To all of the International Reformed Theological College community, including friends and supporters,
Greetings in the Lord!
It is with immense joy and intense gratitude to the Triune God that the Board of Directors presents to you a new president to succeed the current president, Rev. Ralph Boersema. We present to our brotherhood, Rev. Ulisses Horta Simões of Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, a minister of the Word in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPB) as the new president of the IRTC.
The Rev. Ulisses (using the first name is the customary practice in Portuguese) has excellent qualifications for serving as the president of our College, for he served on the faculty of the Presbyterian seminary in Belo Horizonte since 1988 and even supervised the development and construction of the campus and its buildings. From 2015 through 2019 he served as the director of this seminary.
The Rev. Ulisses knows the IRTC well. He was a member of the founding committee, was on the Board for many years, served as its chairman for some time, and even was the academic vice president for a time. Consequently, the IRTC also knows him well.
The Board has full confidence in him, trusting that there will be good cooperation between the Board and the Rev. Ulisses, and that he will also experience good cooperation with all the personnel of the IRTC.
The replacement of the Rev. Ralph as president of the IRTC is in no way due to any dissatisfaction on the part of the Board with the performance of our current president, quite the contrary. The Rev. Ralph was not only one of the group of founders of the IRTC and an instructor for 20 years, but also dedicated himself fully to directing the theological institution and to its well-being, in spite of serious limitations due to increasing visual impairment and, eventually, total loss of vision.
None of us knows exactly how difficult our brother’s work has been for him. Of course, his wife, Mrs. Lucille Boersema, knows. The Board of Directors would like to express its most profound gratitude to this couple, Ralph and Lucille Boersema, for their dedication to the cause of the IRTC.
It was several years ago that the Rev. Ralph expressed the desire to be relieved of the presidency. We all knew that it would not be easy to find a replacement. We understand that it was not easy for the Rev. Ulisses to say, “Yes,” to the Board’s invitation. To replace a founder of an entity, its “soul,” in a manner of speaking, is never easy.
We believe, however, that it was God himself who gave the Rev. Ulisses the conviction that he has been called to be the new president of the IRTC.
The presidency is a part-time function. For the Rev. Ulisses, this is first, because he still has some commitments to the seminary in Belo Horizonte, as well as other commitments. Second, his family situation (with a son who needs much care) does not allow for fulltime service. The Board is fully aware of this and also of the Rev. Ulisses’ commitment to give 20 hours a week to the presidency. Moreover, the current situation of the IRTC, with a good administrative team and competent faculty, does not yet require a fulltime president.
It is appropriate to make clear to the IRTC community that the Rev. Ulisses will not replace our academic vice president, Dr. Leandro de Lima, who will continue in his position, as will our vice president for student affairs, Brother David Portela. The Board desires to express how happy and thankful it is for all the services these brothers render.
We are now entering a period of transition in which the Rev. Ulisses will learn about all the responsibilities of the presidency. The Board is planning to install the new president at an Internet meeting to be held in a few months.
Rev. Ulisses has expressed the desire to not receive remuneration for the work he is to do during 2020. The Board respects this desire and is thankful for this unselfish posture, just as it thanks other personnel for donations of time and service given to the College.
The Board asks for the prayers of all the students, instructors, other personnel, friends and supporters, that God may bless the Rev. Ulisses and his family, and that he may continue to bless the Rev. Ralph and Sister Lucille (treasurer), and that there may be a fruitful transition of the leadership of the IRTC.
It is also important to emphasize that the Rev. Ralph is not leaving the IRTC. He will continue to serve as an honorary president and additional advisor for the institution. As a matter of fact, this is an express desire of the Rev. Ulisses.
For the Board,
Pieter K. Meijer, Chairman