A Legacy of Blessing
Through 41 years of sustained Christian university education, Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ont., has been privileged to be a witness of God’s sovereign goodness. This goodness continues to overflow through the generosity of God’s people at local churches and Christian organizations, the most recent example being New Street CRC.
After seven decades of ministry in Burlington, Ont., New Street CRC made the difficult decision to close, hosting its final worship service on July 30, 2023. During the process of selling church assets, the congregation decided to distribute some of its funds to Redeemer, providing a legacy gift of $500,000. They also gave gifts to local charities, Christian elementary and high schools, nearby congregations, and CRC ministry shares.
“New Street CRC is providing a legacy of blessing that will have a positive impact on students for years to come,” said David Zietsma, president of the university.
“I am so grateful that New Street CRC, along with so many others, understands the impact of Christian university education on preparing the next generation of Christian leaders to share the hope and love of Jesus in all sorts of callings and communities. Without such generous support, Redeemer’s kingdom mission would not be possible – and we are truly thankful!”
Redeemer has long valued the congregation’s support, with an additional nearly $400,000 donated over the church’s lifespan through annual contributions.
“We had an early connection with Redeemer,” said John Glasbergen, an elder and the chair of consistory at New Street CRC. “The very first president of Redeemer, Henry R. De Bolster, was a member of our congregation at the time. Our connection goes back a long way and has always been dear to our hearts.”
Glasbergen said that while the closing of a church is a painful experience, it is exciting to pass on proceeds from its closure to a special place like Redeemer.
Along with Redeemer’s first president, many alumni have called New Street CRC home. The congregation has also long sought to build up the wider church, equipping God’s people to serve in both religious and secular contexts.
“The vision of New Street was to be immersed in the community that we serve in,” said chair of council and Redeemer alumnus Jerome Vos. “And . . . Christian education . . . creates leaders in business, sciences, and so many other fields. And having faith-based leaders helps fulfill God’s mission and New Street’s vision.”
The legacy gift will be designated toward capital projects at Redeemer and is expected to make a big impact on the development and sustainability of the university.
“We started on the lakeshore [Beach Blvd.], and now you have a massive campus here. . . . That’s what excites me – that the demand for Christian education is growing. Hence the size of Redeemer is growing,” said Vos. “It’s a testament to the need, but also a testament to the quality of the education.”
Redeemer has experienced significant development over the past few years with the opening of the Charis Live and Learn Centre, a dining hall expansion, and strong enrollment numbers.
“Our being able to, as New Street, give to help that growth just means that more people can experience a Christ-centered education,” said Vos.
Vos added that he hopes New Street CRC’s giving will encourage others to give as well. Addressing Redeemer’s impact on students, he said, “It’s been fortunate that Redeemer has had fixed tuition for a period of time – and crazily enough, the tuition now is less than when I was here. It lets students pay for the education and the donors pay for the expansion and the growth . . . keeping it at a reasonable price for students to attend – because that’s the purpose of all this. You don’t need to expand, grow, or add programs if it’s not about students.”
This article originally appeared at redeemer.ca and is shared with permission. Making a decision to close as a congregation can be difficult and painful. The CRCNA has staff to walk alongside congregations in this process, and resources to help in discerning how to close well and bless others. See the Crossroads Discernment Process for more information.