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Following the Light

Manfredo Martinez Luna is studying for a master of divinity degree at the Moravian Theological Seminary. Scholarships have made it possible.

Manfredo Martinez Luna was born in the city of Ponce and raised in the city of Salinas, both in the southern part of Puerto Rico. The eldest of eight siblings, he enjoyed a happy childhood and completed his primary and high school studies in the public education system. Interested in electricity from a young age, he earned his associate’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico and became an electrician.

Years later, Luna experienced a Christian conversion and enrolled in the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in religion. “I felt the call to ministry in the Methodist Church Conference of Puerto Rico and served as a licensed pastor for 10 years in different congregations,” he says. To be ordained in the United Methodist Church, however, Luna needs a master of divinity degree (MDiv). “I chose Moravian for its quality and academic excellence,” says Luna. 

With Spanish as his first language, Luna struggled in the beginning and on several occasions considered quitting. “After having been exposed to the excellence of learning techniques, participating in a confluence of critical thoughts from different ethical and theological perspectives, and using technology to enrich investigative capacity, I understood that it was necessary to persevere and not lose this great opportunity. I am very happy with what I have achieved.” Luna adds that he is grateful that the administrative staff and the professors have created an environment of inclusion and hospitality.

Luna is also grateful to those people who provide financial support through scholarships. He has been supported by the Agnew H. Bahnson Trust Fund, John & Helen Scarscella Scholarship Fund, Susan & Gordon Sommers Seminary Scholarship Fund, and Don Brown Scholarship Fund. “Without their good faith, for many of us, the opportunity to achieve our personal and ministerial goals would not be possible. I represent the citizens who dream of a better world, without academic or social barriers, willing to work for the Kingdom of God in the here and now. I am a person who belongs to a minority group that strives to receive an education that in turn can significantly impact communities and families that are socioeconomically disadvantaged, providing hope and motivating improvement as a human being. I represent those who strive to overcome obstacles and show that it is never too late to achieve their dream of obtaining an academic degree.

“At the Moravian Seminary, I have tasted the waters of knowing and how to know. I am equipped to provide a better ministerial service. Once I have completed my degree, my goal is to be ordained as a priest for the denomination to which I belong and to continue serving as pastor. I want to get involved in projects that contribute to the quality of life of minority groups, and I wish to continue studying to obtain a doctoral degree in theology.”