Bible College – Campus at Jaela

… Continued from “Reawakening in 1971” …

Once the main buildings at Ja-Ela were completed in the latter half of 1983, the school was able to shift into more comfortable conditions. It was an uneasy time in the country with the devastating riots in July, and the civil unrest clouding the air. The school had to function in a new national paradigm of security which was to last thirty years. Willie Chelliah, who had been trained at SABC joined the teaching staff on a full time basis. Later, Dishan Wickramaratne, Cedric La Brooy, Yohan and Rebecca Fernando, Ian Weerawardena, Simon Fuller and Rohan Dissanayeke joined the teaching staff on a volunteer basis. Thereafter, Anulanda Ratnavira and then Sandra Chelliah joined the staff on a full time basis. Additionally a number of local and foreign visiting lecturers have augmented the teaching, in short term courses and seminars.

Particular mention must be made of Rev. Clarence and Mrs. Irene Cope who, in their ministerial retirement, visited the island on a regular basis, contributing to the teaching their vast pastoral experience and contributing generously towards the development of the school.

Another significant change at this time is the change of name from Ceylon Bible Institute to the Assemblies of God Bible College in the 1980s.

It was felt that the ethos of the school should harmonise with the culture of the nation so that the students who go into village areas would relate better to the culture of their area of ministry. Accordingly after the first graduation of the newly opened school, attire changed from that of coat and tie to that of the national dress for male students and saris for the female students. The décor at significant events was also similarly contextualized. “Regrettably,” says Ila, “this was not continued beyond 1995.”