On Saturday 18 May, Wales Evangelical School of Theology (WEST) held its annual thanksgiving service.
In January, a partnership began with the Porterbrook network, which has opened up worldwide opportunities. Since February, church-planting students from Operation Mobilisation Europe have trained at WEST. Former student, Sean Rossi, was reported as being instrumental in this decision.
It was reported that WEST has now passed the government’s stringent Quality Assurance Agency requirements and should be able to accept non-EU applicants for all courses.
With the support of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) and the Association of Grace Baptist Churches South East, four fully-funded awards for the three year BA and the two year Binary Course had been made available.
The principal praised staff and volunteers, and announcements were made about staff changes. Dr Tom Holland, director of biblical studies, will work part time.
New members of staff were announced: Dr Cornelius Bennema, a Dutch theologian who will start in June; and Rev. Phil Hill, from Bridgend, who will be pastoral and church theologian.
Board member Dr John Stevens from the FIEC is standing down. Dr Steve Timmis from the Porterbrook Network will replace him and Jonathan Stephen will move on to serve on the Porterbrook board.
It was noted that the shape of theological training was changing and adaptation was vital, without losing the school’s strengths. However, there was no substitute for full-time seminary education and WEST would welcome new students.
Forthcoming events were advertised, including the Revival Conference from 22-29 June, and a Greek discourse workshop from 3-5July.
Three former students who had recently died were fondly remembered; and students from various courses were interviewed. All spoke positively about what they had learnt but also that they had grown in their relationship with God.
Paul Mallard, Director of Training and Development for the Midlands Gospel Partnership, preached passionately from Colossians 1:9-14. He spoke on the apostle Paul’s prayer that the Colossians would know God’s will and please God’s heart — by faith alone, grace alone, and through Christ alone.