GWU School of Divinity Classes Challenge Pastor to Live her Faith Beyond the Pulpit

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Paula Bruce ’19 Serves Her Congregation and the Community

During all but one of her 18 years in ministry, Pastor Paulleatha “Paula” Bruce has also worked as an educator. In 2008, she became the lead pastor of Freedom Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., but continued to work as a school administrator for nine years. Despite her practical experience, she wanted to further her theological education and enrolled in the School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University.

“I felt as if I needed to learn and know more about the biblical text and best ministry practices,” shared Bruce, who is pursuing a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling. “I met a local pastor, an alumnus of Gardner-Webb, who made positive remarks about his experience in the School of Divinity.”

She toured the GWU campus and sensed the University was the right place for her. She welcomes the in-depth study of the scriptures and class discussions that challenge her to live her faith beyond the pulpit. “My classes have enhanced and further honed many of the things that I have been doing as a pastor,” Bruce affirmed. “They have also provided me with the right information that I have needed with respect to church administration, pastoral care of congregants, etc.”

Paula Bruce, GWU School of Divinity Student.

She appreciates how Dr. Hebert Palomino, professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, uses a holistic approach, allowing students opportunities for self-reflection. “While learning theory is important, it cannot be successfully implemented or used effectively until a person deals with what is happening within him or her,” Bruce observed.

Another course that deeply affected her faith is the Revelation class taught by School of Divinity Dean Dr. Robert Canoy. “I believe that every student should take this class, because it certainly provided me with a fuller picture of Jesus Christ and the victory that his death secures for believers who overcome the world in which we live,” she reflected.