God's Faithfulness on Campus

Elise Arsenault | Reporter 

When the Crown Team gathered to discern what should be on this month’s front page, we kept coming up dry. Though the articles at hand were meaningful and interesting, we found no consensus on which headline should be the first.

Then, with an unnervingly slim amount of time left before publication, an idea came. Though it’s an exciting one, the hope is that it’s not news, per se.

Jesus has been moving on our campus! Throughout uncertain, insecure, and wholly tragic times this year, he’s been making himself known in powerful ways. Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony.” Just as we are set free through Christ’s blood, we can experience freedom by spreading word of God’s faithfulness.

It is with this truth in mind, that we’ve asked students and faculty to share times they’ve seen the Spirit move on campus this year. Our hope is that these words would encourage you and kindle nostalgic conversations by the mailboxes, in the faculty lounge, and around dorm-dinner tables. Unearth your own stories, and share them knowing that God delights in retrospection — and he’s stoked to prove himself faithful.

“What I’ve noticed with Redeemer is how incredible the students are, and how incredibly God works through them. I once read a book called ‘The Trellis and the Vine’ by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. It explains that all ministry needs structure to grow. The staff and faculty form Redeemer’s Trellis, creating a structure for students to grow spiritually — like a vine. A vine will never grow greater than its trellis unless God is radically at work. Some call this idea a ‘revivalRedeemer's students are outgrowing the trellis, and through the students being faithful to His call, He’s starting a sort of ‘revival’ — where instead of waiting for the trellis to be built, He’s inspiring students to grow the school’s vine and worry about the trellis later. An example of this is Church in the Box. The initiative came from a simple idea to start meeting once a month in the Black Box, and it’s now a city-wide event attended by people from all traditions, both inside and outside of the school. It will not surprise me when other student-led programs follow in this way.” — Jonathan DuHamel

“The way I’ve seen God the most this year has been through people — plain and simple. My dorm was a combination of left-over second-year girls, which seemed so random at first. Now I know it was a complete God-thing, since we were meant to meet. It was that way with so many people this year — I know I was meant to hear their story. It must be because of God.” — Maggie DeBruyn

“God has been working on campus this year in some real and powerful ways. I think specifically of our worship night, where it was encouraged to break off into groups for communal prayer. So much prayer went into that service, and we had no idea if it would be received well at all. But when I was able to look out over the auditorium and see groups of people spread all around the room in prayer with each other, some crying, some laying hands on others, I couldn’t help but sense the Spirit being overwhelmingly present in the room. He had bigger plans for that night and for this campus than we could ever attempt to plan or implement. I have continued to grow deeper in love with God since that night, but I have also seen how other’s lives have been changed because the Spirit was present. That image of our community gathering together in prayer, sharing our joys and our tears, was an image of God’s kingdom.” — Janelle Sennema

“Being at Redeemer has shown me the darkness of this world by seeing the light wash it away. I’ve seen this in the way God has been working through people devoted to him. This world is empty and I have been so clearly shown the fulfilment that a life lived radically for God can give. He’s showing me I can’t do that on my own strength. I fail daily, and will continue to fail, but He shows me the way again. But a day lived in His arms is a triumphant celebration and leaning fully on him is the only way for us to be the real deal. Being at Redeemer has shown me what true radical living looks like, and that I can’t do it on my own.” — Anonymous

“It has been so life-giving to connect with students this past year. From those who have dropped in to the office to share a moment, to those quick hallway chats, to the scheduled one-on-one conversations, my life has been enriched by seeing God in your lives. There was one week earlier this semester that I was feeling particularly weary in spirit. But as I walked down the hallway to leave that day, several students simply said ‘Hi Deb.’ It lightened my soul and made my heart glad. I thank God for revealing himself through many here at Redeemer." — Deb Roberts

“One of the main ways I have seen the Spirit working this year (especially this semester) is by people praying around, with, and for each other. I have been learning so much about the power of prayer and how incredibly blessed we are to find ourselves in an environment that not only doesn't look down on communal prayer but actually encourages it. One of my favourite parts of this semester has been this extra time that has been planned to gather and just spend time in worship. By having these opportunities where we set apart time to spend with the Lord together and truly focus on Him, He has so many blessings to give those who seek Him and dwell in His presence. The Worship Night the CITB put on back in March was an incredible time for me personally but also to see the Spirit moving throughout the whole community. Anyone at the service was unable to deny the presence of the Lord, and the opportunity to pray for others and have others pray over me was so healing, refreshing, and encouraging. From my little bench behind the piano, I love seeing the Spirit move through people praying over each other and seeing God soften people's hearts and call them to rest in His presence. It's incredible to see the freedom that can be found in true worship and to experience His presence through music. If this is just a glimpse of what is to come, then keep it coming, Jesus!” — Lauren Tamming

 “We’ve been talking about how worship is not just about music, but about worshipping God in our daily lives — in everything we do. More conversations in the halls have been about God. You’ll mention something you’ve read, and suddenly you’re having a heart-to-heart conversation over lunch. It’s become more comfortable. I feel like the organized worship events help to re-centre yourself and get focused on God again — but then it’s about your daily life reflecting the godly stuff too. That’s been really big for our group of friends.”

 “We’ve been meeting for five weeks, going through this video series by Jeff Bethke. On top of that, we were reading 1 Thessalonians, and then we’ll go on to the next book in the New Testament. We’ll highlight what sticks out to us and talk about it.”

“There were ten of us last week, and we spoke for two and a half hours. It was awesome! Every verse took forever to go through, because we all had so much to share. We all challenged each other, and went deep with what we read.”

“We’ve grown more comfortable praying out loud and for others. We’ve been practicing and encouraging each other that way. Though prayer can be personal, something more happens when you pray with others — like that verse about ‘where two or three gathered, [God is] there among them’ — we’ve felt just that.” 

— A group of 1st year students during their Bible study

Redeemer to Test Online Course Evaluations in April

Dr. Ben Faber

Students in about a quarter of Redeemer’s courses will be asked to complete their course evaluations online this semester. Instead of filling in the Scantron cards, scribbling a quick comment, and collecting the results in a big brown envelop, students in selected courses will be doing their end-of-term course surveys electronically.

In courses selected for the trial, students will use their regular Redeemer log-in credentials to access a secure webpage. From a drop-down list of participating professors, students will choose the instructor and then the course for which they are completing the evaluation. Then they will select responses to the questions and write comments as they normally would — with a click of the mouse and keystrokes rather than with pencil on Scantron cards. Students can review their responses and revise what they have written in each comment box before clicking “Submit. 

Everything else about the student evaluations remains the same. The questions on the online survey are the same as on the pen-and-paper version. Your responses are kept completely confidential; your name is not included on any information that is passed on to your professor and to his or her dean. The results are not shared with your professor until after the final grades have been submitted. These results will be used for year-end evaluations for your professors and their supervisors, that is, Prof. Spyksma and Prof. Van Weelden. Your evaluations will continue to shape their professional development and the delivery of their courses.

The only difference is the medium. 

Studies done by universities that use online course evaluations reveal that the rate of student participation is generally lower than the rates for pen-and-paper evaluations. The same studies also indicate that, although the number of respondents is lower, the results are statistically the same. In fact, students tend to spend more time with the survey and write more thoughtful, constructive comments when they complete evaluations online.

 The system will check for anomalies, such as an evaluation from a student not enrolled in the course or multiple evaluations from the same student for the same course. These anomalies will be removed to ensure the results are reliable.

When we do the trial run with a limited number of courses this April, professors will still allow students 10-15 minutes of class time to log on, answer the questions, and submit the survey. The online evaluations will remain accessible for a 10-day period, automatically closing at midnight before the first day of final exams. Students will be reminded to complete the online evaluations through Dash and in class in the final week of the term. If this trial run works well, we will consider switching entirely to online student evaluations for the Fall 2016 term. If the test run bombs, then we will return to the Flintstone method of chisel on stone tablet.

Humans of Redeemer

Elise Arsenault | Reporter 

In 2010, a man by the name of Brandon Stanton began a photographic project in New York City that would grow to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and photoblog boasting over 15 million followers worldwide.

Initially, Stanton set out to create what he calls “an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants,” comprised of 10,000 photos plotted across a city map. The concept took on a different form, however, as he began collecting pieces of conversation had with those he photographed. Photo captions would soon become as vital as the shots themselves, and, together, make for a captivating stream of stories he entitles, “Humans of New York.”

This year, the Crown seeks to mimic Stanton’s idea on campus by asking thoughtful questions and taking candid photos of students, staff and faculty included in each issue.

 We know that stories are powerful, so the goal here is to further uncover our own. Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, share the word of our testimony and give glory to God in every season. This column is simply another means to do so, and remind ourselves that our King, Jesus, is the ultimate author and finisher of our faith.

"Choose someone you know at Redeemer. What do you appreciate about them?"

Lauren Vandenberg. I love that she puts others before herself. She shows God’s love wherever she goes and is a great listener, especially for friends who are going through a hard time. She has a heart of gold.

Tony Ramuscak is such a great friend.I look forward to my daily hugs from him, knowing he’ll always make me laugh!


Kim Lammers — our Registrar and a friend of mine. She is doing a fantastic job with very limited resources, and trying very hard to find the best plan for every student. She has a phenomenal memory and knows practically every student here, while maintaining a good relationship with faculty. I think people don’t realize how amazing she is at her job. She’s devoted to Redeemer, and has a fun personality. We sometimes go out to dinner and movies together.


Erica Doors is my H.A., and an amazing listener. She’s always there for you no matter what.


Someone I love at Redeemer is Leah Collett.  All I can think when I see her is ‘gift’. I love how her eyes light up when she talks about God's love, and her seeking and trusting heart. I love how we jump over the cliff of uncertainty together and fall into God's grace. I'm thankful for her in my life, and how God has used her in it.


Somebody I really admire is Chris Teeuwsen. He is an incredibly gifted musician and so passionate about his job.


Natasha Van Gurp has such a passion for keeping the fire for God alive on this campus, which is a goal of mine. She loves the community at Redeemer, like we all should! I've heard from people of different ages that she’s an awesome person and RA— and I’ll strive to have those relationships next year when I become an RA. She’s always down to spontaneously hop onto your intramural soccer team. So yeah, Natasha's cool I guess.


Elizabeth Lipsy is incredible, and so compassionate. She has a beautiful smile, and the best laugh. Oh! And I love her American accent — she says ‘out’ in the funniest way. Make sure you put that in there!

Interview with Dr. Nazir

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter

1.      You lived in the Caribbean before coming to Canada. Could you tell us some of the significant or unique cultural differences between the places you have lived?

“Trinidad is a land of stark contrast within itself and with Canada. It would take a cultural anthropologist to fully explain the differences between both places. But here are some differences I have noticed that your readership might find interesting:

·       “Trinidad is a tropical paradise with beautiful sandy beaches, bright sunshine and tropical rain forests teeming with life. There is NO snow and it is NEVER cold. As a result life is much more outdoors. Many homes have large open windows that blur the lines between inside and outside and ‘outdoor rooms’ where life mostly happens. Living closely in and with the natural world is one of the things I miss most here in Canada. Especially in the winter time, I dream of masses of green growing things and life unbound and abundant springing out from every nook and cranny.

·       “Because it is a tiny island, Trinidad is a place of few secrets. Any where you go someone is sure to recognise you or at least know someone in your family. By the time you get home, it is very likely that the people you live with will already know where you have been and what you have been up to everyday.

·       “Life in Trinidad is underpinned by a different worldview and sociocultural moors. The people are driven by a different creative energy — more intuitive and imaginative rather than logical or rational. This has led to the development of several unique art forms like carnival, soca music, chutney music and steel pan. Being with others, also called “liming”, is an important aspect of life. When you lime, you just sit with others eating, drinking, gossiping, telling jokes or literally just watching life pass by.


·       “Because of its history, Trinidad is strange mix of people of different ethnicities and religions. Moreover there is a surprising lack of friction because of this. Many families are mixed. I come from a family of Christian, Hindu and Muslim members. I think an important part of the harmony that exists is because people take things very lightly in general. A common Trini saying is, ‘Don’t take it on’, meaning that people shouldn’t hold on to problems but let them go.”


2.      At Redeemer you are teaching courses on Science, Math, and Education and your previous experiences include research in Outdoor Environmental Education and studying Botany at University of the West Indies, St. Augustine! What inspired you to pursue these particular fields of study? Have you always been interested in these fields?

“My life, especially my educational journey, has been led by the Holy Spirit. My parents were not highly educated or of a high social class. My father was a labourer on a sugar cane estate and my mother a housewife. While they were very interested in ensuring their children were educated, they could offer very little guidance regarding the choices that were required. As a result, I took whatever opportunities were offered to me and did the subjects that I thought were most interesting to me. Personally, I never had a life plan or grand design, or any clue what I would do next. I now see that all those ‘choices’ were really part of a larger Purpose and God’s plan for my life.”


3.      You’ve contributed to journals such as the Canadian Journal for Science Mathematics and Technology Education, the International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, as well as the book Encyclopedia of Science Education. What has been your favourite publication thus far and what about that topic excites you?

“I am very proud ofall my publications, but if I had to pick the most special it would be my co-authored article in Science Education entitled ‘Currents in STSE Education: Mapping a Complex Field, 40 years on’. This was my first academic journal publication and a significant achievement for any graduate student. I wrote it with my doctoral thesis supervisor Dr. Erminia Pedretti, who has also been a mentor and wonderful influence in my life.

“The article incorporates many of the ideas I had been ruminating over during my years of science teaching, regarding the idea that science teaching should go beyond teaching the ‘content’ of science to exposing its philosophical, social, cultural and political interactions in society and its real influences on peoples’ lives. Dr. Pedretti worked with me to articulate various approaches teachers can take in doing this in elementary and secondary classrooms.

“STSE is a topic that continues to interest me because I believe it presents a vision for science education that can keep students interested and motivated to learn science in a time when we know science interest is waning. The article was published in 2011 and continues to be of interest to other scholars and educators as evidenced by its relatively good citation record publically available on Google Scholar.”


4.      What do you find the most challenging when it comes to teaching? What do you find to be the greatest gift?

“For me, the most difficult thing about teaching is dealing with students who don’t have an intrinsic motivation to learn. This is particularly discouraging to me because I have always loved learning and school. I never just went to get a certificate, to get through a program, to get a better job or please anyone. So it really distresses me when I meet students who are not interested in the same way, and it hurts me to have to guilt and push others into learning. My response is mostly to try my best to make courses or subjects I teach as relevant and as fun as possible for students.

“On the flip side, by far the greatest reward of teaching is to see students, years later, living successful, happy lives, having achieved something directly related to the subjects/courses I taught them. It is also really pleasant, when after they have finished their education, students see me out in the world, and come up and talk to me and tell me about themselves and what they are doing, instead of hiding behind something or pretending they did not see me.”


5.      What is something about you that might surprise people?

“I don’t know if there is anything about me that is really surprising. I try to be as honest and genuine with people I interact with, to the extent that sometimes I wonder if I should really say some of the things I say out loud. Still, here are three things that some people may find quirky:

·       “I really love food and eating. I especially like food that is spicy and colourful, fun to look at and fun to eat. I love watching food programs to get new recipe ideas.

·       “Although I am supposed to be a “sciency-mathy” person, I am a secret admirer of those who are artistically and creatively inclined. I am a secret colourer who finds Colouring Books quite therapeutic.

·       “I am a great fantasy fiction fan. Some of my all favorite authors are Ursula Le Guin, C.S. Lewis, J.K Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien. Even now, if I have extra time for recreational reading my go-to section in any library or bookstore is the fantasy fiction section.”


6.      If you could meet someone famous (from the past or present) for coffee and conversation who would you meet and why?

“I am not a fan of famous people. The few I have met have been a great disappointment because they are selfish or full of hubris or surprisingly insecure. I really enjoy talking to common people, those who are often referred to as ‘the salt of the earth’. Often they present you with experiential insights that can be delightfully funny, refreshing, and wise.”



Living a Full Life

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter 

Reclaiming my Life from an Eating Disorder

When I first discovered that I had an eating disorder, I had few words to describe exactly what I was experiencing and how profoundly it was affecting my life. I knew something was wrong; my health was declining, my ability to be around friends became a struggle, my relationship with my parents grew increasingly hostile, and my relationship with myself was one of intense competition, self-deprecation, and inconsolable loneliness. My relationship with food, unsurprising to me now, mimicked these feelings.

By not nourishing myself, I was sending myself the message that I was unworthy of living a full and happy life. I tried desperately to control my life by controlling what was on my plate. I equated food to failure. If I ate, I believed that I lacked self-control, that I was pathetic, and that there was nothing special about me. I believed that having an eating disorder meant that I had a purpose. What is particularly insidious about eating disorders is that they promise a life of meaning while slowly draining the life from those they affect.

The negative mantras of not feeling good enough, attractive enough, smart enough, or successful enough are ones that eating disorders take severe advantage of. For those unfamiliar with eating disorders, it is confusing why the person struggling does not just go eat. That way of thinking is similar to telling someone with depression to just not be sad. The complexities and nuances of mental illnesses require holistic approaches that take all aspects of a person’s life into consideration. Once I learned that eating disorders weren’t only about food, I began to look at my life in a different way.

I came to realize that the eating disorder was an external way for me to cope with anxiety and fears I did not know how to face. I was using food and body image as an external means of finding comfort. I eventually came to acknowledge that the eating disorder served a purpose in my life, but it no longer served me. It kept me on the periphery of experiences and prevented me authentically connecting with myself and the world around me. I clung to the eating disorder for fear that I would disappoint myself and others. I now realize that it is okay to have these fears; they are what make me human.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I found a treatment facility where I learned meaningful, healthy ways of overcoming the disorder. Those in my health care team are some of the most incredible individuals I have connected with on my journey. Because of them, and the work I continue to do, my previous shortage of words to talk about eating disorders has turned into nothing short of a dictionary as I fight hard to gain understanding and to reclaim my life.

Early on in my treatment, I remember wanting desperately to overcome the disorder so that I could put it behind me, never to look back on it again. I now believe that recovering from an eating disorder has made me a much more grounded, empathetic, and authentic person. I have always possessed a great capacity to love and care for others, and I now have the opportunity to give that same compassion to myself as well.

In anticipation of Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) which runs from February 1st-7th, the Crown has placed posters from The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) around the Redeemer campus. The posters read, “Eating Disorders Are As Diverse As The People They Affect”, a message I believe is of deep significance.

Eating disorders manifest in different ways and affect many different people. Not all those who suffer from an eating disorder have physical indicators of their struggle. Eating disorders live and thrive in secrecy; the more awareness and conversations we can have about this illness, the more we can dispel its power and help those who are struggling.

For those who are new to eating disorders and their impact on those they affect, I would encourage you to ask questions, start compassionate conversations, and send support to those impacted by the illness. If you are someone battling an eating disorder I want to tell you that you are not alone in your struggle, and that you are worthy of love and of living a full life. Recovery is possible. Loving who you are is possible. This process begins with asking for help. Seeking support reveals incredible strength and I encourage you to reach out for this help.

I have now come to a place where the disorder does not rule my life. It certainly still peeks its head out when I’m trying to order a meal, when people talk negatively about their relationship with food or their bodies, or when someone innocently asks me what I’ve packed for lunch today. But it doesn’t dictate my life or prevent me from living it. Recovery is an active process, and I am proud of myself for arriving at a place in my journey where I can openly share that process with you all.

I remember telling someone very dear to me, when I was at a low point in my recovery, “When I look in the mirror, I don’t like what I see.” She responded with utmost sincerity, “Rebekka, when you love your life, you will love what you see.” As I continue to align with wellness and recovery, I am beginning to see exactly what she meant. 


Humans of Redeemer

Elise Arsenault | Reporter 

"Tell me about a time you saw prayer answered."


“This was during my time in England, with YWAM (Youth With a Mission). It could be a coincidence, but I like to think of it as a God moment. I knew this man who worked in a retail store, he was a cool ginger guy. They weren’t meeting the mark they needed to because they were low on business. We’d go to this place pretty regularly, and pray for him all the time, so I prayed for his store. When I came back a week later, he’d hit twice as much in terms of revenue.

            So the guy was like, ‘You need to be here more often!”’





            “It’s a long, convoluted story, but basically, it is this. There was a student from Calvin College in her final year, training as a music teacher. Before starting her practicum to go into the Michigan schools, she had to write a multiple choice competency exam covering a multitude of areas — not just music.

            She tried these tests, but she failed them, which meant she couldn’t do the practicum, which meant she might not be able to finish her degree at Calvin. So, she contacted me, saying ‘I’ll try it one more time, but if I don’t make it, is there a possibility of finishing my degree at Redeemer?’

            I told her we could certainly talk about that, but to focus on passing these tests first. I said I’d pray for her. And, she passed! She was saved from a whole bureaucratic snafu!”





            “When I first came to Redeemer, for whatever reason my OSAP came in really late and evaluated me really low. It was a month before school was supposed to start, so I wasn’t going to be able to be here. I was really distraught, and didn’t know what to do, so I just kept praying about it. And then — literally a week before school started — they reevaluated me on a whim, and gave me exactly what I needed to be here! So that was kind of fun, and stressful.”





            “My dad was a Pastor in the States during the recession there, and we had to leave because the Church was unable to support my family. We moved back to Canada, and my parents were confident that God would provide a Church for my dad to pastor soon. Doors kept closing, though, so we ended up moving in with my grandparents while my parents worked minimum-wage jobs to keep providing.

            My parents didn’t stop praying for a year, hoping in God, and my Dad just kept applying. He’d preach at churches for the weekend, but there weren’t any long-term opportunities. They felt a lot of stress, and since my grandparents were fostering three kids, there were ten of us in one house. Then, at the end of the summer, my dad got three or four job offers from different churches, all at once! It was amazing. God’s timing may be different from our own, but he will always provide.”





            “When I came to Canada almost four years ago, the culture shock was so grave that I responded with a neurological breakdown. My body began twitching semi-voluntarily, so we went to the doctors and they diagnosed me with all these weird neurological conditions — it was a very confusing time, because I was under a lot of pressure. My parents were on a honeymoon at the time and were very worried about me.

            When they came back, my mom asked her friends and my church back in the Dominican to pray for me. The doctor said that my symptoms would go on for a year, but a few days after that, my mom said ‘You’re going off medication, God is going to heal you’ and then — with all the prayers from my church and friends — I was healed. I had a realization that God was with me, and that he had healed me.”





            “When I went to Scotland to study, I didn’t know a soul. So all summer I was trying to figure out where I was going to live, and somehow made a connection online with a Christian guy who was looking for a roommate, so we arranged to live together.

            I had never met him before, so I was expecting to have to find my own way to the apartment and everything. I also needed a bed since the apartments didn’t come furnished, and my only transportation was a bus! So I prayed about it.

            Then, the day before I came, my flatmate was like ‘Hey, do you want me to pick you up from the airport?’ and he didn’t even own a car. He got a friend to come with him, so I knew he was pulling favours to get me there, which was amazing.

            Then, that same day, he got a different friend to come with his car and take me to Ikea. We were able to fit a mattress and bed frame into the tiniest car. So here’s this guy I’d never met before, taking three hours out of his day to help me get a bed (from then on, I called him Ikea Andy!). He thought it was the tiniest act of kindness, but it was my first day in a foreign country, and I had a very practical need — so that was huge.”





            “One time at YWAM, my team was short about $4000 two weeks before our outreach in China and Thailand. My co-leader and I were freaking out a little bit, and unsure of what to do. We were cutting budgets, planning to eat really simply, and counting on enough money to come in for us to go.

            Then anonymous donors started giving us checks fulfilling exact amounts. We saw the gap become smaller. People started to find cash on their beds — hundreds of dollars — from random people! A few staff members decided to help out anonymously, and one family paid a huge amount. We ended up with $500-$600 extra for the trip! We were then able to give more generously on our outreach. It was incredible.”





            “God has always been faithful to my family and marriage. My husband used to be a Muslim, and then he was born again. My father-in-law became a Christian too — just before he died. That is a testimony for me.

            This is how it happened. My husband and I were in England on holiday, and his father was sick. My husband was so bothered, asking: ’is this man going to die unbelieving?’ But God came through. Of course, it took a lot of prayer and intercession, but without anybody putting any pressure on him, he asked for his wife’s pastor to come over. And with joy, he came and shared the Word with my father-in-law. He gave his heart to Christ, and not long after, he died. We didn’t mourn like those who do not have hope. We were sad because he was no longer with us, but we were glad inside because we knew his destination. That was a big miracle for us — and it still is a miracle. Salvation is always a miracle.”

Remembering Bethany Sider


On the morning of Tuesday, January 12th, Redeemer Student Bethany Sider was involved in a very serious car accident near Cayuga. Bethany had had a brain aneurysm while driving, resulting in the collision.

She had extensive emergency surgery that afternoon at the hospital, then entered a medically induced coma as doctors monitored her condition.

On Friday, January 15th, the Redeemer community was notified that doctors had done all they could to better Bethany’s condition, and she died later that evening.

Bethany’s parents have expressed deep gratitude for every prayer, card, and blessing given so freely to their family, affirming that this campus has been another home to her.

Dr. Christina Belcher and her Education 306 class gathered this past Monday to remember Bethany’s sweet spirit and compile their memories into a humble tribute for her. The Crown is incredibly grateful to share this special keepsake with you.

 Dr. Christina Belcher

This week we lost a shining light in our classroom community. Like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples produced were representative of the many, many ways in which Bethany was a blessing to us all. Our class, Education 306, spent some time on Monday sharing our wonderful memories of Bethany. In doing so, our voices speak of the beautiful person she will always be in our memories and our hearts.

One of our community, Stephanie, put this on Bethany’s Facebook page this past week, just after learning of Bethany’s accident. It represented Bethany so well:

“On Monday I watched as you spoke in Ed class. The words you spoke with such care and concern, but yet with so much open mindedness. I was astounded. Then I was distracted by your beautiful ponytail, but my mind quickly wandered to how beautiful your soul is and how blessed those students are going to be to have you as their teacher. A teacher who will pray fervently on their behalf and care so deeply for their hearts. I am sure Dr. Belcher will forgive my wandering thoughts...because my next thought was about the amazing journey each of those students will have because you encouraged them to dream, to think and to love, to pray. Praying for you and your family!”

Today in class, Jasmine and Brooke spoke of Bethany’s constant smile and her kindness to everyone.  Jasmine said, "I loved how Christ's love shone through everything that she did and it was all for His glory." Jessica noted that Bethany always put people at ease with her transparency, authenticity, and welcoming manner.

As one of her close friends Elizabeth said, “Anyone who knew Beth can just easily imagine her spilling over with joy and literally prancing her way to her Saviour and Father… She didn't just touch all our lives, she dove head first into them with so much abandon and love and compassion, such a reflection of Christ.”

Catherine saw the love of Jesus in her life, and in her hospitable way of engaging conversation with everyone. Bethany saw everyone as a friend. Adrianna reflected upon her passion for the French language, and her ability to go to France and live her dreams. She was passionate and all heart. There was nothing superficial about her. As Stephanie noted in her post above, Bethany challenged us all to dream big. As Curtiss put it, she saw the good in everyone and was hospitable to all.

Josh de Schiffert summed her up as being a refreshing presence, while Josh Elgeti appreciated the fact that she was always happy.  Patrick reminded us that she was always personable, but even more, she always said your name, and greeted you with an authentic word of interest, not just a hello. As Emily put it — Bethany really cared. Tracey, who had been on a recent placement in the same school, described her as a natural teacher who was passionate about her students and her teaching. Michelle found her to be a compassionate traveller who understood loss, and offered comfort with an invitation to listen and to be available.

This was our Bethany.

I remember her spontaneous hug one day when she was thrilled with what she had learned in class. She was always encouraging, always a person of deep faith, and always an inspiration to us all. She made us think. She made us laugh. And now she made us cry. But she will never be lost.

Galatians 5:6 says “So, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight, and we are confident and satisfied to be out of the body and at home with the Lord.”

You can only be lost if no one knows where you are, and we know where Bethany is. She will live on with her Lord and Saviour, and forever dwell in our memories.

Thank you for being a pebble in our pond, Bethany. You have left us with more ripples than you could ever know, and we will live our lives in a richer way for knowing you.


Bethany Sider’s Funeral and Visitation Information

Friends will be received for Visitation at Jubilee Community Church, 7869 Highway 3 (corner of Jarden Road and Hwy 3 – a.k.a. Dunnville Road on GPS), Dunnville on Thursday, January 21st from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.

The funeral service will be held at Wainfleet Brethren In Christ Church, (corner of Perry Road and Hwy 3) on Friday, January 22nd at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow.

Donations in Bethany's memory to Jubilee Community Church would be gratefully received.

A Book of Memories for Bethany is at the front reception desk for anyone wanting to include a favourite memory.

If you are willing to drive others or are looking for rides to the visitation or funeral, please make a note on the Ride Board on Dash.

“Look to the Lord and His strength; Seek His face always.”

(Psalm 105:4)

2020 Vision - Redeemer's Strategic Plan

Elise Arsenault | Reporter  

Why Faith and Learning Cannot be Separated

At the beginning of January, ten prospective students traveled impressive distances to visit Redeemer’s campus. My dorm was to host three girls from British Columbia for three nights, and boy were we ever eager to meet them. We’d had visitors before of course, but not from so far a distance, or for so long a visit.

When Emma, Olivia and Megs arrived, we tried to be mindful of their jet-lag, their entry into a totally new environment, and the way our smiles grew creepily chipper if prolonged. After dorm dinner questions, province comparisons, and that evening’s Hot Spot, however, our exchanges grew genuine.

I knew they would soon swell with questions about dorm life, academics, clubs, and guy-to-girl-ratios. I knew that I could respond with personal insight, sincere interest, and a joke or two about Dutch roots and marriage proposals. What I couldn’t have anticipated, however, was the pride with which I would talk about my school. A giddiness crept into my spirit when I cracked open my journal, turned to entries from my first year, and read bits of my experience — starting with a mud pit brawl.

It affirmed to me that I’d grown proud of the many moving parts that make up our school, our vision, and our impact.

Vice President, Marketing and Enrolment Head and History Professor, Dr. David Zietsma also delights in these things. When I met with him earlier this month to discuss the school’s current challenges and future goals, his insight offered much for the RUC body to contemplate, and celebrate.

“My own personal belief,” says Dr. Zietsma, “is that faith and learning can’t be separated.

“The mind is created by God, for God. You can’t say ‘learning happens over here, and faith happens over there,’ because they are so intertwined, and I believe Redeemer’s whole Leadership Team shares in this thinking.”

Then, Dr. Zietsma outlined Redeemer’s latest strategic plan to uphold Christ-centred learning. This initiative seeks to (a) ensure excellence in academic programs, (b) engage Redeemer with external audiences, and (c) ensure the school’s financial sustainability. These parts form a strong, three cord bond — namely — the 2020 Vision. While this article will outline the main goals of each part, a more extensive look at the Strategic Plan can be found in the last issue of Tangents Magazine.

This mission is, in part, a response to challenges effecting Universities across the nation. “We’re in the middle of a significant demographic decline,” Dr. Zietsma explains, “the population of university-aged people drops about 1.5-2% a year, each year.” Moreover, the remainder of the target population is rethinking the purpose of further education. “The cultural view of post-secondary education is becoming more utilitarian — simply about training people for their jobs. It’s not about God’s world, discipleship, or calling. It’s far more specific, and still narrowing in focus.”

Another factor to consider is a change in views of Christian education. “Traditional feeder schools are changing,” says Dr. Zietsma. “Sometimes they may seek to offset enrolment decline through opening enrolment up(?), and therefore fewer of their students might be interested in Christian post-secondary education.” On top of that, he explains: “Our culture is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Christian organizations. This makes accreditation more difficult for us — just look at Trinity Western’s problem with their proposed School of Law.

“As a result, if we want a Bachelor of Social Work, Commerce, or Business Administration, or a Master of Education, it’s more difficult to get. People doubt that it is possible to teach these disciplines from an integrated Christian perspective.”

While these realities do present difficulties, Redeemer’s 2020 Strategic Plan will aim to enhance and sustain what is indispensable.

The first area is aptly focused on academics, and making practical changes to keep programs excellent and relevant. Our revamped Core curriculum marks one of these changes, set to launch this fall. It is made up of 10 interdisciplinary courses designed over nearly two years of research and planning.

The Centre for Christian Scholarship, too, is key to enhancing Redeemer’s academic programs. Faculty are more able to conduct meaningful research and join conversations with other educators, while remaining “unapologetically academic in method, deeply Christian in outlook, and firmly rooted in faith in common life.”

“This is also a benefit for our students,” explains Dr. Zietsma, “since faculty are engaged in research and respected in culture and communities.” Moreover, this presents funding opportunities for faculty to include students in their own work.

The Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers is designed to help students “find their callings more effectively, and mesh the gifts they have through co-op opportunities and internships in every program.”


Redeemer’s Media and Communication Studies Program has already been launched this school year (with a stellar promo video on the interweb), and an intensified Ministry Program is in the works. Dr. Zietsma explains: “Ministry used to be highly reserved for people who went to Seminary to preach off a pulpit, but plenty has changed in the last 10-20 years.”

“Churches have paid positions for Worship Pastors and Small Group Leaders who aren’t necessarily Seminary graduates. Where are they being trained? Shouldn’t Redeemer be a place to discover ‘Drama and Ministry?’ Or ‘Music and Ministry?’”

I think yes.

The plan’s second strand is to “increase our public profile.” This means more intentional use of media, a degree of rebranding, and improving relations with alumni, parents, churches, non-profit organizations, and think tanks.

“Think of organizations like the Canadian Bible Society, World Vision, Cardus, and International Justice Mission,” urges Dr. Zietsma. “We want to be a place where those organizations come to hire their marketers, their graphic designers, their writers, their accountants… their whatever!

“We want them to recognize that the Redeemer Liberal Arts and Sciences grad is a student with deep faith, and a desire to serve God with their education. So we’d like to improve our relations with those groups.”

The final component centres itself on financial sustainability. The first priority is to eliminate budget deficit, by paying back loans originally meant to balance revenue and expenditures. Redeemer’s debt has been reduced by about 9 million dollars over the past four years. Continuing at this rate means reducing interest payments and having a more efficient operating budget, which keeps tuition lower in the hopes of making it more affordable for students.

These three pillars — academic excellence, external relations, and financial sustainability — are not new to Redeemer and its leadership team. The 2020 Strategic Plan is simply a means of zoning in on each one with discernment, intention, and anticipation. They are meant to uphold the good we already have going for us, and tell more people about it.

“As our President, Dr. Krygsman, has said, ‘Our world needs deep Christian hope and wisdom,’” says Dr. Zietsma, “and that is what our graduates offer.

“Graduates who bring Christ-like leadership in politics and economics, reflect love in social justice, are committed to their families, churches and neighbourhoods, teach the next generation of students, and disciple their own children… We want to equip them to continue their transformative impact on the world.

“That’s our vision. That’s the 2020 Vision.

And that’s a vision I’ll gladly relay to my new bright-eyed, British Columbian friends, so that they — and anyone else curious about what makes Redeemer unique — might understand the real and divine tie between faith and learning. The importance of growing in wisdom and knowledge, and the “renewal our minds” through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Redeemer is not perfect, but we do get some things right. My hope is that we’d each find things to be giddy about and things to be prayerful about. When we run after God’s heart for our school, He will provide all the discernment, innovativeness and resources we need. Let us, then, be a body that fervently asks for these things, that we might do Him proud, and move forward with ears to hear and eyes to see. 

Initiating Conversation

Rachel Debruyn

Mental Health on Campus

Last week, the windows along Redeemer’s halls were covered with encouraging words and drawings as part of Redeemers Stress Relief Week. It was the second of two weeks focused on mental health, put on by the Healthcare Club.  

Throughout last week, there was art therapy, yoga, a flu shot information booth, and mental health tips offered in the Commons. Three puppies came to the squash court to meet Redeemer students and helped reduce stress with wagging tails.

The purpose was to get people to think about their own mental health and to offer ways to take care of ones self. Our aim was to raise awareness about what we can do to improve mental health, says John Handal, President of the Healthcare Club. Just talking about it helps reduce the stigma.


 Mental Health Week, which took place from October 5 to 9, offered similar activities. In Chapel and workshops, Redeemer hosted two special guest speakers who shared about their individual experiences living with mental illness. Other opportunities included a nutritionist who talked with people in the hall, window art, and a mental health booth. 

These events are not the only opportunities for students to connect on the subject of mental health; every Monday, the Youth Wellness Centre Mobile Mental Health Network leads a workshop in Room 211.

According to the Redeemer Mental Health Survey sent out last year (the results of which are based on 187 respondents), the main sources of stress for Redeemer students are time, school, and money.

 Stress can have a big impact on mental wellness.

Not all stress is bad, says Karen Cornies, Dean of Students. Some stress is motivational. Its important to identify whether one is experiencing the kind of stress that lessens ones capacity or not.

Mental health has lots of variables. Its important to be self-aware, says Hennie Schoon, Redeemers Community Life Director.

Students should pay attention to what stresses are causing mental unwellness and see if theres a correlation. Schoon says: Use time to observe, and see if there is a cause other than stress.

Students are worrying about having too little time and too many assignments. And although students joke about their debt, it is a big concern for many.

Everyone acts like debt is okay, but we need to deal with this. We arent educated in talking about these things, says alumna Angela Goodwin.

Goodwin who helped found the Healthcare club last year. The club, along with other Redeemer bodies such as the Mental Health Committee, is taking steps to reduce stigma and initiate conversations.

 Goodwin was also behind the Mental Health Survey. The intent was that Redeemer could use the survey to better understand the mental health of its student body.

The survey reported some encouraging information. Students surveyed had good sleeping habits, and compared to international data, incidents of sexual assault were low. Other information was concerning. One third of respondents said that they had self-harmed. Three quarters said that they hide the way they feel from the people in their lives (some or all of the time).

For students facing mental illness, talking about it with others and seeking help can be difficult.

There can be barriers to reaching out for resources. We understand its a struggle to reach out when youre feeling vulnerable, says Cornies. Theres a stigma involved. Its hard to recognize in yourself that you need attention.

Redeemer offers a wide range of resources for students or students who are concerned for a friend. Any member of the Student Life staff Karen, Hennie, or Kait is eager to help and to direct students to a service. Shalem Mental Health Network provides free counselling (on or off campus). The Mobile Mental Health team is available on-campus every Monday. COAST is a 24/7 crisis line.

As students seek mental wellness, its important to remember that it is not isolated. Its about overall well-being, says Handal. People dont know as much about mental health. They put it to the side. They dont always make the connection between physical and mental health.

Well-rounded self-care can be a key component in health. Neglecting any one aspect, such as spiritual, emotional, physical, or mental, can reduce overall health.


Note: If reading this article has raised any concerns for you, or you experienced a response to this information, please reach out to Shalem, the Mobile Mental Health Team, Student Life, or friends and family.


Student Life:

Karen Cornies, ext 4468

Hennie Schoon, ext 4466

Kait Hazzard, ext 4219

MMHT ywcmobile@stjoes.ca

Shalem office@shalemnetwork.org OR 905.528.0353 or 1.866.347.0041

An Interview with Dr. Belcher

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter

Rebekka : Your studies have taken you across the world, from the Institute of Christian Studies in Toronto to Monash University in Australia. What motivated you to study in the places you did and what led you to Redeemer University College?

Dr. Belcher: The most honest answer to that question would be God beckoned and I followed. I could never have arranged any of my life the way it unfolded. After graduation from ICS in Toronto, I met Bev Norsworthy from New Zealand at an international education conference. This serendipitous meeting led to me working in New Zealand teaching worldview, helping to establish a worldview course as part of an education degree, and teaching in the education department. God did wonderful things in New Zealand, personally and professionally.

From there, I met wonderful people, and became involved with teaching at The National Institute for Christian Education (NICE), in Australia through a joint working arrangement with Dr. Doug Blomberg, Dr. Richard Edlin and Dr. Ken Dickens. I am still in frequent contact with my colleagues from down under.  While in Australia, I completed my second Master`s Degree in Education. From there, doors opened at Trinity Western University, which brought me back to Canada. I began my PhD at Monash while here. After that, I found God guiding me to Redeemer. And here I am. I have felt a call to bring themes of wonder, truth, justice and reconciliation within education to the front of conversation. I may not always be successful, but I am always faithful to that purpose.


Rebekka : Much of your research surrounds the topic of worldview; why is this concept of continuing interest to you and what do you hope others might come to understand from it?

Dr. Belcher:  I see worldview as a way of leaning into life. You live life out of belief in God or in something else, so examining how a worldview becomes intentional is important. Having worked in the profession of teaching in different belief systems, I have become convinced that beliefs make a difference in how social and relational aspects of life unfold. Manners, morality, humility and truth will always matter, but they are a choice; a choice emerging from faith in serving and living for something bigger than yourself.


Rebekka : On campus you are known to have Belcher-isms — what exactly constitutes as a Belcher-ism and how did you earn such tendencies?

Dr. Belcher:  To be honest, my students actually coined that term for some of my peculiar ways of having key words linked to culture in the way I teach. Some of my classes ended with ‘sessions in a sentence’ or pithy ways of summarizing content or making things memorable in the long term. I am also a bit of a neologist; I love words and have fun with them, hence my representation of self as being a ‘book-aholic’. Occasionally, students attach that term to the metaphors I use. I think you would need to ask them about what they term a Belcher-ism to be…  I am not always aware of what students think that is!  I only identify the ones they have previously coined! How would you describe such a term?


Rebekka: Off the top of my head, I would consider “ah-ha” and “oh-no” moments to be Belcher-isms. I certainly agree that the term reflects the numerous (and useful!) metaphors you use to help students retain important information.

You have published work in numerous books and journals, do you have any advice for writers and researchers wanting to pursue that path?

Dr. Belcher:  Keep writing. The more you write, the better you get at finding out how you write best to express what matters to you. If you get the chance, do research or partner writing with a mentor. Invite and embrace any opportunity to keep growing in your writing.

Rebekka : What is one unique fact students would never guess about you?

Dr. Belcher: I love walking on ocean beaches and collecting shells. It is always a miracle to think that my eyes may be the first and only to see this one shell that the tide has made visible as it ebbs.

Rebekka : Is there a motto you live by? If so, what might that saying be? 

Dr. Belcher: ‘This too shall pass’ ... I think people need to remember that suffering and difficult times in life are inevitable, but God remains faithful and is with us. I have learned a great deal from difficulty, and consider it a Divine opportunity to know myself better and to become stronger.  Difficulty has a flip side to the coin. It makes small joys even more significant, and reminds me to try to encourage, collaborate and work diligently with and for others. People matter more than things.


Remember to Know

Quinton Mol

Three Things for the Next Three Weeks

The end is in sight. Christmas break seems to be so close, yet so far away. For some of us that means we are desperately awaiting the last of exams so that we can say we at least survived. For others, these last few weeks may have flown by and you ask yourself the question, “Where has the time gone?” And there are probably a few people who are eagerly awaiting the examination period for other reasons.

Regardless of our outlooks on the upcoming weeks, we all have the same hurdle to jump: exams. With a strategic approach and a little bit of luck I am sure that we can all make it through the exam period successfully. The key to being successful quite conveniently can be summarized by one verb: know. In order to make it through exams all you really need to do is to know yourself, know what time it is and continue to know God. Let me explain.

If you have taken PSY 121, you will have probably learned about different styles of learning. Well you don’t even need to have taken this course to know that. To one extent or another I am sure that we have all heard about how some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some people learn via hands-on work. It is that simple and that practical. Know yourself. Understand how you learn best and adjust your studying methods accordingly. Find out what works for you and do it. If all you have to do is read over stuff then read. If you are an auditory learner, record yourself reading your notes and listen to them, or listen to an e-book. If you are a hands-on learner, rewrite your notes — and make sure you have enough paper.

Secondly, know what time it is. Time management is probably the most difficult task of exam weeks. Your schedule is wide open. You seem liberated and free with all this extra time and then BAM – next thing you know your exam is tomorrow and you are stuck cramming. Do not be snared by the trap of time. Treat exam weeks like any other week. Stick to your regular schedule (or establish a regular schedule). Use your would-be class times for studying. Discipline yourself to study well in advance for your exams. Study lots, study long and study hard. But also remember: take a 10-15 minute break every hour/hour-and-a-half. This seems silly but the stats don’t lie. This will help with your memory retention. So set a schedule and set a timer — know the time.

Lastly, know God. I have heard it time and time again how the first thing to go when schedules change is a person’s devotional time to God. But I implore you to “take care lest you forget your God by not keeping his commandments.” (Deut. 8:11) As I wrote back in September’s issue, being a student is one of our main callings here at Redeemer. Exam time is a time to honour God with dedication and devotion. In this intellectually and emotionally trying time you may get worn down. The pressures of life do not cease around exams — if anything they increase.

 Remember: God is your pillar, your refuge and your strength. Do not forget Yahweh in these weeks to come. Stay faithful to Him and do not forget all that God has done for you in the past. That does not mean it will be easy, for “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters” (Ps. 77:19). He will sustain us. His love endures forever and the “LORD will keep your going out and coming from this time forth and forevermore” (Ps. 121:8). The LORD is faithful. Do not forget to trust in Him through these times because we can bring ALL things before God with prayer and we know that God will hear the pleas of his faithful servants.

So go forth and know. Know your learning styles, know your schedule and most importantly, know the faithfulness and fortitude of Jehovah-Jireh. May these things help you for exam preparations and may you be able to come out successful, sustained and a servant. 

Humans of Redeemer

Elise Arsenault | Reporter

In 2010, a man by the name of Brandon Stanton began a photographic project in New York City that would grow to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and photoblog boasting over 15 million followers worldwide.

 Initially, Stanton set out to create what he calls “an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants,” comprised of 10,000 photos plotted across a city map. The concept took on a different form, however, as he began collecting pieces of conversation had with those he photographed. Photo captions would soon become as vital as the shots themselves, and, together, make for a captivating stream of stories he entitles, “Humans of New York.”

 This year, the Crown seeks to mimic Stanton’s idea on campus by asking thoughtful questions and taking candid photos of students, staff and faculty included in each issue.

 We know that stories are powerful, so the goal here is to further uncover our own. Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, share the word of our testimony and give glory to God in every season. This column is simply another means to do so, and remind ourselves that our King, Jesus, is the ultimate author and finisher of our faith.


What’s a big risk you’ve taken?


“I decided to live in Hamilton this past summer only a month or two before the semester ended. It was so last minute, but definitely within God’s favour, because within two weeks I got a job and I found a house — everything lined up! I’d said was going to happen. And it did!”



(Right) “I’d say, doing a bunch of music auditions. For the musical, the choir, Alpha Praise…”

(Left) “Becoming an R.A. without knowing what would happen. That risk was rewarded, though — that’s for sure.”



“I took two years off after high school to do an internship with my church. I knew that’s where God wanted me to be, but everything in me was shouting ‘No, it’s two years off! You’ll be wasting time, and paying money.’ But after going, I don’t regret anything. I was learning to serve the church, God, and had boundaries that helped me to focus.”



“I’d say getting married! Seeing if I could be strong enough to do life with someone, and not let them down… It’s hard! Because all of a sudden, everything you do has ramifications for somebody else. In everything that I do, I have to think about him as well.”



“Well, it’d have to be something in the military — I was in the combat unit for over 25 years. Actually, I think the biggest risk I ever took was retiring from the military to start a new career. The military was so secure, since the pay and the benefits were good, but I left it for real estate. Here I was, thinking about bullets and gunshots, but nah! Retiring at 40 and starting a new career — that was the riskiest.”


“I had a moment where I felt like God was calling me to do social work. I was in denial, saying ‘Oh, I’m an introvert. I can be socially awkward — a socially awkward social worker? That’s going to be ridiculous!’ I had doubts about myself, but God was like, ‘You know what? I’ve got you through this whole journey, just trust me. Follow through.’ And now, after having studied Social Work, had placements, and doing Deedz, I can say that I’m loving it. God knows stuff!”



“I have two in my mind. The first one is swimming. I don’t know how to swim, and the first time I tried, it was to impress my friends. I jumped right into the deep end and almost drowned, but someone saved me.

   “The second one is picking Redeemer. I was deciding between here and Ryerson, and my mom told me to pick Redeemer so I can keep my Christian values. Sometimes I imagine life at Ryerson and, I don’t know, I imagine that everyone there is on his or her own… I like being here, people are friendly.”



(Left) “We once put our cat in the dryer…”

(Right) “Or that time we didn’t grocery shop for two weeks and Hennie yelled at us (and had us over for dinner).”

Humans of Redeemer

Elise Arsenault | Reporter 

In 2010, a man by the name of Brandon Stanton began a photographic project in New York City that would grow to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and photoblog boasting over 15 million followers worldwide.

 Initially, Stanton set out to create what he calls “an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants,” comprised of 10,000 photos plotted across a city map. The concept took on a different form, however, as he began collecting pieces of conversation had with those he photographed. Photo captions would soon become as vital as the shots themselves, and, together, make for a captivating stream of stories he entitles, “Humans of New York.”

This year, the Crown seeks to mimic Stanton’s idea on campus by asking thoughtful questions and taking candid photos of students, staff and faculty included in each issue.

 We know that stories are powerful, so the goal here is to further uncover our own. Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, share the word of our testimony and give glory to God in every season. This column is simply another means to do so, and remind ourselves that our King, Jesus, is the ultimate author and finisher of our faith.


What is something that you're thankful for this year?

“For the ability to choose. I was standing in line the other day thinking: ‘I’m hungry, do I want something salty or chocolaty?’ Whereas people all over the world are thinking: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have food, I’ll eat it’. I’m thankful for living in a country wealthy enough that we can choose.” 

“For the ability to choose. I was standing in line the other day thinking: ‘I’m hungry, do I want something salty or chocolaty?’ Whereas people all over the world are thinking: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have food, I’ll eat it’. I’m thankful for living in a country wealthy enough that we can choose.” 

“There was a moment this year when I felt completely lost; I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or what the next step in my life was going to be. I found that I needed to surrender to God in that moment, and found so much clarity and peace. There are moments where God just kind of knocks you off of your feet and says ‘You know what? You need to slow down. You need to listen to what I have to say.’ It transforms things completely, and I’m grateful for that!”

“There was a moment this year when I felt completely lost; I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or what the next step in my life was going to be. I found that I needed to surrender to God in that moment, and found so much clarity and peace.

There are moments where God just kind of knocks you off of your feet and says ‘You know what? You need to slow down. You need to listen to what I have to say.’ It transforms things completely, and I’m grateful for that!”

“For the new crop of students that come every year. They are always so interesting!”

“For the new crop of students that come every year. They are always so interesting!”

“I’ve recently become a lot more thankful for my Oma and the relationship I have with her. This past summer I would drive down once a week to have coffee, and we would talk for hours! The stories of her childhood, of war, and the advice she gave me — I’ve been able to relate to her in a really different way than before, different than with anyone else in the world. She has so much wisdom.”

“I’ve recently become a lot more thankful for my Oma and the relationship I have with her. This past summer I would drive down once a week to have coffee, and we would talk for hours! The stories of her childhood, of war, and the advice she gave me — I’ve been able to relate to her in a really different way than before, different than with anyone else in the world. She has so much wisdom.”

“I’m deeply thankful for Waffle Fridays.”

“I’m deeply thankful for Waffle Fridays.”

“Two things come to mind. I come from a family where no one ever attended a post-secondary institution, so I’m thankful to God for even the opportunity to come here and receive an education that my family and ancestors didn’t receive. On a more spiritual side: receiving the grace of God, and the love that he provided for us on the cross. That’s something that we didn’t deserve — for him to humble himself and come down to die for our sins… I’d say I’m always thankful for that; it’s what motivates me to live.” “When I came here, I didn’t think I was going to meet people who were so grounded in their faith. For a very long time I had struggles with my faith in God, and so now that I have friends who can build me up spiritually, and who I can build up — that’s what I’m really thankful for.”

“Two things come to mind. I come from a family where no one ever attended a post-secondary institution, so I’m thankful to God for even the opportunity to come here and receive an education that my family and ancestors didn’t receive.

On a more spiritual side: receiving the grace of God, and the love that he provided for us on the cross. That’s something that we didn’t deserve — for him to humble himself and come down to die for our sins… I’d say I’m always thankful for that; it’s what motivates me to live.”

“When I came here, I didn’t think I was going to meet people who were so grounded in their faith. For a very long time I had struggles with my faith in God, and so now that I have friends who can build me up spiritually, and who I can build up — that’s what I’m really thankful for.”

A Day in the Life of a Turkey

David Feddema

The sun rises and shines in through the vented walls. I awake with the rest of my flock to the sound of fans pushing a cool breeze over us. I’m tired, I think I’ll eat. I wander over to the feed pan and converse with Tom over breakfast. “Gobble, Gobble.” He talks too much.

 After breakfast I have the rest of the morning to kill. My favourite pastime is walking around the barn. I go for my stroll with my bros; we strut and admire all the chicks. We’re a pretty big deal. We do this pretty well all day, stopping for lunch and afternoon feed. After my walk I go to the water dripper to have a quick swig and chat. I talk to Jenny for a bit. “Gobble, Gobble.” She’s cute. She looks a lot like other Jenny; I wonder if they’re related.

In the evenings I settle down in my favourite spot next to the wooden beam. Sometimes I talk to the others around me before bed, sometimes I don’t. Depends on how hard I strut that day.

 I think I’m a pretty free spirit. I like to jump around and flap my wings sometimes. It’s pretty sweet. I have my own spot on the straw, and I can take a poop wherever I want, whenever I want. I’m living the good life.  

Humans of Redeemer

Elise Arsenault | Reporter

In 2010, a man by the name of Brandon Stanton began a photography project in New York City that would grow to become a #1 New York Times bestseller and photoblog boasting over 15 million followers worldwide.

  Initially, Stanton set out to create what he calls an exhaustive catalogue of New York Citys inhabitants, comprised of 10,000 photos plotted across a city map. The task took on a different form, however, as he began collecting pieces of conversation he had with those he photographed. Photo captions would soon become as vital as the shots themselves, and, together, make for a captivating stream of stories he entitles Humans of New York.

This year, the Crown seeks to mimic Stantons idea on campus by asking thoughtful questions and printing candid photos of students, staff, and faculty in each issue.

 We know that stories are powerful, so the goal here is to further uncover our own. Scripture tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, share the word of our testimony, and give glory to God in every season. This column is simply another means to do so, and to remind ourselves that King Jesus is the ultimate author and finisher of our faith.

What was the most unexpected thing that ever happened to you?

“The car accident that I had. I shouldnt be alive. I broke three vertebrae on the top of my neck.

 “Its been, God, eleven years now? My dog was a year and a half when I got him. I trained him; I didnt get him from the service. He was an insane dog! They were going to put him down because he was so aggressive. Now hell carry stuff for me, he knows how to get my medication, a bottle of water If I fall, he knows to get the phone. Right now were working on how to clear a room.

I intimately witnessed the birth of my daughter. It was unexpected because we were actually planning our visit to the hospital and my wife told me about the imminent delivery.

When I was twelve, I had four living siblings. And then, all of a sudden, I only had three.

 “My brother was killed in a car accident on his way home from his last exam at school. One of my biggest regrets was not expressing in that last week how much I loved him.

 “The unexpectedness of it shook me up. It made me realize that when life is that fragile and eternity is so close, youre either for Jesus or youre not. Youre either going to be with Him, or youre not. And if Jesus is in my life, then why am I not giving everything to him? Or telling everyone about this joy that Ive found?


Getting the call that I got nominated. I got to do Kiwanis Provincials its a big music competition, and I was nominated to do musical theatre. I had to get a really nice outfit, and perform in front of judges alongside the top 27 musical theatre singers of my age in Ontario. It was amazing!


When I lost a resident. I was a don at a previous university, and one of my students decided to take his own life I walked in on him. So that was extremely depressing.

 “You never think that it could happen to someone close to you. Its become something that I still want to protect life, I mean. Especially with students in university now, it kind of goes under the radar.


Coming to Redeemer! I mean, I played basketball here in the summer time, all the time. Then I went to Brock, and things didnt really work out so I came here. It was totally unexpected. Im in my third year now its been a good thing.


Finding out my friend went missing. They didnt know where he was so they were combing the forest. He had gone swimming, so they were combing the waters, too. We didnt know if he was alive or dead, so we started a prayer-chain via texting.

The most unexpected thing was the complete switch from just hanging out watching some TV-show reruns, to getting the call. About 45 minutes later we found out they had found his body. It was crazy, it was about a month before his 16th birthday. Unexpected heart failure…”

I didnt expect my youngest child to make a less than 24-hour recovery while on her death-bed. She was six months old. God is awesome!

     My sister got stung by two bees!

     Can you jump on one foot? I can.

     Going to the circus.

     Realizing that people say 'pardon' here. We say 'huh?'

     That Im a Catholic. Wait, no, Im not a Catholic.

Suffering and Sensibility

Rebekka Gondosch | Reporter

An Interview with Dr. Naaman K. Wood

For as long as I can remember, there has always circulated a popular myth amongst students of all ages that teachers eat, sleep, and live at school. I am still not completely convinced that this speculation is false. As often as the student body is busily working away at assignments, balancing school work with real life, socializing and getting involved in their various communities, so too are our professors a part of this great balancing act. In each upcoming issue of The Crown, it is our hope to introduce you to some of the remarkable scholars who share this learning space with us. Whatmotivated them to pursue a career in education? What are some of their academic accolades? How do they spend time outside of school with family and friends (granted they actually do leave the school premises)?

This month's interview is with Dr. Naaman K. Wood, a new professor in Redeemer's Media and Communication Studies Department. After meeting with Dr. Wood it is hard to believe that he has been teaching at Redeemer for only two weeks; the corner of his office is already stacked high with books, and Dr. Wood seems at ease being interviewed on the heels of a squash practice. In addition to becoming accustomed to a new school environment, Wood is also delving into life in a new country, having just moved to Canada from Durham, North Carolina.

From the onset, our conversation is steeped in critical inquiry. From discussions of violence in Grand Theft Auto to the question of empathy in Game of Thrones, a conversation with Dr. Wood evokes exciting, relevant possibilities for the merging of media with theology. 

When asked what began his interest in merging these two disciplines, Wood highlights the complexities and brokenness of his own encounters with the world, saying that his “attempt to think theologically about media and communication is my attempt to try, from a Christian perspective […] to name the world as it actually comes to me, as it actually comes to us.” Through an emphasis on the Prophets and a “prophetic ethic,” Wood feels that this lens provides students with, “the best biblical window onto brokenness and suffering.”

I questioned Wood about where elements of joy might be found amidst this weighty outlook. Our conversation led to an analysis of the HBO series Game of Thrones and the multitude of reactions and impulses viewers face as a result of the show’s content. Wood finds these reactions helpful in naming how we feel, offering “confessional” moments which encourage self-reflexivity. “That’s the kind of sensibility I want to cultivate in students,” Wood asserts, a sensibility which “cultivat[es] empathy” when watching a show like Game of Thrones.

Wood continues to make connections between media and his experience with the world, sharing how media has the possibility of both fostering an empathy toward global issues (as was the case with his experience watching the show Russian Roulette) and of perpetuating harmful ideologies (such as gendered objectification found in certain video games). It is Wood’s hope that student graduates look at film and filmmaking not through a preoccupation with arbitrary camera angles or lighting but rather through the question, “How does the God who died on the cross see this particular thing?”

Toward the end of our interview, I was itching to know what Wood’s recommendation of a 'must-see' film would be. After a few moments of contemplation, Wood named Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, pointing out the “outmoded forms of cinematic technique” the director uses in “delightful” and “relevant” ways. He relates this experience to a Christian perspective in which things that might seem “dead to us” can be revisited with purposefulness and renewed insight.

When asked to share his feelings toward lecturing in the classroom, Wood admits that lecturing can be quite stressful, and preparation a challenge. Despite the pressure and anxiety, he acknowledges that some of his best insights come from lecture preparation.

And what does a typical Friday evening look like for Dr. Wood? “Over the last year I’ve taken up rock climbing,” Wood shares. Rock climbing is usually followed by dinner and an outing with his wife (recently to Supercawl and to Toronto International Film Festival), or staying in and watching TV. “Is that relaxing for you?” I wondered after our critical conversation about media. “It’s a skill, I have to turn it on and turn it off,” he admits; an ability many of his students will surely have to acquire after insightful lectures with this exceptional scholar. Welcome to the Redeemer community, Dr. Wood!

Who's the New Guy?

Jonathan Duhamel | Assistant Chaplain

In February of 2014, I was sitting at a table making jokes that I needed a female leader in the youth group I was overseeing, and therefore needed to get married. Then one of the gentlemen took me aside and said, “Have you talked to my daughter, Heather?” From that moment on I suddenly had a connection with Redeemer, and I was dating a beautiful girl with the most interesting combination of Majors/Minors. Six months later, I was on one knee, purposing to her, and one and a half years later, I'm married to a Redeemer Student. Hi, I’m Jonathan DuHamel, and I am the Assistant Chaplain/the new Mark/the Timothy Project guy.

You never know the path that God will take you on. My story starts a lot earlier than finding the love of my life. When asked to write this article, I was a little lost for words; so I decided, why not share my story and give you all a chance to get to know me?

In March of 1991, I was born into a pretty great family. I had two older siblings, and a loving mother and father who were planting a little church on the highway in Muskoka. The life of a PK (Pastor’s Kid) is a great one, but unfortunately for me, it was short lived. When I was six years old, something happened that I didn’t understand. We were leaving the church my parents were pastoring, but this time not going to another. My dad took a job outside of the Church, and it didn’t feel normal. I then started to notice my dad's absence, and a while later my parents gave us the news that my father was leaving.

Months later I remember being in a counselor’s office. My brother, sister, dad, mom, and I were sitting with the counselor as my dad explained to us that he no longer loved my mom, and was now dating a man. To a six year old this concept was confusing, and to be honest, I didn’t understand what that meant until my dad moved in with his first boyfriend. Going to bed at night, trying to comprehend that 'Daddy is no longer sleeping with Mommy but a man,' often made my siblings and I physically sick. The nightmares that came along with that were horrific.

 My mother felt God speak to her the day we got the bad news from my dad. She knew it was coming, and left to pray. In that moment God told her she would one day work in Burlington, in the specific building where our Counseling was: CTS, also known as 100 Huntley Street.

God confirmed this in her heart while we were living close to family in Port Hope, Ontario. We were attending a church when a lady complained that we were there. This woman was nervous that my siblings and I would talk to her kids about our father, so the minister asked us to leave the church. My mom knew she had to move somewhere, and remembered the moment she had with God.

We moved to Burlington out of faith, and God blessed my mom with a job, not a great paying one, but still a job. We were living in the 'ghetto,' where going out after dark wasn’t safe because of the gang violence and drug culture. We didn’t have much, but we always had just enough.

At this point in my life, I believed in God, but didn’t really think He cared. How could He? My picture-perfect family quickly turned into a nightmare. I gave up on God when I was nine. I started getting involved with the wrong group of kids, and I was headed toward the gang life. We would beat up kids for fun, and steal from the local gas station just because we could.

I remember the day my friend offered me weed. I can’t tell you why I didn’t say yes. I was a grade 5 student at this time, and all my friends were doing it.

My sister attended our church's youth group, and I thought it might be cool. The church was just transitioning a junior high pastor in, so we got to attend with the older kids. The youth pastor was a pretty cool guy. He had tattoos and would often wrestle with us. The first time I went, I heard his story, and it suddenly made me rethink my life. To summarize quickly, the pastor used to be a drug dealer, went to a party with drugs, yet everyone already had their fix. He took the drugs himself, died, and miraculously came back to life. With scary spiritual experiences during his high, he realized God was real, and he needed to commit his life to Him.

So with just saying no to drugs, I suddenly saw what my life may have become and thought maybe I wouldn't be so lucky. God got a hold of my life, and over time He became the centre focus.

 By the time I got to grade 12, life was great! My mom had gotten remarried, we had a big home, and I became extremely involved in my church. On top of all of this, I was living my new dream. I was working as a professional actor.

 My brother thought my “dream” was lame. Although he recognized I was good at acting, he would always tell me I was wasting my time, and should become a pastor. In January of 2009, my brother passed away from an accidental overdose of caffeine. Suddenly the God I trusted had taken someone away from me again. How could He?! My brother was more than just a brother. He had become a fatherly role model to me, and was my best friend. Yet this time was different. Although God had taken from me again, I knew that my brother was never actually mine. He belonged to God first, and I knew that although it hurt God to see us hurting, that He would make all things work for His good.  

I decided to attend Master's College and Seminary’s 1 year program so that I could continue to pursue my acting career. The summer before school, my acting career had skyrocketed. I was being noticed as one of Canada’s top talents for film and television, and was even offered a recording contract with Sony. My dream was becoming a reality.

But then, suddenly, God changed my life’s direction. In one of my first year classes we were reading about incredible people who were starting churches across the world. While reading my textbook, I had a moment with God I will never forget that ended with me calling my agent and quitting my acting/singing career. God had called me to do full-time ministry.

You never know the path God will take you on. For me, He used multiple moments of sadness, hurt, success, and lack of success to bring me to this moment in my life. Now, I am paid to work for Christ and make Fishers of Men. I am living His dream for my life.

 I would love to get to know every single one of the students at Redeemer, to talk about life and find out your story. Please do me a favor and send me an email, or shoot me a text!


 jduhamel@redeemer.ca | 905 308-4439 |@JONDUHAMEL

Alas, Refresh, I Bid thee Farewell

Beth Moffett

My time as cashier extraordinaire is coming to an end. I have worked at Refresh for three years now, and it has been stupendous. I have had some of the greatest bosses, coworkers and customers one could ever hope for. My time at Refresh has truly been one of the greatest highlights of my life at Redeemer. 

Have no fear, those of you who are remaining at Redeemer; the cash register is in good hands! Someone else will cash out Professor Brown’s sandwich and chocolate milk. Anthony will still have his card swiped pretty much every day at lunchtime. The fridge will still be stocked to perfection. The salt and pepper will be filled. Someone else will not sell Tony Wiersma his Coca-Cola.  Noah VanBrenk will get his receipts printed.  Someone new will be able to tell what you have ordered without actually seeing it. Jake Tigchelaar will still get a look for changing the radio to country. The chips will be beautiful. Your cards will be swiped on the first, at most second, time. You are in good hands, students of Redeemer! 

Before I leave, I must share the woes that have plagued me for so many years in order to help out the cashiers of the future: 

  1. Refresh does not and has never accepted debit. End of story. 
  2. People complain all the time about how expensive Refresh is. Guys, go to another college or university and your eyes will pop out of your head.  I attended another post-secondary institution and was so excited when I saw how cheap our food was in comparison. This is the good life, so stop complaining! 
  3. If you do want to complain, fill out one of those suggestion cards. My job is to push buttons, not change food items, change prices or install electrical outlets.  Write it down for someone who actually has power to make the change or go talk to him or her yourselves. 
  4. Crackers are not complimentary. Bacon Bits aren’t either. And you can’t have the pizza left over at the end of the day. 
  5. Why do you guys take the third pop from the front? What’s wrong with the first two? Is it a coldness thing? Or a never-taking-from-the-front thing? Or what? I seriously want you to come tell me because it’s been bugging me for three years now.  

Refresh is a place of food, laughter, and (from time to time) dancing. It has been a joy working here and getting to know so many of the students, staff, and faculty from behind my little counter. I am going to miss that spot quite a bit when I leave it for the final time in April. It has been an absolute pleasure serving the people who are not only my customers, but also my friends. Farewell, long live the Jaminator, and have a refreshing day!

Student Government's Place

What's The Use of Senate?

James Constable | Senate Club's Coordinator 2014-2015

Redeemer is an active community where members support one another and seek to build each other towards being Christ-like. Of course, there are needs of the student body that can only be addressed when brought to the knowledge of the school, and there needs to be an advocate that can promote these concerns — this takes the form of student government, which at Redeemer is Student Senate.

People have often asked why student government is needed at all. Can’t concerns brought by the student body be handled by Student Life or the administration? Student Life and the administration are extremely capable and essential to our school, but they do not currently have the experience of attending Redeemer. Members of Student Senate, however, do and are therefore more in tune with the current needs of students, as they are also experiencing the challenges and joys of attending Redeemer.

Part of what makes attending Redeemer such a wonderful experience includes all of the events held on campus, of which Banquet, CITB, Coffeehouse, and Thursday Soccer League are just a few examples. What all these events and clubs have in common is that they are funded through Student Senate; Banquet could not have taken place without the work of the Activities Committee which, ably led by Jessica Mostert, was responsible for planning the details of the evening.  

The activities that Student Senate runs also build community around Redeemer; CITB is a large service within the Greater Hamilton Area which sees many people from across the region come to Redeemer to worship God together. On a more local level, Coffeehouse provides an opportunity for students to share their gifts in music, comedy, poetry, etc. in a manner that brings the Redeemer community closer together. Coffeehouse takes place in the Rec Centre, which also is operated by Student Senate – including the renovation of two years ago.  Hot Spot, a monthly worship service organized by SASC (Spiritual Activities and Services Committee) also takes place in the Rec Centre.  Coffeehouse and Hot Spot are not the only Senate-funded event that takes place on Thursday evenings; the intramural soccer league which takes place at the sports dome is also funded by Student Senate and is a wonderful opportunity for students across years and skill levels to interact, as either fans or athletes. 

An important part of community at Redeemer is making sure that there are proper communications between staff and students, and it is one of the responsibilities of Student Senate to bring the concerns of students to the administration. Through this, Student Senate has helped to advocate for the 30% Off Tuition Grant through meetings with local MPP Ted McMeekin as well as working to extend the 44 bus route in order to bring more adequate transportation to Redeemer students. 

 The Redeemer student body deserves an advocate that will promote their initiatives as well as meet their concerns, which is why student government in the form of Student Senate exists. We are always seeking to better represent the people whom we serve.

Food Services Responds to Negative Feedback

Staff Introduce New Changes to Refresh and Reasons for High Prices 

Justin Eisinga | Reporter

Every couple years, Campus Services sends a survey to all students in order to gather feedback on the state of food services at Redeemer University College. Believe it or not, the information gleaned from these surveys actually leads to little tweaks, and in this year’s case, a significant change. 

"Food is a very personal thing and everyone has different preferences,” says Doreen Gringhuis, director of Campus Services at Redeemer. “Campus Services, along with Sodexo, our food service provider, strives to give all students the best experience possible when dining on campus.” This commitment to providing the best experience is the fuel behind initiatives such as the student survey.

The biggest change on the horizon: extended hours for ReFresh. As a result of this year’s survey and the work of Commuter Student Advisor Chelsey Hurst, ReFresh will remain open until 6:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday beginning in September 2015. This will provide commuter and off-campus students the opportunity to purchase dinner if they need to be at the school into the evening.

In general, this year’s Food Services survey saw solid improvement in student satisfaction across the board – except for one area that always seems to stick out like a sore thumb. According to the results of the survey, students experienced varying levels of dissatisfaction with Redeemer’s Market, especially in the areas of cost and selection.

This is an issue that never ceases to be an area of concern for students. However, it is an issue that is extremely difficult to address, according to Campus Services. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is the fact that the Redeemer Market has smaller purchasing power compared to large supermarkets such as No Frills or Food Basics.

With a background in business and economics, Gringhuis wants students to know that, simply put, it costs more for the Market to bring products in because they are ordering less. “We don’t even mark up the groceries. We mark them up at such a small percentage just to cover costs,” says Gringhuis.

Typically, grocery stores can offer produce and staple items at cheap prices because they are ordering significant levels of stock. At the end of the day, Redeemer’s Market just can’t compete with such a system.

“It’s very difficult to satisfy the needs of students in a grocery store when it’s not really a grocery store,” continues Gringhuis. “This portion of Redeemer’s meal plan is subsidized. We actually lose money on this.”

Another misconception that Campus Services wants to make clear: any profits of Redeemer’s food services that are made don’t end up in the hands of Sodexo, they stay in the coffers of Redeemer University College (although these profits are very small). Campus Services is ultimately responsible for the implementation and functioning of food services at the school and Sodexo is purely responsible for the management of these services.

Despite the confusion, Campus Services wants to make it clear that they are always available to answer questions as it relates to the food plan and any other concerns around food.

"Campus Services has an open door policy,” says Annette Van Soelen, Administrative Assistant in the department. “We welcome students to come in to speak with staff if they have any questions about their meal plan, RUC express accounts, communal meal or anything else pertaining to food services on campus."