Westminster Theological College began in the fall of 1996. Pastor Emma Kiwanuka had just returned from two years of study for a master degree at Westminster Seminary in California. Emma’s heart was to begin a pastors training college to train men for ministry and leadership in the Presbyterian Church in Uganda and other churches. Emma knew that effective training had to be strong in historic Reformed and evangelical theology, adapted well to the African cultural context, church-connected, open to students from various denominations and nations, led by African teachers and partnering wisely and creatively with western teachers and resources.
Things began small. First classes were held in the Worship Center of First Presbyterian Church in Kampala where Emma was Associate Pastor. The first students were all Ugandans and part-time. Emma taught all the classes.
In June of 1997 a team of eleven Americans came from North City Presbyterian Church in San Diego, California, at the invitation of First Presbyterian Church, to help plant a daughter church in the Kampala suburb of Zana. Emma and his family had been living in the Zana area for eight years and had been praying for a Presbyterian church to be planted to minister to his community. He and about 15 other First Presbyterian members, along with the Americans, conducted door-to-door evangelism and evening evangelistic services right next to Entebbe Road in Zana. Nightly crowds of 100-300 came to hear the gospel. The first two worship services for Zana Community Presbyterian Church were held before the American team departed. The Americans gave money to purchase land for a church site.
Within a year, the land was cleared and the church roof erected. Then Pastor Bob Borger, who had known Emma while he was a student at Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (from 1982 to 1986), sent funds from First Presbyterian Church in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, to begin to build Westminster Theological College at the church site.
New College Aerial
Classes began in Zana in September 1998. Student fees for room and food were covered by American sponsors. Emma was Dean and primary professor, although joined by PCU teaching elders David Baguma and Gerald Sseruwagi. Students from Sudan began to come in 1999. Additional property next to the church and college was purchased for dormitory, dining hall and kitchen space. The student body began to grow. Students studied at WTC and interned at Zana Community Presbyterian Church and other churches in the Kampala area. The wedding of strong theological education and vibrant church life has been part of WTC from its inception. Students learn to be pastors in the life context of the local, regional and national church.
Mission to the World (of the Presbyterian Church in America) missionary couple Curtis and Chris Dubose joined the faculty in 2002. WTC graduate, Pastor Fred Kabenge, became part of the faculty in January 2005 after completing his masters degree at Westminster Seminary in California. Other MTW missionaries were added: Bruce and Pam Sinclair, September 2005; Dave and Darlene Eby, August 2006; Don and Fran McNeill, February, 2008.
The Seminary started in January, 2007. The goal has been to offer graduate level theological training that is very affordable in Africa. The Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Thelogical Studies are offered. Some 45 students enrolled for the first course taught by Dr. Howard Eyrich of Birmingham theological seminary in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, our partner institution.