By EHEYUC SESERU
THE first Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) woman pastor in PNG was certified as a marriage celebrant to do pre-marriage counselling and conduct weddings last Thursday in Lae, Morobe.
Dr Agnes Kola, the SDA PNG Union Mission’s Family, women and partners in Ministries director was the first female SDA pastor to be certified along with 11 other male pastors in Morobe to conduct pre-marriage counselling and officiate at marriage ceremonies.
Dr Kola was commissioned as a SDA pastor last November.
She holds a doctorate in ministry from the Adventist University of Philippines.
Dr Kola will now perform all pastoral duties including weddings.
But according to church doctrine, she will not organise churches, dedicate churches or ordain other pastors and elders.
Before becoming the first female SDA pastor in PNG, she held many positions within the church and made her way up, both in the church hierarchy and attained the highest academic qualification.
She set a benchmark and a challenge to women who are involved in church and ministry work.
“We enjoy ministry. One of the things I’m passionate about is helping family, particularly woman and children who are always disadvantaged because of issues that are affecting families.” She said incest, and in particular, child molestation, with all kinds of abuses, domestic violence, sexual violence, rape, divorces in communities and within churches, added more pressure on her role. “I am given a task where I travel around the country, with 30 different people who are working under me – 10 each for family, women and partners in ministries, that report directly to me.”
Partners in ministry caters for women spouses of pastors.
Dr Kola has a masters degree in ministry, majoring in family ministry from Avondale SDA College in Australia.
“I’m looking forward to working with women who have become victims of family issues like divorce, and who would like to remarry if they have legal documents in place.”
Dr Kola is from a mixed parentage of Morobe, Madang and East Sepik, and has seven siblings.
“My dad is from Murik Lake in East Sepik and my mum is part Salamaua (Morobe) and Bogia (Madang),” said Dr Kola.
She has a twin sister, a small sister and five brothers.
Her parents were police officers and had travelled all around Papua New Guinea.
She had her primary education in Eastern Highlands, East New Britain and New Ireland.
She met her husband Pr Benjamin Kola who is from Chimbu, while undertaking her bachelor in theology course at the Pacific Adventist University from 1996 to 1999 and they got married in 2000.
Pr Benjamin is a doctor in ministry candidate, majoring in leadership.
They now have a two and half-year-old son.
Dr Kola said many people thought getting a doctorate in ministry was something only a man can do.
“I was impressed that it was God’s calling me and I am willing to do whatever God planned for my life.”
By EHEYUC SESERU