7/19/2017 9:52:30 AM
Caribbean Congregation and School News
The Caribbean Christian Training Institute (CCTI) is a program designed to train Caribbean lay leaders and local teachers in biblical concepts. Through this program, teachers, musicians, elders, and deacons are trained regionally in the Caribbean.
In 2012, the WELS congregations and schools of the Caribbean needed more regional called workers to fill the expanding ministries on each of the three islands. Along with help from the South Atlantic Mission Board, the CCTI Committee worked with our synodical schools in developing a scholarship program for Caribbean nationals wishing to become WELS called workers. Caribbean WELS congregations and schools committed $25,000 annually toward the scholarship program. The program allows those Caribbean students with the academic gifts to pursue a full-time pastoral or teaching ministry by attending WELS ministerial schools. After graduation, they are placed in a Caribbean WELS church or school.
Although Martin Luther College (MLC) has had other Caribbean graduates prior to 2012, Joycelyn Christmas-John was the first Caribbean student to go to MLC through the scholarship program graduating in 2015. Joycelyn is serving St. John’s Lutheran School in Antigua. Evodia Cassius, the second graduate through this scholarship program, graduated in 2016 with an early childhood education degree. She serves as the preschool director at Trinity Christian Early Childhood Centre in St. Lucia. Ron Pile also graduated in 2016.
Currently Ron Pile is attending Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS). Tassia Clement and Cheryl Persaud are juniors at MLC, while Urvin Lewis, Braxton Alexander, and Micah Jarvis are freshmen at MLC. There are three additional candidates waiting to attend MLC and with aspirations of being teachers in the Caribbean. Montara Hamilton is working as a teacher intern at St. John's Lutheran school until there is enough money available to send her to MLC. She has been waiting since the end of 2014.
Even though the economy is only half of what it is in the United States, the saints in the Caribbean realize the importance of called workers well trained in the Word of God and are willing to make the sacrifice of $25,000 to support the scholarship program
Because of the interest and blessing of ministry candidates, about $75,000 is needed for this school year to support five students at MLC and one student at WLS. As the Board for Home Missions is not contributing to the fund this year, the other $50,000 was received through special gifts and donations. Next year’s anticipated shortfall is $57,000.
There are three WELS Lutheran churches and schools in the English-speaking Caribbean that support this scholarship fund: St. John’s Lutheran Church, Antigua (about 700 souls); Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Lucia (about 180 souls); and Grace Lutheran Church, Grenada (about 100 souls). Each congregation has a school. St. John's Lutheran Church is the largest WELS church in the southern half of the United States. St. John’s Lutheran School is the second largest WELS grade school (pre-k to
6th grade) with just under 300 students and is on track to expand to 450 in the next four years. A new 16-classroom facility will be dedicated in September 2017.
Currently there is a need for Caribbean Lutheran teachers at Grace Lutheran School in Grenada (100 students) and for Trinity Lutheran School in St. Lucia (20 preschool students).
Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) has partnered in gospel outreach for years with their Caribbean brothers and sisters in Christ. St. John’s Lutheran School received money to purchase their first playground equipment four years ago from the LWMS kids c.a.r.e. offering. The preschool at Trinity in St. Lucia received money for start-up costs when first opening its preschool dorms. They could not have begun without the help of LWMS. Over the years, many LWMS circuits have helped Caribbean students at MLC with gifts of warm clothing and items needed for dorm life.
The CCTI Scholarship Fund has also been able to partner in other ways with MLC in providing excellent God-fearing teachers to the Caribbean. The government of Antigua recently required all teachers to have a teaching degree. Up to this point, most island teachers did not have a four-year degree. This, along with the desire to offer the highest quality education on the island, prompted Pastor Andrew Johnston to partner with Professor Tom Hunter of MLC. The Daylight International Program allows MLC graduates to teach in a foreign setting. MLC is currently sending two students a year to cover the classrooms of the Caribbean teachers who are earning their degree.
The CCTI scholarship program and the Daylight International program serve to help provide qualified Lutheran educators for the three Caribbean schools. The CCTI’s scholarship program exists to help meet the ever growing demand for more pastors and teachers in the Caribbean. The CCTI’s Caribbean Scholarship Fund is set up to aid the young adults who wish to serve as those workers to meet that need. The fields are ripe and the need for workers is urgent.