Covenant Bible College to Close

Post a Comment » Written on February 15th, 2007     
Filed under: News
STRATHMORE, AB (February 15, 2007) – Editors Note: The following is a statement from acting president Paul Lessard of Covenant Bible College.

Closure of CBC
After 66 years of rich and creative ministry Covenant Bible College will discontinue its program in any form and on all campuses effective May 31, 2007. While the college worked hard to respond to declining enrollment over the past couple of years, due to mounting operating debt, an insufficient number of student applications and donations, it became clear it would not be possible to continue the ministry beyond the current class. This was a very difficult decision to make, and arrived at only after much prayer and dialogue.

Covenant Bible College (Covenant Bible Institute) began in 1941 in a small Saskatchewan town, birthed out of the vision of the Canada Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. Initially a 3 year program, in 1957 CBI became a 2 year program. By 1962 CBI became CBC and the program condensed into one academic year. During the first 50 years CBC was lead by Joel Peterson & Wendell Anderson. The class sizes typically ranged from 25 to 45 students with the central focus being the equipping of young adults to serve the church as Biblically literate and spiritually formed lay persons.

In 1989 the Development Study Commission further refined and re-envisioned the program to equip young men and women to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, setting a course that proved both unique and appealing to a new generation of young adults. Under the vision and leadership of President Neil Josephson, a new season of growth began, which eventually stretched over the next decade and into the early years of this century.

In 1995 due to increasing enrollment and an aging facility, the college was relocated to Strathmore, Alberta. In 1998, to provide opportunities for students on a growing waiting list, a campus was established in Windsor, Colorado. Then, in 2000, a third campus community began in Ecuador, situated in La Merced, and an hour outside of Quito.

In 2004 CBC formally affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination headquartered in Chicago. From 1997 until 2005 CBC also facilitated the training and resourcing ministry of the Worship Center. Through these years of growth there was a strong sense of both the Lord’s leading and the Spirit’s enabling presence.

The last 5 years had seen a down turn in student numbers which eventually led to the closure of the Colorado campus, the release of the Worship Center and a refocusing of the ministry through review of and changes to the program and staff. Low student application numbers, along with mounting operating debt from a series of year end deficits and a more recent decline in charitable donations have all brought the college to the point of being unable to continue operations. And, while the need for a ministry to disciple young adults has never been more warranted, CBC’s ability to meet this need will come to an end when the current class is done in early May.

God has done amazing things over the 66 years of CBC. In the late 80’s when many colleges were merging or closing their doors, CBC faced the same fate. But God granted the ministry its third and largest enrollment cycle in its history. In fact there have been more grads in this last 17 year cycle, than in the first two cycles combined. And, while many CBC students have gone on to serve as pastors, missionaries, youth and worship leaders, its greatest contribution has been the thousands of grads across North America and the world, who live and serve with a practical and heartfelt Christian faith. CBC has been a gift given to the church and world at large that we do well to celebrate and thank God for.

All are welcome to the 66th and last commencement services that will be held May 4-6, 2007, CBC Canada in Strathmore, Alberta and April 27-29, 2007, CBC Ecuador in La Merced, Ecuador. The 2008 Annual Meeting of the Canada Covenant will provide opportunity for a more formal celebration of the past 66 years of ministry.

Thanks be to God.

Click here for answers to CBC closure FAQs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog