wife, but in hindsight she can see how God was preparing her for it all along.
“I never gave being a pastor’s wife any thought at all and did not even think I would make a good one, but Jeremiah 29:11 says, ‘I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’
“My Christian faith has been a source of strength and encouragement all through my many roles as wife, first lady, daughter, mother, and as a full-time worker in the nursing field. My life has not been easy but my quiet, but secure confidence in God keeps me going.”
An avid, lifelong learner, Mrs Burgess was introduced to the Koinonia Training Centre in 2018 through an evangelist, Joan Simmons. She became interested in learning more and decided to join as an audit student.
“I have always loved to learn, and I wanted to enhance my knowledge of God and the scriptures. Going abroad to study in a Bible school or seminary at this point in my life was not an option for me. When evangelist Joan invited me to join Koinonia Training Centre I was really enthusiastic because I could achieve my spiritual goals in a school right here in Bermuda.”
After a year of auditing classes, she was ready to enrol in the doctorate programme. She considers her increase in spiritual confidence the most rewarding part of the journey thus far.
“The biggest faith-based lesson I’ve received has been actually believing that I can hear God speak and activating my prophetic gift. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:31 that we can all prophecy. This takes faith, and proper instruction.
“This is a big part of the activation exercises and most of us were very green when we first started. Sometimes, we are not quite on the mark, but just as a baby learns to walk, we learn to prophesy.”
The most challenging part for her was “keeping up with the homework and submitting the assignments on time”.
“So far, I have been able to complete all of my assignments in good time. When I joined, I was told that degrees are not given away for free. You have to work hard for them, and this is very true.”
Mrs Burgess is currently finishing her dissertation and is confident that she will be successful. She anticipates completing in May of next year.
Once she has completed the programme she hopes to take what she has learnt and apply it in her personal life and through church ministry with her husband.
“I want to use what I have learnt to encourage others in their faith. We are living in some very challenging times and so many are overwhelmed with their circumstances. To be able to give a word of encouragement from God to lift people’s spirits and bring hope and positive change to individuals is very important to me.
“Whatever I have learnt in this degree is not just for me, but it is for others also. I want to make sure that I can share my knowledge with others and assist my husband in the ministry.”
• For more information about Koinonia Training Centre contact Joan Simmons: firstname.lastname@example.org or 236-3680