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Black History Month: Providence Alumna Rev. Dr. Deborah Olukoju

Feb 14, 2024 | Alumni Stories, Events, Institution / General

Otterburne, MB – February is Black History Month. Together, at Providence, we endeavour to celebrate the unique contributions of the Black community across all disciplines within the University College and Theological Seminary. One such individual is alumna Deborah Olukoju, who was the very first woman to graduate from Providence Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry in 2006.

Born and raised in the city of Ibadan, Western Nigeria, Olukoju (née Adelodun) moved to Canada in 1986. Soon after, she earned her first degree in Theology from Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener (Ontario), a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Providence in 1993, and then followed in the footsteps of her father by becoming a pastor. In fact, Rev. Dr. Deborah Olukoju was also the first woman to be ordained by the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada.

In addition to her vocational work as a Senior Pastor at Immanuel Fellowship Church in Winnipeg, Dr. Olukoju has served as a chaplain at the Health Sciences Centre and with the Department of Justice in Manitoba, taught Spiritual Formations and Chaplaincy for Providence Seminary, served as a marriage counsellor and coach with the Solace Renewal Centre, is on the Board of Governors at Providence, and has received many awards related to volunteerism over the years – including the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award in 2015 for community leadership.

The Rev. Dr. Olukoju is also the founder of the Salt and Light Children’s Foundation, which is a Winnipeg-based non-profit organization with an objective “to add flavour, sweet taste, light and sunshine to the lives of some of the less fortunate children around the world,” by providing 60 dollars monthly for 60 months to 60 children in 60 countries – funding essentials like education and other necessities. What’s more, Dr. Olukoju regularly supports newcomers to Canada by seeking to provide housing and employment opportunities to new immigrants.

The theme of Black History Month across Canada in 2024 is “Black Excellence: A Heritage to Celebrate; a Future to Build,” and Dr. Olukoju is definitely an example of one whose contributions ought to be marked and celebrated – to the glory of God.

Hear Rev. Dr. Deborah Olukoju speak at Providence’s 2024 Graduation Ceremony on April 20th.

For more information and Black History Month resources, check out Canada.ca/Black-History-Month.