Fourteen students celebrating academic milestones at the 53rd graduation of the Pacific Theological College were challenged to be reformers.
Chief Guest Rev. Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa who is the President of the Methodist Church of Fiji and the Deputy Chair of the PTC Council and Executive, challenged the graduates to be reformers.
‘Our Pacific needs more John Wesleys and Billy Grahams,’ he said.
‘Great reformers and change-makers, men and women who can move the fire of God’s spirit to sweep through the Pacific once again.’
‘To reform, revive and transform lives and situations.’
‘The church needs men and women whose top priority and mission are building up the kingdom of God in people’s lives.’
Rev. Dr Vakadewavosa said many issues afflicted the lives of people in the region the graduates needed to attend to.
‘We are called to be reformers, to reform the church, change the lives and mindsets of people and situations of injustice, corruption and secularisation.’
The graduation ceremony was especially poignant, considering the adversities of COVID19.
He added the symbolism of the graduation ceremony being held on November 11 or Poppy Day was profound.
‘You graduate at the end of a journey where you have overcome your own personal war,’ he said.
‘And you graduate in 2020 where we and the whole world have been fighting the COVID19 pandemic,’ he added.
‘You battle and you continue to overcome because you are covered by the spiritual red poppy or the blood of Jesus Christ.
‘Continue to fight the good fight and be a warrior for Jesus and uphold the unity and peace for all people, for the world.’
‘The academic year of 2020 will go down in the history of PTC as the most challenging year and the most difficult one also because of the COVID19 pandemic.’
‘Looking back from where I am standing now we have done well as an academic community and thanks be to God, we did it together,’ said Rev. Dr Vakadewavosa.
He reminded the graduates they were also being sent out to serve the people of the Pacific for God. He reiterated the words of the Lord Jesus as he sent out his disciples.
‘All authority in heaven and earth therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holdy Spirit,’ he said.
‘Consider where you serve as your Galilee’s, as your frontiers, as your mountains.’
‘These are places where you meet the people of all nations.’
‘Meeting them with their difficulties, victories and challenges but remember that God is sending you from his church where belong in God’s authority.’
‘That is the purpose of the church where we work together for the enhancement of God’s kingdom here on earth.
‘We have one common dream, to teach, to preach, to save lives through Jesus Christ, and that is our priority to feed God’s people.’
The fourteen graduates are;
1. Leslie Boroko (Master of Theology – Church History) – Anglican Church of Melanesia, Solomon Islands
2. Sioeli Sipaisi (Master of Theology – Church History) – Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
3. Sauileoge Pouli Jr (Master of Theology – Church Ministry with Distinction) – Methodist Church of Samoa
4. Esera Jr Esera (Master of Theology-Theology and Ethics with Distinction) – Congregational Christian Church in Samoa
5. Freda Muna (Bachelor of Divinity) – United Church of Solomon Islands
6. Sioeli Sipaisi (Master of Theology in Church History) – Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
7. Lewis Iotua Tutairi (Bachelor of Divinity Honors (1st Class) – Etaretia Porotetani Maohi
8. Toboora Tamatone ( Bachelor of Divinity Honors (1st Class) – Kiribati Uniting Church
9. Alilia Teu Ki Palataisi Mone (Postgraduate Diploma in Theological Studies) – Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
10. Mary Boroko (Certificate in Practical Arts and Life Skills) – Anglican Church of Melanesia
11. Sakiong Sanangke (Master of Theology in Church History with Distinction) – Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
12. Etele Falealii (Postgraduate Diploma in Theological Studies) – Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa
13. Panorama Setu (Certificate in Practical Arts and Life Skills) – Congregational Christian Church of Samoa
14. Leuelu Setu (Master of Theology in Church History) – Congregational Christian Church of Samoa
The graduation ceremony attended by dignitaries, heads of theological institutions and other guests and families was held at the Islander Missionaries Memorial Chapel.