Taytay Rizal, Philippines: Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary celebrated its 38th Commencement Exercises in May 2023 with over 41 graduates from different programs. 

Prior to the celebration, the school hosted a banquet to honor the graduates. Raquel Valeza-Vargas, an APNTS alumna and Senior Pastor of Harvest Church of the Nazarene, was the banquet speaker. The faculty was also given an opportunity to pray for the graduates, invoking blessings for their future endeavors and ministries. The graduates, in turn, presented a class gift to APNTS, a framed excerpt from the 91st chapter of Psalm.

Among the 41 graduates:

  • 17 received an undergraduate certificate
  • 1 received an undergraduate diploma
  • 1 received a bachelor’s degree
  • 3 received Graduate certificate
  • 1 received Graduate Diploma
  • 12 received Master’s Degree
  • 1 received Post-graduate Certificate
  • 1 received a Doctor of Ministry
  • 5 received a Doctor of Philosophy

Dr. LeBron Fairbanks, former president of APNTS year 1984 to 1989, was the graduation speaker. He shared about “Theological Vision Shapes Organization Vision.” He highlighted the significance of capturing vision not only “to” or “for” the people but “with” and “by” the people. This entails placing Christ at the center of our envisioned goals. It also involves acknowledging and utilizing the gifts of those around us for the progress of God’s Kingdom. As a result, our visions are transformed into those of servant leaders. In the context of servant leadership, nurturing relationships hold paramount importance. Just as God desires relationships with His people, leaders value and establish meaningful connections with others.

Moreover, the ceremony also served as a tribute to two individuals connected to APNTS who passed away. Dr. John Neilson, former school president, was remembered for his contributions, including establishing “The Mediator” publication and initiating cultural days and covenant groups. Mrs. Neilson’s “Kid Klub,” now “Awesome Children’s Center,” was also recognized. Dr. Floyd Cunningham delivered a heartfelt speech praising Dr. Neilson’s leadership and Christ-like character.

The second person honored was Christina Berita, a posthumous recipient of a Master of Arts degree. She was remembered as a virtuous and talented individual in the APNTS community. Her untimely passing occurred while she was near completion of her thesis and during the final stage of pregnancy in August 2022.