Not content to just serve the Seventh-day Adventist Church through preaching, teaching and counseling in Jamaica, Kemer Douglas recently completed a medical degree.
After four years of study, Douglas is now a medical intern at May Penn Hospital, after graduating with honors from the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences in Kingston, Jamaica on October 30, 2022 and as a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Education and Leadership.
Douglas, 43, completed his medical degree while pastoring a five-church district with 2,100 members.
“Balance was not easy,” said Douglas. “I had committed my life to God and the ministry of the gospel, and to taking care of my family, and I had to make sure that no one would suffer even if I couldn’t do everything.” He added that it is to rely on God, his wife and the elders of the church to help the ministry.
Respected and loved
Joyce Tennant Stewart, presbyter of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Linstead, had high praise for Douglas’s work. “He is a diligent and mission-driven pastor, and is extremely dedicated to equipping members and others to accurately share God’s Word,” Stewart said. “He is highly respected, beloved, humble, kind, and appreciative and never hesitates to render service to the church and community.”
After graduating from Calabar High School in Kingston, Douglas pursued a theology degree at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, where he earned a Bachelor of Religion and Theology in 2001 and then a Master of Religion in 2011. In addition, he earned a Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership from the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary in 2017.
Desire to become a medical doctor
The desire to become a medical doctor was always in the back of his mind, but he also felt a call to pastoral ministry, Douglas said. But what ultimately led him to medicine was a deep conviction from the Lord that the time had come.
“By the time I graduated from the Doctor of Ministry degree, I felt that I had done what the Lord wanted me to do academically to serve His cause and church,” Douglas said. “But in greeting the individuals after the ceremony, a fellow ministerial graduate who knew my passion for health and wellness said it was time to pursue medicine.” Others also encouraged him to pursue a medical degree.
Douglas describes his journey as God opening doors and making a way when there seemed to be no way.
Reaching this point was not easy for Douglas. It’s been a stressful journey, she admits, living and working, with a family of three boys aged 10, 11 and 15, and having to deal with school issues. He also emphasized that he stood up for his beliefs many times during this career pursuit. “Often because of my biblical beliefs, the topics of the Sabbath, creationism, and health reform lead to tense moments, because I would never compromise my beliefs for school-related activities.”
Studying medicine led Douglas to more fully appreciate the health message presented by Ellen G. White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “The study helped me feel self-actualized and deepened my dependence on God,” Douglas said. “This season has seen God perform miracle after miracle for me and open doors I never thought possible.”
Health and wellness are perceived needs for everyone, Douglas said. “God has prepared me to serve His church and community in a way that blends mind, body and spirit in a way that brings Him glory.”
Being able to meet people’s needs, offer an understanding of what their physical ailments are, then provide spiritual guidance as well as health reform is a great blessing and joy for him, Douglas explained.
Douglas said he has committed his life to gospel ministry but will also use his training to benefit the church and community.
“I have no desire to stop pastoring,” he said. “I love to teach and lead God’s people. However, I am now in my first year of training after medical school as an intern at May Pen Hospital in Clarendon, and I look forward to getting my license so I can see patients and help them achieve and maintain optimal health.”
An Adventist prodigy
Concerns about family management, pastoral work and study weighed on the minds of church leaders at the Central Jamaica Conference, where Douglas also serves as director of health ministries. “He is now an Adventist prodigy, and he has proven it to us by doing exceptionally well with all the challenges of church work while maintaining his GPA and graduating with honors,” said Neville Barrett, president of the Central Jamaica Conference. “We applaud and admire him and are extremely proud of him and his accomplishments.”
Douglas is the senior pastor of St. Catherine’s Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church, the largest Seventh-day Adventist church in Jamaica. He previously served as director of the Communications and Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Conference Divisions. Douglas has been serving the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 21 years.
He also found time to serve 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 that you are called by God to follow a certain course, and it is in harmony with the Bible and the spirit of prophecy, then by God’s grace go for it,” Douglas said. “Trust God and His timing. I thank God for His blessings in my life. I owe everything to him.”
The original version This story was posted in the Inter-American section news site.