The Founding Director of the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST), Dr. Peter Cottrell, celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday, May 4, 2020, while in isolation due to the UK government’s shielding and social distancing rules relating to COVID 19 pandemic. Dr. Cotterell served EGST from 1997-1999. Without the solid foundation he laid, EGST would not be what it is today. Indeed, through his ministry in Ethiopia as a missionary and teacher, and the founding Director of EGST, Dr. Cotterell leaves an outstanding legacy and will be remembered by this and future generations. He loved Ethiopia. He loved EGST. In this connection, it is worth remembering here some of his words from his address during the inauguration of the second phase of the EGST building project on March 15, 2014. He remarked:
“I am humbled and deeply grateful to have been invited to speak at this gathering, and at a crucial moment in the history of the church in Ethiopia.
I have lived here for 24 years: Ethiopia is as much my country as is England.
The children in Addis Ababa used to shout after me: Ferenj! Ferenj!
And I used to call back, Habesha! Habesha!
Well, I have been told that I am a NECH HABISHA and I am glad of it.
But this must be my last visit.
Like Paul when he wrote to young Timothy, I am near the end of the road, and the time of my departure is at hand.’ Unyoking’, ‘loosing’.
Unyoking…. Taking down the tent……Casting off from the shore
So, I say with all the deepest longings of my heart:
Let EGST be more than just another theological college.
Let it be a focus of love and understanding and tolerance for the entire church, a beacon shining in a dark world, and let its graduates be humble and faithful followers of Jesus.”
Peter Cottrell holds a Ph.D. from London University, Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brunel. He was Principal of the London School of Theology.
EGST wishes Dr. Cotterell a very happy birthday and good health!