Columbia Bible College

CBC holds fall ceremony for 2021 grads

Columbia Bible College students were finally able to celebrate their 2021 graduation in September. Graduates included the first class of health-care assistants. (Columbia Bible College photo)

Graduates filed into the Columbia Bible College chapel to receive their diplomas Sept. 18, five months after completing the 2020-2021 academic year. Commencement had been delayed from the spring due to the pandemic. All 2021 graduates had been invited to return to campus for the event, with one-third attending in person. The ceremony was also livestreamed.

‘Making plans, but holding them lightly’

Masks and distanced desks are two of the changes students at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C., have had to adjust to this past year. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

As the academic year draws to a close, students and staff at Columbia Bible College are reflecting on how the college has successfully navigated offering in-person learning despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These have included reduced class sizes, mask fatigue, teaching behind plexiglass, and keeping resident and commuter students apart.

CBC navigates fall class restart 

Staff member Tina Richardson, left, checks in with CBC President Bryan Born prior to attending chapel service. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Life at Columbia Bible College (CBC) looks quite different than it did back in mid-March, when classes suddenly ended and students were sent home due to COVID-19. After six months of inactivity, CBC has reopened for in-person classes. Staff were busy over the summer preparing the campus for a safe return, balancing residence life, instructional space, and general community living.

‘A different kind of ministry’

After 20 years as lead pastor of Level Ground Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., Karen Heidebrecht Thiessen has begun as dean of students at Columbia Bible College. (Columbia Bible College photo)

A longtime B.C. pastor and church leader is making a transition to a different kind of ministry.

After 30 years as a pastor, most recently of Level Ground Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, Karen Heidebrecht Thiessen began a new career chapter on Aug. 1 as dean of students at Columbia Bible College.

Let’s go on an adventure!

Columbia Bible College student Claire Dueck, right, and new best friend Sarah Trentalance. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, 2019 recipient of a tuition bursary from Mennonite Church Alberta, given to any student attending a regional church congregation who has successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, third from left, and new friends, from left to right, Sarah Trentalance, Julia Derksen, Trever Renshaw and Zach Kitchener from the Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Group photo of Columbia Bible College’s 2019 Christmas banquet-2019. Claire Dueck is pictured fourth from left in the back row. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Every year Mennonite Church Alberta offers education bursaries to students who attend a regional-church congregation who have successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. In 2019, Claire Dueck, a member of Lethbridge Mennonite Church, was one of eight recipients.

CBC graduates class online

Ken Esau, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Bible College, blows a ram’s horn as he addresses the graduating class on what it means to seek first God’s kingdom. (Screen grab of Columbia Bible College 2020 commencement ceremony (YouTube))

Graduation for Columbia Bible College’s class of 2020 looked a little different this year. Rather than proudly walking across the stage in cap and gown to receive their diplomas, the graduates took part in a virtual online commencement ceremony on April 18. The college had dismissed classes earlier in the year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Reclaiming the value of health-care assistants

Brenda Klassen, a health-care assistant, helps Carolyn Grove-Seely, a resident of Menno Place. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

Brenda Klassen, a health-care assistant, greets Irv Rempel, a resident of Menno Place. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

Health-care assistant Frank Bond helps resident Esther Unrau with her walking. (Photo by Rebekah Bielefeld)

The head of a Columbia Bible College diploma program is seeking to prove the value of health-care assistants and help raise up a new generation of them in B.C.

The eight-month program is starting this month and is provincially recognized. According to the Abbotsford college, it will follow an approved curriculum for training and will integrate a Christian perspective.

Columbia renames diploma and degree human services programs

ABBOTSFORD, B.C.—Students in Columbia Bible College’s two-year program will now graduate with a diploma in human services and students in the degree program will earn a bachelor’s degree in counselling and human services. The new names are intended to better reflect the goals of each program, using current marketplace terminology. Darrin Derksen, counselling program director at Columbia, points to the natural fit between Columbia’s existing caregiving and counselling programs and human services.

Columbia announces a new diploma in social entrepreneurship

ABBOTSFORD, B.C.—Columbia Bible College launched its newest academic program in September: the diploma in social entrepreneurship. This two-year program brings together Christian faith-formation classes and a series of foundational business courses, with the goal of equipping students with the passion, entrepreneurial spirit and marketplace skills to make a positive impact within society.

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