Twenty-three graduates from the Class of 2022 celebrated an amazing milestone at the LBC | Capital – Uganda Commencement ceremony on May 28 in Kampala, Uganda, through LBC | Capital’s partnership with the Pastors Discipleship Network (PDN), which aims to equip ministry leaders across Africa to proclaim the gospel and to better serve their churches and communities.
Rt. Rev. Joel Obetia, PhD, of Uganda Christian University and a PDN Board Member, provided the invocation, followed by welcoming remarks from Joseph Musaalo, MA, Chairman of the Uganda PDN Board of Directors, and Robert Blanks, MDiv, Director of the Master of Arts Contextualized Pastoral Ministry Program at LBC | Capital.
Nicholas Kalyebara (’21), PhD, Manager of Program Support for Compassion International Uganda, provided a scripture reading from 2 Timothy 2:1-15. Dr. Kalyebara completed his degree in December 2021 and was able to celebrate at both the Lancaster and Uganda graduation ceremonies in 2022.
Ben Mutegeki, MA, PDN Managing Director, introduced the first of two Commencement speakers for the day. Ezra Suruma, PhD, serves as the Chancellor of Makerere University and is a Ugandan economist, banker and academician. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Fordham University in New York City, as well as a Master of Arts in Economics and a master’s degree in Computer Science and International Banking. In 1976, he obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Connecticut and was appointed as Makerere University Chancellor in January 2016. Since 1986, Professor Suruma has played a significant role in the stabilization, reconstruction, restructuring and management of Uganda’s economy. He has a passion for economic emancipation and economic justice for the people of Uganda and has held key leadership positions with a track record of hard work, integrity and dignity. He is a distinguished fellow of the Centre of International Governance Innovation based in Canada. In 2014, his book, “Advancing the Ugandan Economy,” was published by the Brookings Institution Press. Professor Suruma is married to Specioza Suruma, and they are the parents of four biological children and the six orphaned children of his two late brothers.
Following Professor Suruma’s address, LBC | President Thomas L. Kiedis, PhD, DMin, provided the Charge to the Graduates, after which Esther Zimmerman, PhD, Chair of the Church & Ministry Leadership Department, presented the academic awards. Judge of the High Court, Minister of Justice and PDN Board Member, Hon. Lady Justice Margaret Mutonyi, presented the Servant’s Towels to the graduates.
The presentation of the Servant’s Towel has been a longstanding tradition at Lancaster Bible College. Since 1933, servant leadership has been the culture of LBC, reminding all that on the night He was betrayed, Jesus put a towel around His waist and washed His disciples’ feet. In so doing, He offered them a profound and radically counter-culture demonstration of the very heart of God. The joy-filled life in which He invites His followers to participate involves taking up the towel with Him. The servant’s towel is more than a symbol at LBC | Capital. It is a tangible expression of our mission, reminding each graduate that everything they have accomplished and will accomplish comes by participating in the servant ministry of Jesus Christ.
Providing PDN Presidential Remarks and the benediction was Pastor Richmond Wandera, PhD, Founder and President of PDN, who also provided a welcome to graduates and guests in the LBC | Capital – Uganda program, stating:
“I would like to congratulate all of the graduating students for their hard work and proven academic rigor during their time at LBC | Capital. All of you can be very proud of your wonderful achievement.
“Our special graduates, during your time at LBC | Capital, our faculty and staff dedicated themselves to nurturing that potential in each of you. I want to take this moment to thank them for their ongoing support and encouragement to you. Your accomplishments are also due, in part, to the dedication, loving encouragement and to the extraordinary support of the family members and friends who have championed each one of you in the two years you have worked toward your LBC | Capital degree. Many of those family members and friends are here today. Please join me in saying ‘thank you!’ to them.
“Class of 2022, your years at LBC | Capital have been a time of intellectual exploration, remarkable accomplishment, and extraordinary hard work and dedication. Today, we honor your achievement, and we celebrate as you embark on the next stage of your journey.
“Today’s ceremony marks the conclusion of your time as LBC | Capital students. But I have great hope that here at PDN, you will continue to pour into the thousands of pastors who come to PDN to find help for their ministries and personal lives. I also hope that you will remain learners for life.
“You have a world of opportunity in front of you, and it is for you to decide what to do with this platform that you worked so hard to earn. No matter where you go after graduation, you have the opportunity to use your gifts to make a difference in the world.
“We are pressing on towards the goal of stronger and healthier churches in Africa. We ask that you join our effort. Together we can make a big difference in our world for Christ. Once again, congratulations, Class of 2022!”
“Band Escence” provided musical selections throughout the ceremony, which took place on the Pastors Discipleship Network campus. Congratulations, graduates!
View the Uganda Commencement Program Here…
Watch the Graduation Highlight Video Here…
(Video produced by Consodyne Buzabo, PDN Communications Specialist)
See the Photo Gallery from LBC’s Time in Uganda Below…
Background on the Pastors Discipleship Network
The Pastors Discipleship Network (PDN) is a ministry that equips pastors and strengthens the African church. PDN was established in 2008 to train and equip pastors and their wives with critical ministry and life skills to help them lead and teach their congregations while fostering personal development.
PDN’s vision is “The Church in Africa ROOTED, READY and ABLE to bring the TRUE Gospel to its nations and the world.” Its mission is “to bring training to untrained church leaders in Africa in order to deepen the church and to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ through healthy churches.”
PDN was founded and is led by Dr. Richmond Wandera. Richmond grew up in extreme poverty in the Naguru slum near Kampala, Uganda, and has battled malaria more than 10 times. When Richmond’s father was murdered, he was left to help care for his six siblings. He entered the Compassion-assisted child development center at his local church when he was eight; then his life and his family changed dramatically.
On completing his early education, he was accepted into Compassion’s Leadership Development Program and was able to attend college. Upon graduation with a CPA and Accountant’s degree, he was invited to join the accounting faculty at Uganda Christian University. Richmond also served as pastor at Nakawa Baptist Church, the very church he joined as a Compassion child. He has been involved with two church plants and community leadership.
As Richmond continued to serve the local church, he realized that his fellow pastors were equally struggling in ministry due to lack of theological training. Determined to receive Bible training, Richmond pursued a very select opportunity and received a Compassion Wess Stafford Scholarship to attend Moody Graduate School in Chicago (USA). During his time at seminary, Richmond often summarized his education for pastors. After his graduate studies, he returned to his country Uganda to begin training pastors in Africa as well as participate in reaching professional accountants for the Lord. He has since been leading the ministry of the Pastors Discipleship Network, which is now training over 4,000 pastors across five countries in East Africa.
In March of 2015, Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary and Graduate School then-President Dr. Peter Teague and Richmond Wandera joined together in an initiative that resulted in an LBC | Capital partnership with PDN to offer an online Master of Arts degree for African pastors and church leaders. That first group of students, Cohort 1, who started on March 30, 2015, graduated on May 27, 2017. Consisting of 14 ministry classes, this degree is an accredited LBC | Capital degree.
These LBC | Capital graduates then in turn pass on what they have learned in the Master of Arts program to other African pastors and church leaders, helping them minister to those in their sphere of influence. This training-the-trainer model helps fulfill PDN’s mission in equipping and training untrained church leaders.