Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

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June 3, 2021: Legacy of a Christian Education

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6, NIV).

I am the first of six children of Gilbert and Sylvia Spence. Much of the education we obtained was taught at home from parents who did not have an opportunity to obtain a college degree but were committed disciples of Jesus, the Master Teacher. Dad accepted the Seventh-day Adventist message in his teen years. Mom was already in the faith. I considered myself blessed to have parents similar to Jesus’ parents—a homemaker teacher and an entrepreneur.

My dad served for many years as an elder of his local church in central Jamaica, and, in partnership with other dedicated leaders, grew a church school into a full educational center, offering elementary to academy education. Today it’s known as May Pen Academy and is still operating in my homeland.

My parents saw to it that all of my siblings and I attended this school. When it was time to leave for college, my dad had a memorable conversation with me: “Son, I will not be able to leave a large monetary legacy for you,” he said, “but I will invest in your education with the limited resources I have.”

Before he passed in June 2015, I was able to invite him to a Washington Adventist University Alumni Sabbath gathering, and said to him publicly: “Dad, thank you for your support of Christian education and your wisdom of investing in me. Today, they call me the president of Washington Adventist University.”

Thank You, God, for Seventh-day Adventist Christian education that made a positive difference in so many lives, and in my own. Amen.

Weymouth Spence is the president of Washington Adventist University in Maryland.

Check out the other resources from our Year of the Bible Journey: