First Class of Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership Students Graduate

May 31, 2013

On Sunday, May 26th, six students walked across the stage at First Congregational Church Berkeley and received their Certificate of Theological Education for Leadership (CTEL).  This total class of ten - the first cohort to complete the year-long, core TEL curriculum – was comprised of participants from Uganda to New York to Texas, California, and Hawaii.  For two of the graduates, Cynthia Lawler and Mike Hughes, completing the CTEL also represented completing their study to become a Certified Lay Minister (CLayM) in the California Nevada Conference of the United Methodist ChWinston Mukasaurch.  We offer our heartiest congratulations to our first

CTEL graduates!

Winston Mukasa, watched the celebration via the live stream technology from Kampala, Uganda.  He shared these thoughts: “I know I have been one of the most distant students TEL has had. I want to thank God for the opportunity I have had to be a part of this great adventure. To all my fellow class mates graduating, “Congratulations!” You are all wired for greatness. I know we will meet soon. Your affectionate friend and brother Winston Mukasa from Uganda, East Africa.” 

Cindy Lawler

CTEL- CLayM Graduate, Cynthia Lawler, recounts this of her time in the program: “About my journey, Living Water - I started out my journey very happy in my faith but wanting something more.  I was like a bit of snow up here on my mountain top. I could see the valley I wanted to enrich but did not know how to get there. I was just one person and pretty isolated up here.  Along came Rev. Ann at our annual conference and she said she said let’s go! So with her help  I started down the mountain. First as a trickle of water, then other trickles joined from their mountains and we became a stream. Our teachers guided us and enriched us beyond our dreams. Occasionally we hit some rough spots, had to shoot the rapids as it were, but what a ride, and what a great feeling when we conquered the subject together. Who knew group projects could be done face to face when your group was in three different time zones! Now we have truly become living water, and  I feel  ready to enrich the valley, or the desert, or even my mountain.  In gratitude for it all, Cindy

Vickey GibbsCTEL graduate, Vickey Gibbs, Curriculum Specialist in the UFMCC Office of Emerging Ministries, has this to say about the program, "TEL offers the best of PSR's  professors, consultants, alumni and community partners in providing a world class learning experience as well as creating a community in which we pray, cry, worship, share, preach, rejoice, sing, dance, grieve and uplift with those who journey with us. From Uganda to the US, we know that we will never journey alone again, in life or in learning."

OUR NEW CYCLE OF CLASSES FOR 2013-14 has begun with “Text and Culture: An Survey of the Old Testament” taught by Dr. Steed Davidson, faculty member of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.  “Text and Culture II: Survey of the New Testament” will begin on June 25th and will be taught by Dr. Benny Liew.  Dr. Jim Lawrence will lead TEL students once again through “The Great Story of Your Faith: Defining Moments in Christian History” beginning on August 6th.  For more information about the program and to register for upcoming classes, go to or contact Rev. Ann Jefferson at (510) 849-8284 or