23rd March 2018
Praise be to God. On behalf of the BBC Board members, staff and students I warmly welcome all of you to the 8th Bachelor of Divinity graduation ceremony of Bethel Bible College, this day. Thank you very much for graciously accepting our humble invitation and being prayerfully present to bless the occasion.
We are grateful to the Honorable Shri N. Ananda Babu, Minister for Social Welfare & Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh for accepting our request to be the chief guest and to inspire the graduating students to dynamically serve the church and society at large.
BBC is thankful to Rev. Scott Alan Norling for his unfailing preparedness to address the graduating students. He is never tired of introducing the cause of BBC to his friends and likeminded ministries. His love for and relationship with BBC is evident as he visited us on the 18th October 2017 and spoke about the importance of relationships. He regularly invites our students and faculty members to attend different seminars organized by him in Secunderabad to help us enrich with multifaceted ministerial experiences. Mrs. Melody Norling’s commitment to BBC is no less significant. She has never failed to encourage us. Both of them together journeyed and are journeying together with us to lead the institution to greater heights.
Rev. Dr. P.N.S. Chandra Bose, the General Secretary of Gospel Mission of India and the President of Bethel Bible College is always in the forefront, leading and strengthening the institution. In spite of many challenges, his commitment to empower dedicated women and men, particularly from deprived section of the society, for God’s ministry in the church and society has yielded remarkable results. The 22 graduating students of this academic year and the 296 earlier graduates who are wide spread all over India and beyond the borders to bring about transformation in the life of many are the telling testimonies of his vision. We profoundly thank God for his life and ministry.
Our sincere gratitude is to the Rt. Rev. Dr. A. Rajavelu, Bishop of Vellore Diocese, CSI for setting apart his valuable time to speak to the graduating students this day. Seven students from his esteemed diocese have already completed their BD studies from BBC and three are currently pursuing their third year BD studies. Of the seven graduates, three are serving the church as pastorate chairmen and others in different capacities. We are richly blessed by the support, presence and encouragement of the bishop.
BBC is grateful to the Most Rev. K.F. Paradesi Babu, the Moderator-Bishop of Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church for accepting our invitation and being kind enough to greet all of us and specially the graduating students. AELC has always been great support to BBC. The faculty members and students from AELC are integral to the ecumenical vision of BBC.
We thank the Most Rev. Dr. N. John S. D. Raju, Moderator, I.C.M. Churches for accepting our invitation to bring greetings on behalf of I.C. M. Churches.
Dr. Arun Kumar Mahanthy, Director, A.M.G. International is a friend and well-wisher of GMI. We are grateful to him for being with us and bringing greetings. Thanks to Rev. Dr. Rakshanandam for his presence and greetings.
We thank Dr. Leela Bose, Member of the Board of directors and director of GMI Educational Institutions for her constant support and contributions to the stability and progress of BBC.
Mr. Jeevan Sylvanus, Chief Operational Officer-GMI, and Chairman- Olive Tree Creative Works deserves special appreciation. His constant financial and administrative support merits special acknowledgment. He, in fact, financially sponsors today’s entire physical arrangements for the graduation service and the ensuing dinner. His wife Dr. Raga Deepika always extends her helping hands to our students. We thank both of them for their generosity and dedication for God’s work.
Rev. Dr. Mani Chacko, General Secretary of the Bible Society of India is one of our Board Members and academic adviser. We thank him for the gift from BSI to the graduating students. Thanks to Rev. B.S. Rajasekhar, B.S.I. Auxiliary Secretary, A.P. for participating in the service.
We thank Dr. Joseph Paturi, (Trans-world Ministries) a Promotional Director of BBC for supporting 25 students to cover their subsidized scholarship.
Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, USA sponsors two BD students. We thank Rev. James H. Rockey, pastor and Mrs. Lois Schaefer, USA for their commitment to theological education and assuring us their continuous partnership.
Rev. Pau Za Khup and Mrs. Dorathy Khup are exploring new avenues to promote BBC and we thank them for all their efforts.
We also specially recognize the friends from Finland, Norway, Russia and South Africa.
We remain grateful to all the churches, organizations and individuals who sponsor and recommend students to BBC. Special thanks to Indian Missionary Society (IMS) for continuously sponsoring students from Odisha. We thank all those who in one or another way contributed to the ministry of BBC. Hearty thanks to all the other dignitaries, graduating students, guests, parents, friends, professors and BBC family.
Congratulations to all graduating students who have successfully completed all the requirements pertaining to BD degree studies and are eligible to the award of Bethel Bible College Diploma, this day. I also congratulate the recipients of special awards.
Students, Faculty and Staff
54 new students, including five women were given admission for BD studies during the academic year 2017-18. The session started with an opening service on the 11th June 2017. The total number of students in the BD degree studies during the academic year is one hundred thirty one.
The dedicated service, endurance, unconditional cooperation and exemplary life of the faculty members of BBC are behind today’s celebration. They held different responsibilities in addition to their regular teaching schedule to ensure the smooth functioning of the college. Dr. Viju Wilson (Theology) received his D.Th. degree from the Serampore College in December 2017. He is the Director of BBC’s extension program. We praise God for the life and witness of all the faculty Members.
We sincerely acknowledge the dedicated services of all the non-teaching staff of BBC and the student leaders who together made our life refreshing.
Activities and Events
BBC organized a welcome program to the new students on the 1st July 2017. The students felicitated the faculty members on the teachers’ day.
Two BD students attended a program “Child Rights in India” held between 17th and 19th August 2017 at Ecumenical Christian Centre in Bangaluru. Dr. M.T Cherian and Dr. Aby Alexander from Christian Institute of Management Studies organized a one day seminar for the final year BD students on 22nd August 2017.
We celebrated college foundation day cum sports day on the 10th November 2017 and Christmas on 9th December 2017 before the students left for practical work. Three students attended a seminar on Marriage: Traditions, Changes and Challenges ahead, at Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur from 25th to 27th January 2018.
Rev. Dr. Thathapudi Matthews Emmanuel, Secretary, BTESSC visited BBC on the 31st January 2018.
The continuing students of BBC organized a farewell program to the graduating students on the 13th March 2018. The graduating students held their thanks giving service on the 18th March 2018.
Six of our students will attend a summer course On Islam between 7th and 12th May 2018, at HMI.
New Venture (External Programs of the Senate)
BBC has started to facilitate external theological education of the Senate of Serampore College to the members of all the churches. As a result, BBC has enrolled 142 students for Bachelor of Christian Studies and 141 students for Diploma in Christian studies during the current academic year. As on today we have 163 BCS and 152 DCS students. This became possible only with the sincere help and hard work of our dedicated external study coordinators and their study centers at nine different places in Andhra Pradesh.
We are grateful to all the coordinators for accepting our invitation and making it possible to be with us today to bless the occasion. We look forward to their continuous partnership in theological education so that these programs can be extended to all parts of Andhra Pradesh.
This is our thirteenth year with the BD degree program and the eighth BD graduation. BBC, has till date prepared 296 dedicated BD graduates to serve the society and church. These graduates represent 16 different states, 20 different churches/denominations and different language groups. 66% of BBC graduates are doing pastoral ministry, 13% of them are in teaching/ higher studies (M.Th. and D.Th) and 8% serve as missionaries. Others are engaged in different forms of ministry including pioneering works.
We thank God for the life and commitment of the 22 graduating students (details in the order of service booklet). They are fully equipped to serve God in all situations. It is true that we shall miss their fellowship but it is our joy that they are molded to create larger fellowship for the glory of God. We wish them God’s blessing as they step out into the wider arena of ministry with multiple challenges and possibilities.
A Unique Opportunity
Today’s gathering is a powerful fusion of representative/s from the government, churches and organizations in Andhra Pradesh. BBC has been offering BD degree program from the year 2005. We should have moved forward to Master and Research programs long back. If all the representatives here extend your kind cooperation and share your resources towards this end BBC will soon become a Theological Research Institute in Andhra Pradesh. I am sure you will not allow this opportunity to slip away. The ways in which you can partner with us is placed in our college website bethelbiblecollege.edu.in
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