Students, not capital projects, are on the minds of Abbotsford, B.C.’s Columbia Bible College leadership this year. At the 2012 fundraising dinner, held at the college Oct. 27, guests were asked to fill a big need for students – narrow the financial gap between the actual cost education and affordable tuition levels.
MC Ken Esau said the college wants to do all that it can to reduce the financial burden on Columbia’s students. Even with the students carrying a heavy load, and with the college taking cost-saving measures, supporters are still needed to “hold the hand of one or more students” to bridge the financial gap, said Esau. Guests were invited to join other supporters like the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, the Mennonite Church of BC, some individual churches, and a variety of individual donors who were already participating. The goal of the dinner was to raise the equivalent of about $400 for each Columbia student.
CBC supporters rallied to the call. At press time, donations and pledges exceeded $175,000 – surpassing the $160,000 target leaders had set. Some 350 guests attended the dinner.
The banquet also featured the college’s one-year Quest program, now in its 17th year. Quest (designed as a transition from high school to college) includes outdoor adventure, service, and Bible study. Course developer Mike Richardson said, “Quest is not a program as much as a community.”
Outgoing president Ron Penner introduced banquet guests to his successor, paying tribute to his commitment and leadership qualities at Columbia. Bryan Born was unanimously affirmed to succeed Penner during Columbia’s annual general meeting Oct. 11. The change of office will take place Dec. 22.
Born told banquet guests he is passionate about Columbia’s focus on making disciples. “As an arm of the church, we are seeking to work together with you,” he said. “We see our relationship as a partnership in the gospel.”