Nigerian seminary educates pastors’ wives

The Banyam Theological Seminary is now providing basic skills training for the wives of male students studying to become pastors.

Banyam is the only United Methodist seminary in Nigeria and is located at one of the early mission stations of the church. The seminary offers a three-year course that prepares students for ordination as pastors.

The school also has female students studying to be pastors, and their husbands also are encouraged to attend the school but there are no special classes for them. 

Be sure to add the alt. text

The Rev. Cecilia Paul, a graduating senior at Benyam Theological Seminary and a teacher at the Banyam Women’s School, poses with her son, Chan. About 50 women attend the school. Photo by Julu Swen, UMNS.

“We want the women to be prepared to help their husbands in their ministries in the various churches in Nigeria,” said the Rev. John Pena Auta, provost of the seminary.

He said women are important in the mission and ministries of the church and said if the women are prepared for the job market, they will bring in income for the family.

The wives learn skills such as tailoring, knitting and basic administrative skills that will help them run a church alongside their husband. He also indicated that the women become a source of inspiration or other women in their communities.

“In the United Methodist churches in Nigeria, pastors’ wives are very important when it comes to rallying other women for community actions,” Auta said.

Banyam Women’s School is also training women who lack basic education in English literacy, mathematics and other classes that will equip them to pursue formal education. Women from the surrounding communities are also attending the women school.

Most of the women in the Banyam Women’s School are using their knowledge from the school by teaching at the nursery school on campus, which is attended by the pastors' children. The Banyam Women’s School grants certificates to the women upon the completion of the three-year course of study in the various basic skills training, Auta said.

“The women leave with academic credentials just like their husbands,” he said.

“Banyam is not just a theological seminary. It is a community where the needs of our students, especially the pastors are looked after starting with their wives to their children,” Auta said.

About 50 women attend the school.

The Banyam Theological Seminary is part of the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership.

The Banyam faculty teach full time but also farm a small plot of ground to supplement their salary by providing food they can eat or sell.

The seminary also operates a collective farm where students and faculty work. One goal of the Iowa-Nigeria Partnership is to provide money to double the monthly $65 stipend now paid to faculty.

Swen is a communicator in Liberia. News media contact: Vicki Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.


Like what you're reading?  United Methodist Communications is celebrating 80 years of ministry! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community.  Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

umnews-subscriptions
Social Concerns
Protesters at the Ahmadu Bello Way in Jos, Nigeria, hold candles and chant liberation songs on Oct. 20. At least 56 people have died since the protests against police brutality began on Oct. 8, according to Amnesty International. Photo by the Rev. Christopher Thomas

Bishop calls for dialogue on police reform in Nigeria

As protests turn deadly, Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna urges the government to address demonstrations peacefully. Several United Methodist pastors say they witnessed the violence.
Social Concerns
Beneficiaries in Mutum-Daya in the Wurkun Central District in Nigeria receive rice, beans, Maggi seasoning and salt as part of The United Methodist Church’s COVID-19 outreach. The Nigeria Episcopal Area received a Sheltering in Love grant from the UMCOR COVID-19 Response Fund. Photo by Richard Fidelis, UM News.

Sheltering in Love grant alleviates hunger

More than 350 people in the four conferences of the Nigeria Episcopal Area benefitted from COVID-19 food assistance.
Mission and Ministry
Nigeria Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna (center front) addresses the press during the groundbreaking ceremony for a new United Methodist radio station in Jalingo, Nigeria. Grace Radio will be the first faith-based station in the Northeast region. Photo by the Rev. Ande I. Emmanuel, UM News.

Groundbreaking first step for Nigerian church radio

A groundbreaking ceremony is the first step in bringing Grace Radio to Taraba State. The project is an initiative of the church in Nigeria in partnership with United Methodist Communications.