STARTING with six people under a tarpaulin in Hannah Town, west Kingston, the now Portmore-based Freedom Evangelical Association (FEA) recently celebrated its 12th anniversary at the graduation of the FEA School of Glory, a ministry of the church, which began in 2017.
The graduation was followed by a week of evangelical meetings at the church located at Shop 43, Portmore Town Centre Plaza, St Catherine, and involved several speakers, including Chancellor of FEA School of Glory Dr CL Battieste and Academic Dean Bishop Dr Romeon Facey, senior pastor of FEA.
The FEA School of Glory’s courses are accredited by the Canadian-based Mount Olivet Bible Institute and Seminary, where Dr Battieste serves as chancellor.
The church, which now has approximately 300 members locally and overseas, has as its motto ‘Winning the lost at any cost’, and is actively seeking its own property to expand and better serve its members and the community through its various outreach projects.
Of the 22 graduates – five with the bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, four completing the associate degree, and 13 with the diploma – nine graduated online.Dr Battieste, who was guest speaker, commended Bishop Facey, his wife the Reverend Carolyn Facey, ministers, administrators, and members for the sacrifices that have led to the church’s growth, despite the many challenges faced over its 12 years.
He urged the graduates to be passionate as they walk in their calling to fulfil their true purpose in ministry. Dr Battieste also urged the graduates and members of the church to not only be spiritually strong, but also physically strong.
“Your health is important. Eat right, take proper rest, be happy. Laughter is a good thing.
“Don’t take up the burden of the church; come and worship, but don’t worry about those who are not coming. God requires holy living, so set yourself for God’s service and be emotionally strong,” said Dr Battieste.
He added: “At 12 years, this church is growing in strength. God has established you, and the foundation has been set to build on.”
Bishop Facey, in his charge to the graduates, said: “The journey with you this year has been phenomenal as we studied Christian discipline in our diploma, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree that will sharpen your pedigree for your Christian life.
“I must commend you for enduring such an arduous journey. This is the first step in the development of your character for greatness. The testament of true faith is its ability to endure while you are under trial and just as for some of you, this school year was a fiery trial, so too will life be in ministry. Similarly, in the same way that you implemented a never-give-up attitude in school, you should also develop this attitude when it comes to doing the work of God. You should never give up,” Bishop Facey said.
He noted that some of the students at times felt confused, lonely, disappointed, and even weary, but said the experience was only a dress rehearsal for ministry, for missionary life, and the Christian life in general.
“As your academic dean, I must inform you with a sigh and a great breath of expectation that your learning still continues. For some of you, your teachers will be experience that will give you the test first and the lesson after. It is through experiential knowledge that your maturity will be developed.
“It is through experiential knowledge that you will wear your next gown – the gown of compassion and humility. Since you rose to the next level, it is important that your mentality be shifted to the new level that you are on. On this level, do not pay attention to the naysayers, critics, and haters and those who will discredit you and make you feel unworthy because you have attained this stage of development. Change always comes with critics. Power always comes with pain. Purpose is always born out of brokenness. Do not let your Sambalat and Tobias pull you down, stay the course in Jesus’s name,” added Facey.
Rev Carolyn Facey underscored that the ministry of the gospel in today’s world can be very challenging if one does not have the correct tools.
“The cynicism that surrounds the message of the gospel and Christian work is at an all-time high,” said Rev Facey as she noted that it was against that background that the FEA School of Glory was born.
“The FEA School of Glory believes in Christ being preached, lived, and His power being demonstrated. This is one of the only schools in Jamaica that gives you a hands-on demonstration in Christian work,” she said.
FEA School of Glory officially began in 2017 with a certificate course in biblical studies, with 11 students enrolled. They were taught the various modules that the course entailed and at the end of the course and graduation those who started felt as if they had overcome obstacles and achieved a milestone. After the first graduation, more people caught the vision and began enrolling for classes.
“For some students it was their first time graduating from any institution, and it was a huge milestone for them. The school continued to expand with the associate degree programme introduced in 2018 and in 2022 the bachelor’s degree came on stream. To date, we have graduated 153 students – 103 diploma, 36 associate, and 14 bachelor’s,” Rev Facey said.
All students must start with the diploma course, move to the associate degree, and then the bachelor’s degree.
Nadine McLeod, who graduated from the diploma course, was named best speaker, and shared the Dean’s Award for Excellence with fellow diploma students Amoyia Francis and Samoya Smith-Sutherland, who was valedictorian for the diploma class.
The Dean’s Award for Excellence went to Taleta Richardson and Charlene Banks for the degree course.
Valedictorians for the associate and bachelor’s degree were Taleta Richardson and Sherona Noble, respectively.