First Adventist College in North Brazil Opens
Regional church membership boom makes local school imperative

BY ELIZABETH LECHLEITNER, Adventist News Network
 
ith the official launch of the first Seventh-day Adventist college in North Brazil, church leaders hope the region’s educational infrastructure will soon match explosive local membership growth in recent years.

Adventist Amazon College’s 300-acre campus in the northern coastal region of Brazil is still under construction, but school administrators on site for opening ceremonies August 16 said classes are slated to begin next semester.

COLLEGE OPENS: The Adventist Church's first college in northern Brazil will open its doors to theology students next semester, offering young people the option of local, church-run
education. Church officials and school administration met on campus August 16 to celebrate the school's launch.
[Photo: Volnei Porto/ANN]
Church officials said the college will offer students in northern Brazil the opportunity to study at a local Adventist school and hope graduates will stay in the region, where membership continues to outpace church resources and leadership. In some places pastors oversee dozens of churches.

The college will open its doors to an estimated 55 theology students in February 2010, later expanding to offer additional areas of study, including education and business administration, church leaders said.

“There’s a huge need for a college in North Brazil because of the growth of the church in that region,” says Luis A. Schulz, assistant director for Education at world church headquarters. “What this school can accomplish for the mission of the church--in training local young people in ministry and education--is incredible.”

The church region spanning northern Brazil accounts for nearly half of the country’s landmass and some 350,000 Adventists.
Currently, students seeking an Adventist higher education in North Brazil travel to São Paulo, more than 2,000 miles away. Church officials say many students instead enroll in local public schools, where training in theology isn’t an option.

“Young people in North Brazil will benefit from the opportunity of professional, local training in ministry that this new college will provide,” Marlinton Lopes, Adventist Church president for northern Brazil, told South American church communication officials after the ceremony.

Once the $16.5 million campus is completed, school administration anticipates an enrollment of more than 1,500 students. The main entrance, cafeteria, classroom building, chapel, and a residence hall are already built, Schulz says, but construction continues on a library, church, an additional dormitory, and houses for faculty and staff.







 
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