Adventist Pastor in Jamaica Completes Medical Degree

Kemar Douglas, who graduated with honors, continued being a pastor while pursuing his studies.

Kimarley Medley and Inter-American Division News
Adventist Pastor in Jamaica Completes Medical Degree
Kemar Douglas. [Photo: courtesy of Kemar Douglas]

Not satisfied with only serving in the Seventh-day Adventist Church through preaching, teaching, and counseling in his home country of Jamaica, Kemar Douglas recently completed a medical degree.

After four years of study, Douglas is now a medical intern at the May Pen Hospital, after graduating from the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 30, 2022, with honors, and also as a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Academics and Leadership.

Douglas, 43, completed his medical degree while being the pastor of a five-church district with 2,100 members.

“The balancing wasn’t easy,” Douglas said. “I had pledged my life to God and the gospel ministry, and to take care of my family, and I had to make sure none suffered, even if I couldn’t do everything.” It was all about relying on God, his wife, and church elders to help out the ministry, he added.

Respected and Loved

Joyce Tennant Stewart, head elder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Linstead, had high praises for the work of Douglas. “He is a hardworking and mission-driven pastor, and extremely dedicated to equipping members and others to rightly divide the Word of God,” Stewart said. “He is highly respected, loved, humble, kind, and appreciated, and never hesitates to provide service to church and community.”

After graduating from Calabar High School in Kingston, Douglas pursued a theology degree at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in religion and theology in 2001, and then a Master of Arts degree in religion in 2011. In addition, he obtained a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership from the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary in 2017.

Desire to Become a Medical Doctor

The desire to be a medical doctor had always been in the back of his mind, but he has also felt a call to pastoral ministry, Douglas said. But what finally led him to pursue medicine was a deep conviction from the Lord that it was time.

“At my graduation from the Doctor of Ministry degree, I felt that I had done all that the Lord had required of me academically to serve in His cause and church,” Douglas said. “But in greeting persons after the ceremony, one of my fellow ministerial graduates who knew my passion for health and wellness said it was now time to pursue medicine.” Others also encouraged him to pursue a medical degree.

Douglas describes his journey as one of God opening doors and making a way when there seemed to be no way.

Arriving at this point has not been easy for Douglas. It was a stressful journey, he admitted, living, and working, with a family of three boys ages 10, 11, and 15, and having to deal with school matters. He also emphasized the many times he stood up for his faith during the pursuit of this career. “Often because of my biblical convictions, issues of Sabbath, creationism, and health reform led to tense moments, as I would never compromise on my faith for school-related activities.”

No Regrets

Studying medicine has caused Douglas to more fully appreciate the health message presented by of Ellen G. White, a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “Studying has also helped me to feel self-actualized and has deepened my reliance on God,” Douglas said. “This season saw God working miracle after miracle for me and opening doors I never thought existed.”

Health and wellness are a felt need for everyone, Douglas said. “God has prepared me to serve His church and the community in a manner that blends the mind, body, and spirit in a wholistic manner that brings glory to Him.”

Being able to meet the needs of people, offer an understanding of what their physical ailment is, then provide spiritual guidance as well as health reform instructions is an immense blessing and joy for him, Douglas explained.

Douglas said he has pledged his life to the gospel ministry but will also utilize his training to benefit the church and community.

“I have no intention to stop pastoring,” he said. “I love teaching and leading God’s people. However, I am now in my first year of training after medical school, as an intern at the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon, and I am looking forward to getting my license so that I can see patients and be able to assist them in achieving and maintaining optimal health.”

An Adventist Prodigy

The concern about managing family, pastoral work, and study was pressing on the minds of church leaders at the Central Jamaica Conference, where Douglas also serves as health ministries director. “He is now an Adventist prodigy, and he proved it to us by doing exceptionally well with all the challenges of church work, while maintaining his GPA and graduating with honors,” Central Jamaica Conference president Nevail Barrett said. “We applaud and commend him and are extremely proud of him and his achievements.”

Douglas is the senior pastor of the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Catherine, the largest Seventh-day Adventist church in Jamaica. He previously served as director in the conference departments of communication and public affairs and religious liberty. Douglas has been serving in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for more than 21 years.

He also finds time to offer service to the community as a Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. Catherine and a volunteer chaplain for the Jamaica Constabulary Force in St. Catherine.

“If you feel the call of God on you to pursue a particular course, and it is in keeping with the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, go for it by God’s grace,” Douglas said. “Trust in God and His timing. I thank God for His blessing in my life. I owe all to Him.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

Kimarley Medley and Inter-American Division News

Kimarley Medley and Inter-American Division News