Blog Interview–Peter Cavanna–Mattersey Hall Bible College

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Mattersey Hall Christian College.

My name is Peter Cavanna and I am a full-time lecturer at Mattersey Hall. I teach a number of first year subjects, such as Christian Doctrine and Understanding the Bible, plus preparing second year students for public preaching and Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies on the Christian Leadership track. I spent twenty years in pastoral church leadership prior to taking up this post, as well as being involved in international mission, and seek to combine both theological knowledge and practical coaching in the lecture room. The students alone can judge if I succeed!

2) Tell us a little about Mattersey Hall.

The work of Mattersey Hall was founded, originally in London, in 1909, for the purpose of preparing men and women for Christian ministry. Today, the College offers both Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses, validated by the University of Chester, in Biblical Studies, Christian Leadership and Missional Leadership. There are around one hundred and twenty students attending the College at any one time.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Ideally, students will attend the College for three years, full time. This allows them to get the greatest benefit from the theological training, mentoring, spiritual and devotional life on campus, and the various ministry opportunities afforded by the College – both in the local church and on international/cross-cultural mission. However, the courses are flexible enough to allow some students to study part-time (approximately half the week at the campus) or by Distance Learning where these are deemed the best option for the individual. New for 2014 and beyond is the introduction of Short Courses – two to four weeks of intensive training in a particular topic, Monday to Thursday. This allows busy church leaders and workers, for example, the ability to get excellent training without leaving behind their church or family responsibilities for long periods. We’re very excited about this new initiative.

4) How do Mattersey Hall students fund their studies?

Students are funded in a variety of ways. Many obtain student loans for the Undergraduate courses available, while those who have been especially sent to the College to acquire qualifications on behalf of their local church may occasionally find themselves being funded by their leadership or churches.

5) Does Mattersey Hall take students from overseas?

Unfortunately, at this time, it is not possible to attend Mattersey Hall from overseas but the College hopes to be able to offer this again shortly.

6) What type of ministry is Mattersey Hall intended to prepare students for?


The vision of Mattersey Hall is ‘preparing the next generation of Christian leaders.’ As a result of this, the College has a very strong emphasis on leadership and character development, preparing students not just for theological excellence but also for leadership and influence in both the local church and in the modern world. It is still possible to attend Mattersey Hall in order to enrich one’s Bible knowledge and spiritual life, but it is best suited for those who feel a call to serve God in some way, although not necessarily as a pastor or church leader. Our desire for our graduates is that they make a Christ centred contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

7) When students leave Mattersey Hall what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Many Mattersey students go into direct Christian leadership in local churches, but others serve God in missionary service, youth work and through exerting Christian influence through a variety of secular employment opportunities. Students are encouraged to find their place in God’s will for them.

8) What is distinctive about what Mattersey Hall offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

Mattersey Hall has long emphasised its Pentecostal heritage and distinction. Students are encouraged to serve God in the miraculous power of the Spirit in the modern world, and campus life especially reflects charismatic devotion and theology. The issues of handling Pentecostalism within a postmodern society are faced and discussed.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

The College is currently constructing a brand new Research Centre, housing over fifteen thousand, five hundred books and journals for student use. This will be opened in the summer of 2014. In addition to this, Mattersey Hall is pleased to continue to accommodate the British Pentecostal Archive on campus (accessed by appointment for postgraduates): the Donald Gee Centre.

10) Does Mattersey Hall offer a distance or on-line learning option.

Many of Mattersey Hall’s students are distance learners! This is not the same as a correspondence course as the assignment deadlines are similar to those on campus and the degree bestowed is the same. More details at the website!

Many thanks Peter for taking part in this series.

Blog Interview–Dr Delano Palmer–Jamaica Theological Seminary

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at the Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS).

My name is Delano Vincent Palmer and I serve as lecturer in biblical studies and theology, as well as deputy president; I also held the post of academic dean (2009-2012).

2)    Tell us a little about the Jamaica Theological Seminary.

The JTS was founded in 1960, two years before Jamaica’s independence, by the late Dr Zenas Gerig [read more on-line here and here].  The college is accredited locally by the University Council of Jamaica, and the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association. At present we have little over five hundred students on three campuses (Kingston, Mandeville, JA; St Vincent; and St Lucia) pursuing the BA in Theology, Biblical Studies, General Studies, Guidance & Counselling, Social Work, Music & Media, and Social and Professional Transformation degrees; in addition, we also offer a Certificate in Leadership and Ministry as well as a Masters in Public Theology.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

JTS Board Members Ground Breaking

We offer both part-time and full-time programmes; in a word, all the above.

4)    How do JTS students fund their studies?

We encourage the majority of our local students to sign up with the SBL (Students’ Loan Bureau); a few scholarships are offered and quite a number of students pay their way.

5) Does JTS take students from overseas?

JTS has had an exchange programme with colleges in the USA since the mid-70s. To date we have had students from all over the Caribbean, including Haiti and Cuba, a few from Africa (Ghana, Nigeria), and one from Canada.

5) What type of ministry is JTS intended to prepare students for?

Originally, the college sought to train pastors primarily in keeping with the school’s Motta at the time: That I Might Know Him . . . That I Might Preach Him. The new Motta (That I Might Know Him . . . That I Might Make Him Known), reflects the present vision of the board to include more lay people in an understanding of ministry that envisages the Christian life as a sojourn that may likened to three New Testament roads: 1) the Damascus Road (salvation); 2) the Emmaus Road (sanctification); and 3) the Jericho Road (service).

7) When students leave JTS what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

JTS alumna serving in
Nassau as a teacher

Although the majority of our graduates are engaged in the pastorate (and cross-cultural  ministries), in recent times many serve as guidance counsellors, social workers, teachers, et cetera.

8) What is distinctive about what JTS offers compared with other colleges in and overseas?

JTS stands squarely in the evangelical tradition and strongly believes that the gospel must be placed at the cross-roads of every stratum of the human condition—especially as it is mirrored in the Caribbean reality. This concern is reflected  in all our programmes and expressed in  recent symposia, namely, the publication of A Kairos Moment for Caribbean Theology and our involvement in the translation of  the New Testament in the Jamaican language [see video here].

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

Zenas Gerig library

Our Zenas Gerig library holds over  forty-five thousand volumes, inclusive of a special West Indian collection.  JTS, located in the capital, is not far from the libraries of the Universities of the West Indies (UWI) and Technology (U-Tech), as well as that of the United Theological College (UTC).

10) Does JTS offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

The college supports its satellite campuses (St Vincent; St Lucia) by organising summer-sessions in which  lecturers from the main campus (Kingston) travel to these sites. A limited number of courses is offered online.

My thanks to Dr Palmer for his contribution to this series. The journals Binah and the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology, published by JTS, can be read online here.