With the academic year finishing in May, Wales Evangelical School of Theology’s annual meeting was earlier than previous years. But the meeting on Saturday 12 May was well supported and latecomers only just accommodated in the 250-seater marquee in the grounds of Bryntirion, at Bridgend.
Peter Milsom chaired. New academic staff members Bob Letham and Mark Pickett took part in the devotions. Former council member, Ken Barker, read a moving tribute to John Dart, former vice-principal of Barry Bible College, who had died a few days before (see article adjacent).
Jonathan Stephen, WEST’s principal, reflected on his first year there. This had been an opportunity to look and learn. He paid tribute to staff, students and supporters. His predecessor, Eryl Davies, had kindly agreed to take up the important role of Head of Research. The new college name had been necessary to give us a clearly understood profile internationally. It was the third name change since 1936!
The principal spoke of his passion to see young, Bible-centred and culturally-aware preachers raised up. A new, intensive twoyear course was planned for their training, which would be developed in conjunction with ‘training churches’. Also, a new women’s course was due to start in September. A private conference this summer would take these various plans forward.
Jonathan Stephen outlined plans for a 500-seater auditorium, library and restaurant. A USA fund-raising trip with development manager Kerry Orchard was planned in June. He gave the twin assurances of no debt and not starting something we could not finish. It is to God we look both for the vision and means.
Jonathan Stephen interviewed eleven leaving students, most of whom knew what the next step was for them. Their next roles include Bible translation, pastoral, youth and schools work, Muslim evangelism, and further study.
Wyn Hughes, pastor of Heath Evangelical Church, Cardiff, preached a most appropriate sermon on Elisha’s cry: ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah?’ (2 Kings 2:14). The preacher asked: ‘Where are the Elijahs of God?’
He illustrated from the context that Elijah was fearless, faithful and fervent in prayer. He exhorted the students to emulate Elijah and the ‘New Testament Elijah’ – Paul. Such ‘Elijahs’ need, as Elisha did, a double portion of the Spirit of God.
Tea in Bryntirion House afforded time to eat, share fellowship, purchase WEST merchandise, and view the development plans.