Started as a Bible study group for household/domestic workers in 1983, when a group of ATS students and faculty started the informal Penuel study group under a mango tree.
In 1986, Penuel School of Theology was born to formally train poor and indigent Christian leaders and workers.
Penuel began in 1984 as a bible study for urban poor church workers initiated by Dr. Tae Yun Hwang, then a student at Asian Theological Seminary. Among his students is Pastor Abet Tiquia, who would in turn invite Prof. Lorenzo (Boy) Bautista as one of the teachers. Kuya Boy’s inclusion into the faculty line-up would in turn open the school to like minded individuals to help out this new school.
Dr. David Lim, fresh from his doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, CA), would form the first administrative team and would serve as President from Penuel’s incorporation in 1987 to 1990. Bong Manayon & Jo Atara would form the staff originally as volunteer workers, eventually being incorporated as full employees. During David’s term, Penuel worked for acceptability in the Evangelical and theological community.
Penuel, at its inception, would be focused on its ministry to the urban poor. The basis for its program would be outlined by Kuya Boy, and later by Bong Manayon. Because of the nature of the organization, wherein no one denomination or church “owned” Penuel, an attempt to form a base to support it would be conceived in 1990 initiating what is known as the Penuel Community. The year 1990 also saw the transition from Dr. David Lim to Bong Manayon. Bong would serve as president from 1990 to 1996; officially his term would end in 1994 but a two-year extension was arranged to fill the gap until a replacement was found.
Penuel has resolved to have one term presidents who would serve for four years with an option for an extension of two years if necessary. This is in contrast to our prevailing culture where “lifers” tend to be common.
During Bong Manayon’s presidency, a unique forward looking Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.) program incorporating social sciences and other skills was developed. Bong also became the Executive Director of the Philippine Association of Bible and Theological Schools (PABATS) between 1993 to 1995. During this time, Ado Gorospe of Asian Theological Seminary would come on board as acting Academic Dean, as well as other changes to the Board of Trustees. Atty. Jun Flores and Emmy Huang of Union Church would join in 1991; Timothy would be replaced by a husband and wife team of John and Ranhi Baik from Korea. Corrie Acorda & Sito Silva would eventually bow out and Jorge Fernandez would migrate to Australia.
Cris Gordovez would replace Bong as president and would serve from 1996 to 1998, her term being cut short because of an opportunity to study in Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA). During her term, the administration would be strengthened and the Community would be finally formed to what it is now in the present. The Community would adopt the Renovaré disciplines as its core values.
Joy Doliente-Torres would take over from Cris in 1998 and is currently serving as president. Kuya Boy would return from his own studies in Union Theological Seminary (Richmond, VA) in 1998 and would serve as senior adviser to the board up to the present. During this time, Penuel’s own would return to serve in its leadership and faculty. Rev. Efren Roxas (class ’93) would serve as a Board Member and Eduard Yu (class ’97) is serving as faculty member. Penuel uniquely grants full board status to the student and the alumni representatives.
During Joy Torres’ term, the accreditation process would be initiated, evaluating what would be the requirements to ultimately prepare Penuel for accreditation with DECS. Other milestone reached would be the inclusion of Benjie Quiñones as the Development Officer; giving development a regular personnel.