Pastors mull establishment of training institution in Guyana By Esther Elijah
Guyana Chronicle
February 8, 2004

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PASTORS affiliated to the New Covenant Church of Philadelphia in the United States departed Guyana earlier this week after wrapping up an initial feasibility study to determine the scope for the opening here of a Christian Training Institution.

Several leaders from local churches were in discussion last week with Bishop C. Milton Grannum and his wife, Pastor Hyacinth Bobb-Grannum, both of whom are Guyanese who migrated to the USA and in 1982 founded the now flourishing New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, which numbers at least 2,500 in membership.

The institution is likely to be located in Georgetown and will be open to the general Christian populace, according to Gillian Grannum, a Christian Minister attached to the church in the USA.

Gillian, who accompanied her parents on the mission, said they have for the past seven years been supporting the work of several Church of God fellowships in Guyana.

In an interview with the Sunday Chronicle, she said the visit was also intended to establish the specific areas in which training can be developed for Christians.

Gillian said the Church of God in Guyana would likely sponsor the proposed Christian Training Institution, in addition to other denominations.

She said the institution could offer courses such as biblical studies and leadership development.

A graduate of Harvard University (Bsc. Psychology) and (Masters in Urban Education) from a Philadelphia University, Gillian has done social service work helping women achieve requisite training while they were in transition after living on welfare in the USA.

She now serves fulltime as Projects Coordinator at the church in Philadelphia.

For the impending venture, the Grannums also had discourse with members of the Wesleyan Bible College, Jesus Deliverance Mission, New Life Ministries, The International University-Guyana and the Minister of Education, Dr, Henry Geoffrey.

"The Minister of Education highlighted the need in general for adult training in trade, and functional (literacy), even outside the Christian community," Gillian said.

The institution could possibly commence later this year once everything has been agreed upon and set in place. Funding for this venture will be a partnership between the New Covenant Church in Philadelphia and local churches.

American-born Gillian said her father had the vision two decades ago to create a Christian Learning Institution here.

"He had the idea for some kind of training and school in Guyana," she added, explaining that the vision has become more definite now that her parents regularly visit Guyana and have built relationships with local churches.

"One of the things that could make a difference (in the proposed Learning Institution) is the partnership, the alliance between churches that can come together and build on each other's strength. I am hoping there will be a larger marker for the (institution) because of that," Gillian said.

"One thing I have noticed (in Guyana) is that people are very interested in growing in a way that has really impressed me...The good news is that Guyana is a relatively small country, so a few people doing something in a big way can really affect a lot of people.

"I am also impressed by the focus on the nation by the Guyanese I've met. People seem to be concerned for the country. When people are speaking on television or at events (you hear) `we're Guyanese, this is our nation, our country. We're connected because we're all one people.' That is something you don't see all the time. Even as an American I don't get that sense about my fellow countrymen. We (Americans) are not focused on ourselves as a nation that way. We're more focused on the individual and that's part of our heritage and our history. I think the focus on community and nation-building in Guyana is a good thing," Gillian said.

Churches interested in joining forces to create the Christian Learning Institution in Guyana may contact the Grannums at:

New Covenant Church of Philadelphia
7500 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19119
Tel: 215/247-7500 ext 105
Fax: 215/248-7908