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World Church Recognizes Rockville, Gaithersburg Pastor for Excellence in Education

Story by Adrienne Suarez and Dan Jensen


Columbia Union education leaders present Bertram Melbourne, PhD, (center) with the Award of Excellence.

The North American Division recently presented the Award of Excellence to Bertram Melbourne, PhD, a professor of biblical language and literature at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and pastor at the Rockville and Gaithersburg churches in Maryland. The award is the second highest conferred by the General Conference Department of Education.

“When you take into consideration his innovative, creative leadership over the span of his career, in addition to the programs he initiated on behalf of young African-American men, we clearly felt that Dr. Melbourne is more than deserving of this recognition,” said Hamlet Canosa, the vice president for education in the Columbia Union who recommended Melbourne for the award.

Melbourne has served as an academy teacher; a superintendent of education for K-8; and taught at West Indies College in Jamaica, Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., and Griggs University, a long distance education provider.

A ceremony was held at the Rockville church, recognizing his achievements. “It is a truly humbling experience,” said Melbourne. “It is gratifying to note that while you are doing your work, others are noting what you are doing for the Master and recognize your contributions.”

To qualify for the award, candidates must have worked for the Seventh-day Adventist denomination for at least 20 years, 15 of which must have been spent in Adventist education. The candidate’s service must have impacted at least two unions or educational institutions, he or she must have earned the respect of students and colleagues and there must be evidence of the person’s lasting contribution to Adventist education.

“The thing that stands out above all other qualities with Dr. Melbourne is his Christian heart,” Canosa said. “He exemplifies what it means to be a Christian theologian, and the impact he had on Howard University, his professional and academic bone fides, are clearly an example for all who will follow in his footsteps.”