Recently, the Nicaraguan Protestant University Martin Luther King (UENIC) graduated their first class of 24 graduates from the new two-year Master’s degree program in Church History and Christian Thought. Ten female and 12 male church leaders from a variety of ecumenical backgrounds, including Pentecostal, Mennonite, Moravian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Church of Christ, and Catholic, studied and successfully completed the Master’s degree program in Church History and Christian Thought. Because participants came from a variety of churches and different regions of the country, the program and discussions were enriched by the diversity of backgrounds in terms of theological, pastoral, and cultural differences. This degree program has helped to prepare new Church Historians to meet the current a demand for research and a better understanding the mission of the church and Church History in Nicaragua. As a result, 18 students from the program have requested to begin a research project in 2017 in the areas of theology and Church Mission History with the University, and several graduates have been selected to teach graduate level courses at the UNEIC and other theological schools and research centers across the country.
The program was enriched by the opportunity to study under visiting professors, Dr. Carmelo Alvarez, originally from Puerto Rico and retired Global Ministries mission personnel; and Dr. Adolfo Ham, church leader from Cuba. Their lessons on Protestantism in Latin America and the Caribbean and the History of Theologies in Latin America and the Caribbean provided opportunities for engagement on these important topics, and were unique opportunities to learn about the role of the Church in a broader geographical context. Here are a few accounts from recent graduates:
Rosa, a graduate of the Church History Master’s degree program and Mennonite Pastor, says: Now I am trainned to teach Church history, theology, and social ethics at the Mennonite Theological Institue, as well as preach with a good biblical hermeneutic.
Edward, a graduate of the Church History Master’s degree program and Baptist pastor, says: I feel more competent to teach at the Baptist Theoligical Seminary. My understanding of Church Mission History has increased, and I feel prepared to cultivate ecumenical dialog and propose new ideas for Church unity and diaconal action.