Newbold Reinstates Role of Vice-Principal

Dr Dan Serb, currently Irish Mission president appointed.

News May 21, 2024

20 May 2024| Bracknell, UK [David Neal and Vanesa Pizzuto]

At the 19 May meeting of the Newbold College of Higher Education (NCHE) Board, Dr Dan Serb, currently serving as president of the Irish Mission, was appointed to the reinstated administrative role of ‘Vice Principal’, a position vacant since the retirement of Dr Michael Pearson.

Welcoming Words from Leadership

Daniel Duda (Chair, Newbold College Board) and Stephen Currow (NCHE Principal) welcomed Serb’s appointment.

“It is with great joy that we welcome Pastor Dan Serb to join the Newbold College family as Vice Principal at this time,” said Daniel Duda. “He has demonstrated his leadership skills in guiding the Irish Mission and has shown capacity in project management. As the Founding Director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution Europe, which has trained over 120 people across Europe, we look forward to his contributions as he joins the Newbold team.”

“For the important role of Vice Principal, Dr Dan Serb brings extensive pastoral, administrative and academic experience to Newbold,” remarked Stephen Currow. “His enthusiasm and experience will help Newbold implement some exciting aspects of the strategic plan as Newbold seeks to serve the wider church and community. I look forward to working with him,” he concluded.

It is understood that the Vice Principal role will include being an officer of the college, implementing aspects of the strategic plan including developing online learning provision, and overseeing programmes such as One Year in Mission and Service, Clinical Pastoral Education, and the Profession Development for Pastors. There will also be some teaching and dissertation supervision responsibilities.

Personal and Professional Background

Serb, a native of Romania, began his academic journey in 1992, studying for three years at the Institutul Teologic Adventist, Romania, and after transferring to Helderberg College, South Africa, graduated in 1997 with a BA in Theology (Hons). Immediately called to serve as a pastor for the Cape Conference, Serb was requested to oversee 11 churches with a membership of over 2,000 people until 2006. In 2005 he graduated with a Master of Social Science (Religion and Globalisation) from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

From 2006 – 2011, Serb temporarily left denominational employment to work for a non-profit organisation, ‘The Pilgrim Relief Society’ for education and the relief of poverty, taking on the role of Vice President/Director for the Africa region, combining management of humanitarian projects with mission and evangelistic work.

After returning to his former Cape Conference district in 2010, in 2013, Serb received a call to serve in the Irish Mission to provide pastoral leadership to two multi-cultural and multi-ethnic churches in Dublin, Ireland. Serb, reflective by nature, as he ministers, he watches, processes what he sees and then feels compelled to enquire further. His particular and immediate ministry concern was to study what was happening to second-generation Gen Z Dublin youth, trying to come to terms with their multiple identities (cultural, ethnic, religious, and social). Upon completing his research in 2022, he was awarded a DMin from Andrews University in Multi-cultural and Multi-ethnic Ministry. Serb is shortly due to complete a PhD in Religious Studies and Arabic from the University of South Africa.

In 2016, Serb became the president of the Irish Mission – an administratively complex Mission with a territorial reach across two nations (Ireland and Northern Ireland UK), taking it forward from the three-year 2013-2015 Dublin and Irish Mission City of Hope strategic evangelism emphasis. During his tenure, and because of member faithfulness, the pastoral team increased, new ministries were created, and new communities appeared in far corners of the Irish Mission, once thought of as unreachable.

Dan Serb, President, Irish Mission, presenting the BelievAble Talks project at GAiN 2022, Bucharest, Romania.

An Experienced Innovator

A significant feature of Serb’s 8-year Irish Mission tenure was the development of new innovative and relevant ministry initiatives for connecting with today’s sceptical and fractured generation. Two examples illustrate; BelievAble Talks, a platform designed to foster open and honest dialogue between religion and science, and the Centre for Conflict Resolution Europe (CCRE), focusing on reconciliation and training leaders across Europe in conflict resolution techniques.

In partnership with the Irish Mission and the Centre for Conflict Resolution at La Sierra University in the USA, Serb pioneered the development of the Centre for Conflict Resolution Europe (CCRE). Believing in Derwin L Gray’s premise that “Reconciliation is the heartbeat of the gospel and God’s longing for humanity,” Serb has made significant strides in this field.

BelievAble Talks addresses reconciling the often-contentious relationship between religion and science. Serb designed the talks to create a safe space for open and honest dialogue, where questions and doubts are welcome. He explains, “The main premise of the initiative is that the beauty of rational and life-enriching thought is found in the process of inquiry and the search for objective truth.” The first project on this platform is the docuseries ‘Beyond the Burden of Proof’, a seven-part series focusing on faith, truth and reality, religion and violence, cosmology, the theory of evolution, morality, and the future. He emphasised, “The presentations are not sermons or Bible studies. The objective is to provide an ‘open door’ for further inquiry on spiritual matters.”

A Bitter-Sweet Moment

Reflecting on his new appointment, Serb shared these thoughts:

“I consider it a great privilege to be appointed to this role and am very excited to become part of the Newbold College family. I look forward to getting to know the teaching, administrative and campus staff as well as the students. Newbold College is a dynamic institution with a great history and a well-defined mission and prospects for the future. I feel blessed to contribute to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

“It is, however, a bitter-sweet moment as well because the Irish Mission has been a place of great ministerial fulfilment and spiritual growth for me. We have a dynamic, diverse and committed pastoral team and wonderful lay leaders and members who tirelessly strive to make God known on the beautiful and blessed island of Ireland. My family and I will miss them all greatly, and we plan to make the most of the little time we have left with our Irish Mission family.”

Serb is married to Oana, with three children, Emma, Emilio and Ayana.

Photos: Tor Tjeransen/Adventist Media Exchange, [CC BY 4.0.] Featured image: Dan Serb.

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