Testimonie by Gareth Stewart
Gareth Stewart, PhD Missiology, 2017
Matthias Inniger, PhD, 2016
Caroline Seed, PhD, 2016
GST gave me the flexibility I needed to undertake research from wherever my work took me in the UK and overseas. I appreciated the assistance given by the NWU library staff who responded quickly to requests for assistance in finding resources and made me feel that I was part of the university. The academic promoters stretched me to achieve the high standards required, for which I am grateful. In the UK and SA offices, the administrative staff encouraged and supported me throughout the academic process.
The highlight for me was attending the 2016 doctoral graduation at the Potchefstroom campus and meeting my co-promoter for the first time. I enjoyed visiting the historic university campus and taking part in the graduation ceremony. The atmosphere was friendly, celebratory and yet the tone was humble as we were reminded to give thanks to God for what he had enabled us to do. Afterwards, we had opportunity to meet the university administration in a celebratory meal and the next day, GST students were hosted by the Theology Department both on campus and off campus. The time was especially poignant for me as I had done my first degree in South Africa over 30 years ago and so it felt like a homecoming. I even discovered that I had not forgotten how to speak Afrikaans!
My first GST/NWU contacts were with Peg Evans of GST and Tienie Buys of NWU, who shared with me all necessary information about my PhD program in theology, and got me started with the formalities. Soon after, I was working with my promoters, who were first promoter, Professor Koos Vorster and Second promoter professor Riaan Rheeder. I had long wanted to work with my project, which pertained to investment ethics, as seen from a Christian-ethical perspective, using the existing investment guidelines of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund as basis for my research. From my research, my main findings was that investments always are value driven, and that investments may be performed within the traditional banking paradigm, but be guided by Christian-ethical principles and norms. From my research, I introduced a new investment methodology based on Christian ethics, which is termed as the Reoriented Investment Protocol, which will be foundational for his continued research here at NWU. No more than two and a half years after my starting the project, I was in Potchefstroom attending a fabulous graduation ceremony at NWU. I travelled there with my wife, and we were superbly taken care of by NWU/GST staff and faculty, for a full week! I will certainly look forward to my next visit, and in the meanwhile, I will strongly recommend the GST/NWU programmes to everyone that could find interest in attending. Thank you all at GST/NWU!
from left: Richard Seed, Caroline Seed, Dries du Plooy, Christin Bosterud and Morten Bosterud
My experience was highly positive first and foremost because of the support and infrastructure within GST & NWU. They were always sympathetic and available to encourage, direct and inspire. The feedbacks from my professors were always egging me to successfully complete what I had started. The administrative staff were quick and responsive to my needs and these made a huge difference. The PhD was distance learning. I never met my professors or the administrative staff until the graduation day. This goes to show how efficient the communication infrastructure was. We were in contact via emails and phone calls to administration. It took me nearly 5 years to complete. I am a Pastor, I work full time in education, married with children and have other commitments in my community. I could have finished in 3 years if I had all the time in the world. In essence, I am saying that it is doable. The reward and the feeling you get at completion are unexplainable.
Leonard Amechi, PhD 2014
I did my PhD through GST and it took me about four years, although I had been working on the research area for a few years before that. I did it on a quasi-full time basis. This means that although I was working, my work allowed me to do much study. What I found most helpful was the support that I received from GST and North West University. GST is excellent in that they reply to emails very quickly, they guide you through every step of the way and they are always ready and willing to step in when you are in difficulty. I also found the North West library staff very helpful in helping me to trace and obtain obscure material. They too were only too willing to offer their services whenever I needed it. My supervisors were excellent too – quick to reply to emails, thorough in making corrections and suggestions, always learned and up-to-date in their area of specialisation.
From my experience, I would heartily recommend GST. They are authorised, well-known and established and genuinely interested in helping their students to improve and flourish.
I am so grateful to God for my GST/NWU experience. Being able to attend the graduation in Potchefstroom was a particular blessing that my wife and I will cherish for the rest of our lives! It was a moving culmination of the years of research and writing. But, as was mentioned during the ceremony, I am reminded that receiving the PhD is not the end, but only the beginning of the journey. The graduates were charged with the responsibility to press the boundaries of knowledge through continuing research, writing, and teaching. May the Lord grant me wisdom, discipline, and strength to glorify him in new and better ways.
From a grateful graduate,
J. R. Norwood PhD (Missiology)
I want to express my deep appreciation to all of you at GST. My experience as a student was so very rewarding and I could not be more pleased with the PhD program and the level of instruction and support that I received. I am most happy to recommend GST to anyone interested, and if there is any way that I may serve you in this way I am most delighted do so.
Michael Calvert, PhD 2014
The road travelled for my doctoral program at NWU/GST has been arduous but never onerous. Like its subject, the sweet journey of research and composition has aided me in a measure of intimacy with God in relationship and beholding his glory. Of course, there are the many conversations, debates, and disputations with other seeking individuals and communities over time and present, in person, in books and other forms of media, which contributed to a rigorous process of the independent, dialectical, heuristic processes of learning. A special note of gratitude to those whom allowed me, at times, differing views from their own; although, often rigorously questioning my support for such conjectures and recommending helpful readings. Among them, thanks to Professor Dr. Lioy‘s for his rigor, reviews, related research, book recommendations, including his monographs, attention to detail, and especially alternative viewpoints on Lutheranism. Thanks to Professor Dr. Vorster for his extensive critiques, recommended research, and reading sources especially in the subject of imago Dei, his recommendations of Van Huyssteen Alone in the World? and Canlis‘s Calvin’s Ladder. Both promoters have been of great value to this doctoral work and to my personal growth and understanding especially in the areas of academic standards, dogmatics, and spiritual transformation. Although his involvement was brief, Professor Dr. Warner, too, has been of great value to this endeavour and me. His understanding heart provided comfort regarding critiques that can, at times, seem too punctilious and personal in nature.
Liaison Administrator, Dr. Peggy Evans‘ pleasant reception at GST, Central Office UK, has been a kind guide in the process of administrational necessities and standard UK English usage, thesis format, and expectations. I treasure her gentleness. Also thanks to Tienie Buys, a Liaison Administrator in the Faculty of Theology at North-West University, Potchefstroom, who joined the process a bit later, for her part in assuring an uninterrupted NWU connection. I extend my gratitude for the library services of the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. The access to extensive journal and academic resources was especially useful to my research, arguments, and composition. Such access, without the provisions of NWU, would have been prohibitively cumbersome and expensive. The incidents of my life, both trials and mercies, have taught me deeply and enriched me beyond measure. Whatever small light I may have been able to shine in this work is due to God‘s mercies, the people, and the incidents noted. Moreover, of exceeding note, it is God‘s mercy and grace that have nourished me, nurtured me, and made me capable for this task. Thank you North-West University, Potchefstroom and Greenwich School of Theology. I highly recommend your program to anyone seeking the highest education able to participate in the rigors of independent study in the spirit of a Cambridge approach.
The Rev. Darryl Wooldridge, Ph.D.
Throughout my Ph.D. research at GST, I received expert guidance, constructive criticism, and sincere encouragement from my advisors and the administration. The fruitful process not only resulted in a published book (Music in Biblical Life, McFarland & Co., 2013), but also opportunities for career advancement at the seminary where I teach and work as an administrator (Academy for Jewish Religion, California). I have eternal gratitude for the rigorous and inspiring instruction I experienced at GST.
Jonathan, PhD 2012
Take a visit to my Website and blog Thinking on Music
For several years I had been interested in doing a research doctorate in Theology through a South African university. The affiliation between NWU and GST made this practical and affordable. The experience turned out to be the best academic experience I have had. The GST staff and my promoters exceeded all my expectations, providing the timely guidance and thoughtful criticism that greatly improved the quality of my work. Upon completing the program, I was fully satisfied with the process and the many wonderful scholars who had invested their energies in my scholarship and the fulfillment of my goals. Best of all, I fulfilled the research agenda of my adult life through this program.
Upon completion of the degree, I submitted my doctoral credential to ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators), which is required by my university to verify non-US equivalency. As expected, ECE verified the equivalency, so the degree has improved my standing within my university community, which was one of my goals in seeking the degree. I have and will continue to recommend this excellent program to other colleagues in my field who are interested in a doctoral program.
Max H. Sotak, PhD (2012), DMin
Associate Dean, Operations / Professor
College for Professional Studies
Regis University, Denver CO
Patricia Jordan – Distance learning: Putting the practice back into theory
Further studies such as Masters and Doctorate degrees are often completed part-time in order to accommodate an already busy life and career. But distance learning can also allow students the opportunity to concurrently put the theory they are researching into practice. Franciscan Sister Minoress Patricia Jordan is a case in point. While completing her Doctoral research into Franciscan solitude at the Greenwich School of Theology, she chose to stay in full time ministry at the convent of St Clare in Derbyshire and oversee the building of a Portiuncula.
This Franciscan retreat, which was recently nominated for an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects, is based on the Portiuncula in Assisi where the Franciscan movement started and contains five hermitages that practically reflect its principles of simplicity and contemplative prayer.“I wanted sound and rigorous biblical and Franciscan research to find expression in a new building that would meet the spiritual needs of twenty-first century Christians,” explains Sr Patricia, Novice Mistress and Director of Formation at St Clare. “I had to find a way forward that would suit my present commitments and yet allow something new to emerge both theoretically and practically. Greenwich School of Theology gave me the support I needed to translate my dream into reality.
I remained in full time ministry and managed to study at a pace that suited my needs.” This Portiuncula with its eco-friendly features and beautiful views over the Derbyshire countryside was not the only result of Sr Patricia’s research – she has also written two books, recently published by Gracewing Publications: An Affair of the Heart and Come Apart and Rest a While.
“It would not have been possible for me to complete study at this depth if residential weeks or weekends were required,” notes Sr Patricia, who has now added the role of Director of the Portiuncula to her many achievements.
Throughout the three years of my full time research for my PhD I was faciliated in every way by both the Administrative Staff at GST(UK) and the North West University, South Africa. I received speedy and wise advice from my Promoters, Profs Rees and Du Plooy. Both men offered me scholarly guidance and patient help and nothing seemed to be a nuisance to them. They encouraged me and when my research was going off course they told me so! I came to respect and admire them, both as academics and Christian gentlemen.
The UK and South African Administrative Staff were excellent too. I never had to wait too long for advice. The whole experince of working with GST(UK) and the North West University proved to be enjoyable and profitable while, at the same time, very demanding. I can and will recommend the GST/NWU to anyone desirous of higher theological education.
Joseph Fell, PhD 2013
Timothy Lent, PhD
I just received official documentation from World Education Services (WES) that my PhD from North-West University, a nationally accredited degree, is equivalent to a regionally accredited degree from a higher educational institution in the United States. The news is really great not only for me but also for both Greenwich School of Theology and NWU.
I want to encourage GST and NWU to be listed on WES as a world-wide institution of higher education at http://www.wes.org/ In so doing, you may attract students not only from the USA but all around the world.
Please share the news with the faculty and staff at GST and my spiritual brothers and sisters in South Africa.
Timothy Lent, PhD (2010)
Rev Martin Davis, PhD
My experience with GST/NWU has been very gratifying and rewarding. While the work required was demanding, my supervisors guided me through the entire process, not only providing me excellent academic assistance but also meaningful personal support and encouragement. The British system of supervised research is tailor-made to the needs of self-motivated pastors and interested others who wish to pursue higher academic credentials granted by an accredited university. I highly recommend the GST/NWU program.
The degree is actually granted by North-West University (South Africa). This university has 60,000 students on three campuses. Also they have an excellent library and many journals (many digitalized) that students can access for their research. This is important.
The demands were quite high but not overly so in my opinion. I originally submitted my doctoral thesis over one year ago and I was sent back to the “drawing board” to do another year’s work. My thesis ended up at 160,000 words, which of course is much longer than required but I wanted to write more than is required.
The people I worked with, both in England and South Africa were friendly and helpful. I recommend the program.
Rev Martin M Davis
Rector, All Nations Anglican Church,
Jackson, MS (USA)
Paul McCuistion, PhD
I am currently in my 3rd year at Greenwich School of Theology and am more excited than ever. This is a great program!
Steve West, PhD
My dissertation has been accepted (revised for book style) for publication by McMaster Divinity College Press here in Canada. McMaster Divinity College is the theological school of a major Canadian university. The final contract has not yet been signed, but the document is being drawn up, and the book proposal has been accepted. You will, of course, be featured in the acknowledgements, since I couldn’t have completed this work without your help
Thanks again for all your help.
Steve West, PhD (2011)