The history of STEP dates back to 1942, when Pastor Florentino Dolores Toirac, a Cuban national who came to Haiti in 1937 with “World Christian Crusade”, opened a Bible institute in Gonaives. In January 1944, the school was temporarily transferred to Martissant and two years later, it moved to its current location, a building constructed near Fort Mercredi.
Meanwhile, in 1943, Pastors Mersdorf Alexander and Isaac Etienne founded a Bible Institute in Port-de-Paix under the auspices of the Evangelical Baptist Mission of Haiti, an affiliate of a missionary organization called Unevangelized Fields Mission. This institute held its first graduation in 1947. In 1949, the two foreign missions, World Christian Crusade and Unevangelized Fields Mission, merged and chose the name “UFM”. The merger of these two missions also led to the merger of the two Bible schools, forming “The Evangelical School of the Bible” (EEB) in Port-au-Prince. The first graduation for the EEB took place on April 25, 1952.
Besides the curriculum of theological and pastoral training, EEB offered several programs in the evangelical community. First, the “Women’s Course” was instituted, a program whose goal was to train young women who wanted to prepare to better serve the Lord. The first Women’s Course graduation took place on October 1, 1954. This program was discontinued in 1969, resumed at la Pointe des Palmistes in 1977, discontinued again in 1980 and resumed again in Port-au-Prince in 2000.
Next, the “Evening Course” was inaugurated in 1955. The objective of this program was to provide a biblical training to church leaders who did not have the opportunity to follow the regular curriculum of the school. They could increase their knowledge of the Scriptures and improve the efficiency of their service in the churches of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings. The first graduation took place on April 24, 1959.
In 1972 the “Biblical Course by Extension” (now Decentralized Theological Courses or “CTD”) was instituted, a decentralized program whose objective was to train lay church leaders who could not move to take courses in Port-au-Prince. The first graduation took place in 1977.
As the Evangelical School of the Bible gradually developed and its academic level continued to increase, the Executive Committee of the Union of Evangelical Baptists of Haiti (UEBH) found it necessary to offer the evangelical community in Haiti a university-level theological school. Thus, the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Port-au-Prince (STEP) was born in September 1981 under the leadership of Dr. Jean Duthène Joseph.
From this point, many changes began to take place: the closure of the dorm of the EEB in 1986, the merger of the “Evening course” with regular courses as well as the sharing of EEB and STEP administrative staff and teachers.
In 1996, the leaders of the EEB and STEP decided to finally merge the two institutions, while retaining the name “STEP”. This merger has enabled the better management of human, financial and material resources.
From the birth of the EEB until the merger with STEP, both institutions have trained more than 150 women (in the Women’s Course) and more than 1500 workers who are serving today in Christian ministry.