Columbia Bible College is proof that “where there is a vision, people will support,” said president emeritus Wally Unger at an Oct. 22 banquet to celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary. As part of that vision, Columbia’s faculty “didn’t teach students for information,” he said, “we taught them for transformation.”
At the banquet, attended by 485 guests, alumni from each decade stood up and were recognized in turn, including a representative from the 1930s. The dinner capped a day-long program of events, including a tour of the new residence hall that was built with enhanced safety and community in mind.
Alumni came from all over B.C., Alberta and elsewhere.
Rudy Baerg, who retired after a 30-year term as Columbia’s music director, came back from a new posting in Ukraine to lead the alumni choir.
Unger, the keynote speaker, thanked college supporters, faculty, and alumni “for letting me serve you” for more than 40 years, many of them as president. He offered four guideposts to keep the school on track for the future:
- Continue to keep the Bible central, stressing biblical literacy in an era of resurgent atheism.
- Maintain and teach ethical integrity, wedding theology to ethics in how students and graduates live and act as Christians, in order to stay distinctive in a secular society.
- Give priority to doctrinal faithfulness, grounding teaching on biblical principles, and remembering balance to ensure doctrines of sin and heaven and hell aren’t lost.\
- Remain culturally relevant. Christians must understand their culture and relate to it, he said, “but do so while we also guard our Christian values.”