Gilead Missionary School—How Different?
THE Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, located in Brooklyn, New York, is neither a university nor a seminary. Yet it is an institution of higher learning, in fact of the highest learning. Why? Because its five-month study course is founded on the Bible, the inspired Word of God.
March 7, 1982, saw the graduation of its 72nd class of trained missionaries before a capacity audience of 2,044 at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in Queens, New York.
Interestingly 11 of the graduates had previous experience at American and Canadian universities and colleges before becoming Witnesses. How do they compare Gilead School to their experience at university?
Ken Merritt, who has an honors degree in economics, said: “At university, generally speaking, you are just a number, not a person. The main objective is to get a degree and then a good job. In contrast, this intensive Bible study course has involved us as persons and affected our personality. The instructors and lecturers, although insisting on quality of work, have taught us with a spirit of Christian love.”
Gary Gontero, who studied at Kent State University, confirmed this opinion, adding: “The curriculum was excellent. It gave us a deep overall view of the Bible. It was a complete course of missionary preparation by reviewing the outstanding characters throughout the Bible. We had to measure ourselves against them and that helped us to see where to improve in facets of our Christian personality.”
Robert Landis, for ten years a full-time pioneer minister in Northern Ireland, had previously attended four different U.S. universities as a student of psychology. He comments: “Each university followed a different school of thought in psychology so that it was difficult to arrive at definite conclusions on human motivation and behavior. Our study of the Bible at Gilead School has given us a much clearer insight even in those fields. The application of Christian principles is also positive psychology. We have been equipped and trained to educate others in the way of life that the Bible offers.”
The 42 graduates, who were mainly from the United States, with a few from Canada, Cyprus, Austria and Ireland, have been assigned to missionary work in 18 different countries. Half the class are going to eight Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America where there is a great response to the message of Jehovah’s kingdom by Christ. Eight others are being sent to the African countries of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Zaire. The remainder are going to Europe, Asia and the islands of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Most will learn a new language when they arrive at their adopted homeland.
In his talk to the graduates 88-year-old F. W. Franz, president of the Watch Tower Society, urged them to “carry on as men,” regardless of their sex, by being courageous in their missionary field.—1 Corinthians 16:13; see also Revised Standard Version.
[Picture on page 27]
Watchtower Bible School of Gilead—72nd Class, March 1982
In the list below, rows are numbered from front to back and names are listed from left to right in each row.
(1) Gossland, P.; Weygand, D.; Gontero, G.; Lung, A.; Roman, E.; Cardamone, D.; Dobbins, P.; Emmanuel, O. (2) Arnold, C.; Roberds, A.; Morrisey, B.; Peterson, J.; Landis, P.; Sedlack, C.; Williams, J.; Powell, P. (3) Rittenbach, J.; Rittenbach, R.; Miller, D.; Pilon, D.; Tockner, R.; Emmanuel, D.; Smith, T.; Rittenbach, B. (4) Morrisey, F.; Lung, D.; Dobbins, D.; Gontero, G.; Roberds, T.; Cardamone, D.; Fry, D.; Weygand, G. (5) Miller, R.; Peterson, E.; Crysler, D.; Powell, J.; Merritt, K.; Sedlack, E.; Landis, R.; Gossland, J.; Arnold, G.