What can I say Friends?
The year 2020 was a basket of sour, bitter, and sweet fruits. As I listened and watched the news media, there was little record of celebration to say goodbye to the old year 2020 and usher in the New Year, 2021. I vowed to myself not to mention the word, Covid-19 in the New Year, 2021. Amid all the negativities that happened in 2020, the Lord is gracious to make us celebrate some good moments I am going to share with you in this newsletter.
Saying goodbye and welcome
December 18, 2020 marked the end of great services of Perucy Ongalo who was so loved by the entire FTC community as the Registrar and Administrative Secretary. Perucy requested permission to resign from her position to join her husband who lives in Germany. A farewell celebration in her honor was held at the FTC Graduation Square on December 16. She gave her dedicated services to FTC since 2007. With tears in her eyes, Perucy said goodbye in her own words:
First and foremost, I want to thank the Almighty God for having enabled us to see this day. Secondly, I want to thank Principal Wafula for giving me the opportunity to work for FTC and entrusting me with his office. You have been more than a boss to me; you have been a dad to me. You understood me so much and I felt very comfortable working with you. I also want to thank my colleagues for the cooperation and teamwork we had.
I am leaving FTC with a wealth of knowledge I will always treasure. Working here has been a fantastic learning experience, and I am thankful for the skills I have acquired. I feel as if being with you all each day has made me a more complete and well-rounded person. I have learned how to take directions, criticism, and compliments… I have also learned to be open-minded, to value other people’s opinions and to consider other ideas along with mine, to end up with a great final result. Being part of the FTC team has taught me skills that I can use in more than just the professional area of my life.
I have come to realize that being a part of a community is more than just sharing. A team effort takes compromise. When you are on a team you have to at times lead, follow, and more often than not, meet in the middle. Realizing that, my marriage is also a team effort and that is what is prompting this bittersweet change for me today. When I received the opportunity to relocate, it was up to me to compromise and agree to move to another country to join my husband. If I could stay here forever I would, because FTC has been my second home. All four of my kids have known FTC as their home and I know they will miss it so much. My wish for everyone here is that you all continue to experience success, to feel fulfilled in all you do, and to have nothing but pleasant results! I take with me fond memories, valuable skills, and hope to one day leave an impression on others similar to the one you have left on me.
A month prior to Perucy’s departure from her office, the FTC administration advertised and interviewed five applicants who were interested in the position. Jacqueline Kufwafwa Mumia impressed the search committee with qualifications that met the requirement. She was trained by her predecessor for three weeks prior to officially occupying the office. Jacqueline brings five years of experience having worked as an administrative assistant at Nightingale Medical Centre, Kisumu. The FTC community welcomed and celebrated her acceptance to join the team as we left for Christmas holidays. Jacqueline is a holder of two diplomas (Associate degrees) in Customer Service and Secretarial Studies from Graffins College and Blanes Secretarial College respectively.
Celebrating Academic Achievement
The Kenyan government relaxed the Covid-19 restrictions and allowed schools and colleges to reopen doors for face-to-face learning while keeping the World Health Organization’s protocols in place. The FTC faculty and staff literally cheered the arrival of residential students on campus on January 4, 2021. Although the numbers are lower, so far we have realized a total of 36 residential students on the Kaimosi campus.
We ushered in the second week of the January semester by celebrating the academic achievement of two of our faculty leaders. In the academic world, degrees are important! I will share about the day by quoting some of Alfred Wasike’s (Bachelor of Theology student and General Secretary of the Friends Church of Uganda) Facebook post:
The Friends Theological College Kaimosi, Kenya has been boosted by two faculty members who have graduated with a Ph.D. The FTC Academic Dean, Dr. Rodgers Wekesi & the FTC Nairobi Campus Administrator, Dr. Simon Khaemba were today [January 8, 2021] feted by the FTC Community in the serene setting at the Graduation Square.
Officiating at the historic event, Dr. Robert J. Wafula, referred to a famous German philosopher, Emmanuel Kant who is best known for his critique of pure reason. Kant used the Latin phrase “Sapere Aude” “Dare to know,” also translated as “Dare to know things,” or “Dare to think for yourself.”
Speaking to the students & families of the Ph.D. graduands, Dr. Wafula pointed out that Kant encouraged people to have the courage to use their own understanding. Laziness and cowardice are the reason why such a large part of humanity remains minor & naïve in their lives, long after nature has freed them from external pressure. “Education,” he stressed, “makes you a lot more knowledgeable and a lot less gullible. To be gullible is to believe or accept anything. Education forces us to question every issue and not to accept anything on face value.”
Rodgers Wekesi enrolled for his Diploma in Theology at the FTC in 2000. “I never contemplated that this was the genesis of the long & great journey that has culminated into this event today…” he told the gathering. After his diploma in Theology, Rodgers continued on for the Bachelor of Theology degree in 2009 and attained First Class Honors with a 3.8 GPA. While serving on faculty at FTC, Rodgers enrolled for the Ph.D. program at Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology in 2015 after rigorous scrutiny of his academic background. “They sought to know where I studied my undergraduate degree. After a thorough analysis & documentary checks, they concluded that the FTC is a recognized theological institution of high repute in Africa,” Rodgers said.
Making reference to the FTC Mission & Vision, Dean Rodgers promised to lead the entire FTC faculty and staff to:
1. Strengthen FTC’s identity in the global Christian society.
2. Develop FTC as a centre of theological & professional learning excellence.
3. Continue to engage & connect all Bible colleges being managed by Yearly Meetings for harmonization into one curriculum.
4. Strengthen leadership capacity across all Yearly Meetings & other Christian Churches through the students we train & send out.
5. Improve communication structures & processes between FTC & Friends Churches in Africa & other non-Quaker Churches.
6. Improve the enrolment strategies, maintain retention of students, & enhance student learning outcomes.
7. Elevate the FTC reputation in the local communities & abroad.
8. Build & maintain sustainable facilities to comfortably accommodate the rising number of students.
Dr. Simon Khaemba recalled that he enrolled for his Ph.D. studies at the African International University, Nairobi in 2014. He said his journey had “the good side of the studies…but was also lonely and expensive.” While still serving as pastoral minister at Friends International Center, Nairobi Yearly Meeting, Simon says he would like to:
1. Make a contribution to knowledge in the body of Christ and bring onboard critical thinking & reflections that will assist in taking the church, starting with Friends, to a higher level.
2. Interact with many more religious organizations & Church-related movements.
3. Publish literature that will go a long way to shape the perception of people around the globe.
After all speeches were done, we joined a grand luncheon in the dining hall to continue with the celebration. We are proud of these faculty as their accomplishments also raise the quality and reputation of our institution and enable us to dream about new levels of education we may be able to offer someday in the future.
Praise and Prayer
- We thank God for the return of students into the residential program. Please pray that the Good Lord keeps us all safe.
- We thank God for the smooth transition of the new Administrative Secretary/Registrar. And praise be to God for the safe travel of Perucy Ongalo to join her husband in Germany.
- Please pray for me as I travel to attend the upcoming principals’ workshop at St. Paul’s University in the Nairobi area.