History of the Jamaica Theological Seminary
Jamaica Theological Seminary (JTS) is an institution grounded in the Christian community and primarily serving the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean, with a university-level programme of study. The institution was launched in January 1960 to respond to the need in Jamaica and the Caribbean for culturally and contextually sensitive leadership education for the church and the wider society. The need was for the development of evangelical church leaders to respond appropriately to the cultural, educational, economic, and social challenges of the Caribbean.
The Missionary Church Association in Jamaica launched JTS in Kingston. Five students were initially enrolled. From the outset the school was intentionally interdenominational and international in character.
Among the concerns that led to the founding of the institution were the following:
- that evangelicals be equipped to speak with authority on the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith given contending contemporary theological positions in the Caribbean;
- that the programmes of study maintain a strong spiritual and character formation emphasis along with the academic—thus the motto was chosen: “That I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10), and “That I might preach Him” (Gal.1:16); and
- that the curriculum be purposely designed to reflect the needs of Caribbean society.
The original site of the Seminary was 1 Belmont Road, Cross Roads, Kingston 5. As the student body grew, so did the need for a larger and more permanent campus. The present campus which is located at 14-18 West Avenue, Constant Spring, Kingston 8, was purchased in 1962. Subsequent to the purchase of the permanent site, the campus has been expanded by the acquisition of four separate adjacent plots of land with appropriate residential buildings as well as space for sports activities. The most recent expansion occurred in 1999 with the acquisition of a two-acre property to the south of 14-18 West Avenue.
The campus now includes seven and half acres of land with fourteen substantial buildings.
The Seminary is interdenominational and international in character with more than 40 different denominations and over a dozen countries represented throughout its history.
JTS graduates have gone into active Christian ministries throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean and around the globe. Several graduates serve as denominational heads. Others are engaged in non-pastoral ministries, including theological and religious education, while some serve as missionaries. A significant number have pursued advanced studies in theology and other disciplines. A growing number serve within the wider society providing leadership in finance and commerce, journalism, education, guidance counselling, medicine, agronomy, consumer advocacy, and a number of other areas.
This year the seminary celebrates fifty two years of unbroken service to Jamaica and the Caribbean. A series of events have been planned to commemorate this significant milestone.