Not satisfied with just serving in the Seventh-day Adventist Church through preaching, teaching, and counseling in his home country of Jamaica, Pastor Kemar Douglas completed a medical degree.
After four years of study, Douglas is 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 as a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Academics and Leadership.
Douglas, 43, completed his medical degree while pastoring a district of five churches with 2,100 members.
“The balancing wasn’t easy,” said Douglas. “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, has high praises for the work of Pastor Douglas.
“He is a hardworking and mission driven pastor and extremely dedicated to equipping members and others to rightly divide the Word of God,” said Stewart. “He is highly respected, loved, humble, kind, and appreciated and never hesitates to provide service to church and community.”
After graduating from the Calabar High School in Kingston, Douglas pursued a degree at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Mandeville, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Theology in 2001, and then a Master of Arts degree (MA) in Religion in 2011. In addition, he obtained a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Leadership from the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary in 2017.
Desire to Become a Medical Doctor
The desire to be a medical doctor has always been in the back of his mind, but he has always felt a call to the ministry, said Douglas. However, 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, 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 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.”
Studying has caused Douglas to fully appreciate the health message presented by 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,” added Douglas. “This season saw God working miracle after miracle for me and opening doors I never thought existed.”
Health and wellness is a felt need for everyone, said Douglas. “God has prepared me to serve His church and the community in a manner that blends the mind, body, and spirit in a holistic manner that brings glory to Him.”
Being able to meet the needs of people, offer an understanding of what their physical ailments are, then provide spiritual guidance as well as health reform instructions is an immense blessing and joy for him, he explained.
Douglas 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,” said Pastor Nevail Barrett, president of the Central Jamaica Conference. “We applaud and commend him and are extremely proud of him and his achievements.”
Dr. Douglas is the senior pastor of the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church, in St. Catherine, the largest Seventh-day Adventist in Jamaica. He previously served as director in the departments of Communication, Public Affairs, and Religious Liberty. He has been serving in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 21 years.
Douglas 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 its Jamaica Constabulary Force.
“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.”