Cleveland, TN–Church of God educational leaders from across the globe gathered by Zoom earlier this week in a historic meeting to discuss their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Called and moderated by Dr. David Ramirez, Assistant General Overseer and liaison to the Division of Education, more than 35 college and seminary leaders joined together in an open discussion about how God has changed their focus during this crisis.
Dr. Tim Hill, General Overseer of the Church of God, opened the meeting by noting that “we are in the same storm, just different boats.”
Greetings were given from Dr. Michael Baker, Chancellor of Education for the Church of God and President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (PTS); Dr. Art Rhodes, President and CEO of the Church of God Benefits Board and Chair of the Church of God Global Board of Education, as well as other educational leaders within the denomination. Ramirez called on different leaders from Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean to brief the group on how they had responded to the pandemic after their on-campus activities were halted.
As with the Church of God’s North American institutions, Lee University and PTS, some colleges and seminaries were already providing online educational opportunities. Yet, many had to pivot quickly to continue to provide digital classrooms for their students. For the future, most leaders predict that their training will continue in a hybrid approach, maintaining an online presence even after on-campus learning is permitted again.
Ramirez, Baker, and Rhodes each commended the assembled educators on their resourcefulness and their willingness to adapt quickly to a changing environment. While there has been much said and written about “the church leaving the building” during this crisis, Church of God, Pentecostal-inspired education has also left the building.
The meeting of the educators was held in advance of the General Board of Education meeting, as well as the Global Board of Education meeting, which will be held in the coming days.