Anecdote from the Archives
Evangel – Christmas 2016
From the Archives
ABC needs financial support to make tuition fees affordable and to keep student debt to a minimum. Unlike public colleges and university, ABC does not receive support from the government; therefore, the college depends on those who value Christian education. Since we are going through a downturn in the economy, we should remember that ABC started in the “Great Depression.” Still the Church of Christ in Lethbridge took on the challenge before them.
LETHBRIDGE CHURCH OF CHRIST 1932–1937
“Too much can never be said of the contribution of the church in Lethbridge. The students from the beginning became the responsibility of the entire congregation. …The minister’s salary was always guaranteed by the congregation even when the College work demanded almost ALL of his time, certainly during the week if not on the Lord’s Days. The increased expense of light and heat were gladly borne by the congregation. The weekly assemblies of these saints provided the opportunity for the novitiates to deliver their maiden sermons and other discourses. In brief, without the spiritual and factual co-operation of the Central Church of Christ, Lethbridge, the College would have died at birth.”
(From a 1944 pamphlet called “By Grace through Faith,” p. 5).
In the early days, the college grew rapidly. The leaders of the college decided that a move to Calgary was advantageous for the college and so the college moved in 1937. Critical in making this move, was a committed base of financial supporters. To reach out to those committed to Christian education and ministry training, the board of trustees established the “500 Club.”
“500 CLUB” 1941–1964
“This year we are especially stressing the “500 Club.” This is an aim to have 500 subscribers giving monthly to the upkeep of the College. We have had a fine response and now have approximately sixty-five members, pledging anywhere from 25 cents to $5.00. We are enclosing a card for membership, and if you should care to show your interest in the training of young men and women for the ministry, will you send it to the College Office, and your name will be continued on our “500 Club” pledge list for this year.”
(In a letter to donors, October 2, 1941; signed by Mary E. Benoit, office secretary).
After 1964 the ABC Underwriters Association was formed to meet the financial needs of the college. Again we see a creative move on the part of leaders to ensure that ABC would continue to equip people for effective service and witness for Christ.
ABC UNDERWRITERS ASSOCIATION 1964–1984
“The ABCUA is a voluntary association of Christian people who realize the importance of Alberta Bible College in the life of the churches in Canada and who are willing to make a personal financial annual commitment, of worthy proportion, to the College to help establish a Committed Financial Base upon which the College can depend and to assist in expanding and sustaining interest in the College.
The idea behind this program is to commence with a commitment from the trustees, followed by further commitments from the Alumni and ministers and then to proceed to appeal to Christian people all across Canada to join in a positive program to make the school completely solvent. Our initial goal will be to achieve the $1,800 per month level of committed funds. This will care for all running expenses and interest on our building debt.”
(Appeal Letter, dated June 8, 1964; signed by J. R. Chapman).
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