Bishop Newton School of Theology appoints new principal

May 30, 2024

Exciting changes are ahead for Bishop Newton School of Theology, with the appointment of a new principal – the Rev’d Dr Ishaya Anthony from the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Dr Anthony will take up the position before the start of the 2025 academic year.

Current Acting Principal, Bishop Jeffrey Driver, recently wrote:

Soon after the first Anglican Missionaries to PNG, Albert MacLaren and Copland King, arrived on the North Coast of what was then British New Guinea, they cut bush poles to build a rough chapel. One of the poles sprouted and grew into a tree. It was a Modawa Tree (New Guinea Rosewood. Like every young tree, it would have had tender beginnings. But it grew and it grows still near the cathedral at Dogura. It has become a symbol of PNG Anglicanism, rooted in the soil of the land.

This year another Modawa was planted on the Newton College site at Popondetta. On January 1 the Modawa Institute for Higher Education came into being on the 265 acre campus set aside through the energy of Bishop David Hand along with the generosity of local people. The Modawa Institute is new, but not new. Newton Theological College has been operating on the site for about 45 years. St Margaret’s has been training health workers for much of that time. And when Bishop David Hand negotiated the mission lease for the land, through the vision and generosity of local people, he had in mind that a teachers’ college would be built on the site.

Now the Modawa sapling has been planted in Oro ground, bringing all that history and vision together. It is but a tender shoot, with much growth to occur before the branches spread.

The first step, as always is with people. The Governing Council has appointed a new Principal, to take over from Bishop Jeffrey Driver, who has guided the redevelopment of Newton College to this point, spending about a third of each year in PNG. The Rev Dr Ishaya Anthony plans to take up the appointment before the commencement of the 2025 academic year.

Having retired from a long period of service, mostly with the University of PNG, Ms Estelle Jojoga will head our nursing program with the aim of establishing a Diploma in Nursing. Mr Philemon Antonio will take up the position of Head of the School of Teaching over the coming months. Philemon has been head of a teachers’ college in Enga. Mr Alan Jogioba has been elected Chair of the Council of Governors. Alan has had a long history of service in higher education, including some times in Australia.

Along with Fr Giles Motisi, this new leadership team has a mammoth task ahead of it. We will need to recruit additional teaching staff, plan curricula, and attending to the ongoing task of registration and accreditation.

Bishop Driver also reported on the increased need for funding the School of Theology at this time, since, until accreditation is achieved and the Papua New Guinea government commences funding staff salaries, the School has to find its own funds.

Your support continues to be highly valued and needed.

We ask for your prayers, especially for:

  • The new principal starting in January 2025, Rev’d Dr Ishaya Anthony from Nigeria, and his family
  • Bishop Driver who has been acting principal of Newton School of Theology and who has led much of the change process
  • Fr Giles Motisi and his team of staff
  • The final stages of the registration and accreditation process for the new Modawa Institute for Higher Education, comprising three separate schools – theology, nursing and teacher training
  • Newton’s Advanced Diploma and Certificate students, some of whom will graduate in November this year
  • For all ordinands
  • For other certificate students, including clergy who want to update their theological education, some SSF brothers, and lay people (men and women).
  • For the ongoing work of developing the campus library.