The Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, EGST, held a memorial service in its campus on June 11, 2021, to celebrate the life and ministry of the late Dr Francis Peter Cotterell (1930-2021). The idea of organizing the life celebration was done in consultation with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church leaders, EKHC, as Dr Cotterell served as SIM missionary long before he became the first and founding director of EGST from 1997-1999. The occasion included sharing memories and stories from family and friends/colleagues, sharing the word of God, singing and joyful worship, a photo exhibition, and dinner.
Recalling the joy of having been blessed with the invaluable guidance and leadership of Dr Peter Cotterell, Rev. Dr Misgana Mathewos, the EGST Director, shared a Bible verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “We ask you brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves” and said that “we are here to remember the ministry of our older brother, Dr Peter Cotterell, to give thanks to God for what he had done through him at EGST and in Ethiopia, and to follow in his footsteps and legacy, and carry on his vision.” Further, the Director acknowledged that Dr Cotterell laid the foundation for the establishment of EGST and a quality theological education. His leadership was so crucial for the establishment and development of the institution. In the words of the Director, “Dr Peter Cotterell foresaw the holistic development of EGST and engaged with it even after he left EGST.”Rev. Dr Misgana Mathewos welcoming the audience
Dr Tesfaye Yacob spoke from Revelation 12:10-12, addressing the need to overcome challenges, witness the living Christ, and live in the purpose of God as it was just manifested in the life and ministry of Dr Peter Cotterell. He also spoke about the risk-taking personality and love for the Lord and Ethiopian people Dr Cotterell had in his stay in Ethiopia.
Dr Tesfaye Yacob sharing God’s word
W/ro Yodit Hailemikael who was the administrative assistant to Dr Peter and Pastor Tsadiku Abdo, the alumnus and the current President of ECFE shared their testimonies – how Dr Peter impacted their lives. In their stories, they shared their memory of Dr Cotterell’s great heart for others, how he listens to students and their needs, and how he encouraged them to pursue their callings. They also remembered that he used to demonstrate stewardship and integrity in his day to day life.
On the occasion, Dr Desta Heliso, EGST’s third Director sent his tribute to Dr Peter in a video message. He said that he will never forget Peter’s principled life, his passion for Ethiopia, his theology, and his support. According to Dr Desta, Peter’s love for Ethiopia is evident in his grasp of the Amharic language and his identification with the people of Ethiopia. “Our pain was his pain and our suffering his suffering” noted Dr Desta. He also remembered what students in the London School of Theology used to call him “Peter Ethiopia Cotterell”. It was told that Peter refers to Ethiopia in his lectures, articles, and even he wrote a book about Ethiopia.
In the same manner, Peter’s daughter Jae Cotterell, in a video recorded message for the memorial service said that their father was excited to return to Ethiopia at the request of the Ethiopian churches. In their own words, “In our eyes, Peter was a man of action with a plan, sometimes 5 years, sometimes 10 years plan. Unobserved injustice makes him upset, and he experienced in his life the frustrations of being rendered powerless by those in power.” They finally said that Peter would hope that “EGST continues to grow both in its unique Ethiopian setting, but also in its foundational theological principles.”
In memory of his service and achievement in leadership, teaching, and research, the PhD Research centre was named after Dr F. Peter Cotterell. Upon the recommendation of the EGST administration and the approval of the EGST Board, Rev. Dr Misgana Mathewos inaugurated the dedication and naming of the PhD Research Center.
Inauguration of the dedication of the PhD Center