(405) 425-5070

Western Christian College and High School in Canada to close

Financially beleaguered Western Christian College and High School — a pillar of Churches of Christ in Canada — will close at the end of this academic year.
Academic dean Bill Schwarz confirmed the news today in an e-mail to The Christian Chronicle.
The Society that oversees the high school and college in Regina, Saskatchewan, voted Saturday to cease operations indefinitely in June, Schwarz said.
From Schwarz’s e-mail:

An economic crisis created by a steady decline in enrollment, donors and donations over the past decade has affected our cash flow to a point where we can no longer consider Western Christian a fiscally viable entity. A recommendation to close the school was made by our Board of Directors and our Chief Operating Officer, Karen Cooper, and supported by myself and three other school administrators. After reviewing the data presented, the Society voted 97 percent in favor of three motions which initiate the process of closure. The slideshow presented to our Society on Saturday can be found on the Western Christian website at www.westernchristian.ca, under the link on the left-hand side entitled “WCC Special Society Meeting Update.”
Western Christian has been around for 67 years and will leave behind a rich and impressive legacy with alumni stretching all over the globe.
Our great sadness is for our students, both those who are here presently and those who dreamed to be alumni one day. We also lament the ripple effect this will  have on Churches of Christ in Canada.  We are one of only two Church of Christ-affiliated high schools and colleges in the entire nation. Western Christian was a spiritual center and a hub for ministry and missions training among churches in Western Canada.
It is important to state that this was a logical and necessary decision. Our goal now is to finish our history well and be God honoring in all we do, especially in dealing with our staff, students, vendors and creditors. Glorifying God through a necessary ending is just as important as glorifying Him through new beginnings.

In an October 2009 feature on the Gravelbourg Church of Christ in Saskatchewan, the Chronicle reported on Western Christian’s important role in bringing together Canadian church members:

The dream of a Christian teacher named Lillian Torkelson, the residential high school was founded in 1945 in Radville before relocating in 1957 to Weyburn, also in Saskatchewan. The school later moved to Dauphin, Manitoba. It has been in Regina since 2003.
Many young church members left home to attend Western Christian and met their spouses, said Miriam Kerr, a member of the Moose Mountain church in Kenosee Village, about 250 miles east of Gravelbourg.
“Land wise, it’s a big area,” Kerr said of Saskatchewan. “But church-wise, everybody knows everybody,” either through Western Christian or the Gospel Herald, a Canadian news and teaching journal, she said.

Western Christian’s closure comes three years after the decision to shut down Cascade College in Portland, Ore. — also a small, financially troubled, outside-the-Bible-Belt college associated with Churches of Christ.
At the time of the Cascade decision in late 2008, Western Christian’s former president joined leaders of other Christian colleges in voicing regret over the news:

“To lose this institution is a sorrowful calamity to the Pacific Northwest,” said Kevin Vance, president of Western Christian College in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Mich. — once known as Michigan Christian College — also has struggled in recent years but made strides to ensure its survival, as the Chronicle reported last summer.
Christians in the Philadelphia area still lament the loss of Northeastern Christian Junior College in Villanova, Pa., which merged with Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., in the mid-1990s.
Western Christian’s closure will leave Great Lakes Christian High School and Great Lakes Bible College, related entities in Ontario in eastern Canada, as the nation’s only educational institutions associated with Churches of Christ.
Look for expanded coverage in an upcoming print edition of the Chronicle.

  • Feedback
    So sorry to loose another Christian College. I was working at Columbia
    Christian Elem/HS when Columbia Christian College closed and Cascade following. My prayers are with all the Faculty,Staff and Board members as well as all the student’s and Alumni. May we all realize the wonderful blessings that Christian Schools are. In Christian Love..Virginia and Herb Brinley
    virginia Brinley
    January, 31 2012

    Truly a sad decision for all those associated with the college, past present and future. I believe a huge loss for the churches of Christ in Canada and ripple effects throughout the world.
    Please keep staff, students, alumni in prayers through this difficult loss.
    Karen Quilliams
    January, 31 2012

    The link to Rochester College in the article is incorrect, taking the reader instead to the University of Rochester…..
    Malibu Reader
    January, 31 2012

    This is indeed sad news. I went to a now defunct school called The Center for Christian Education in Irving, Texas (originally known as Preston Road School of Preaching). For the years I attended (2001-2004) we had a fellow student from Canada and each year at the ACU lectures, we always showed him support by going to Canada night hosted by Great Lakes and Western Christian. It was a small gathering after the nightly lecture was finished. We learned so much about the churches of Christ in Canada from those evenings. Those nights were always one of my fondest memories during the lectures.
    January, 31 2012

    Malibu Reader,
    That’s what I get for doing the website URL (the wrong one!) off the top of my head. In any case, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve fixed the link.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    January, 31 2012

    I attended an ACU conflict resolution class at WCC in Dauphin shortly before the move to Regina and fondly remember my time there with the faculty and staff.
    Jim Trietsch
    January, 31 2012

    This is so sad. I have personally watched a decline in numbers within the Churches of Christ over the past 10 years.
    What ha happened to the once powerful truth people used to be so attracted to?
    Has God turned His back on us?
    January, 31 2012

    When I taught at Brandon University, I got to know people at WCC in Weyburn; years later I lectured when the college was in Dauphin. There are so many fine people who have, in one way or another, been involved with WCC across the Prairies, across the years. Many friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in a trying time. Thanks, Bill, for your positive, pastoral remarks.
    Claude Cox
    January, 31 2012

    is there anything that can be done to keep the school open. or are there options that can be considered
    February, 1 2012

    As an alumnus of WCC I have fond memories of the dedicated and Biblically sound teachers and staff who were at the school when I was there in the fifties. I have been saddened over the last few decades by certain changes in stance and emphasis, which in my opinion have contributed to the lack of students and support, leading to the decline and demise of the school.
    Roy Davison
    February, 1 2012

    My parents met there. It was a great pillar of Christianity in Canada.
    Nathan MacDonald
    February, 1 2012

    Nathan, I went to Western with your parents, I treasure those memories. My parents met there when it was in Radville.
    Mark Keller
    February, 1 2012

    A big loss for sure.
    B Rad Winkler
    February, 1 2012

    By this, still another Christian College, closing it could appear on the surface that we are losing the battle, but rest assured and fear not, because, no matter how it look on the surface God is still in control.
    John Harris
    February, 1 2012

    Evelyn and I taught at Radville Christian College in 1950 – 1952 and treasure the experience and find satisfaction in the fruitful service of many of the students of those days. These were my initial years in the classroom and prepared me for service at Great Lakes in Ontario and later Namwianga Christian Secondary School in Zambia.
    Now in my 90th year and having had all these years to observe, I, as Roy Davison wonder whether supporters have lost confidence in the school because of recent trends?
    Whatever the causes, we are saddened to learn of the closing.
    Eugene Perry
    February, 1 2012

    To the people of Western Christian, we are sad with you. I would like to thank all of the people who have worked so hard over the years to support Western Christian and teach its students. I have been to the Weyburn campus a number of times with my parents, Buford and Margie Pitman, when we lived in Lloydminster and Red Deer, Alberta. I learned about Christian education there. I hope that Western’s students will continue at sister institutions. We must remember Western and its heritage.
    Jo Pitman Pennington
    February, 1 2012

    To the Western Christian family, please know that many of us are grieving with you, while at the same time honoring those who had to make this necessary and difficult decision. I am mindful of Solomon’s wisdom that there are times for everything–including closing of ministries, but that does not detract from the many blessings of that ministry during its life. Thank you for loving Western Christian during its life and for honoring it through many happy memories. May you all continue to honor our God through the mature and thoughtful way in which you finish strong in the days ahead.
    On behalf of your brothers and sisters at Oklahoma Christian University,
    Mike E. O’Neal, President
    Mike O’Neal
    February, 1 2012

    I am saddened at another Christian college closure. It seems we’ve having a lot of them over the past few years. I’m wondering if something can be done to alleviate the closure. Maybe the board of trustees could get together for a seminar or retreat just to pray about this and to try to come up with programs that might prove to be both fundraisers and interest builders for the school. Likely, countless church members have never heard of the school. What a shame if it closes. My prayers and those of many other Christians go up for WCC.
    James Haney
    February, 1 2012

    There was a great need for a christian school in western Canada. I became a member of the WCC society at its organization meeting in 1945.In 1949 I succeeded one of the original board members. From 1953 to 1970 my job was that of business manager.My family lived on campus
    in the renovated barracks.For many years after that I travelled in Canada & USA in P.R. I participated in establishing Western Christian Foundation in Wichita Falls Texas and Cedar Foundation in Sydney, Montana.Both of these organizations did a great service for WCC. We are saddened by the closing, but my family shall always be grateful to all the wonderful people that have supported WCC. We thank God for what this school has done for the cause of Christ in Canada and around the world and only eternity will reveal the extent of its influence. Ernest W. Andreas
    Ernest W. Andreas
    February, 1 2012

    Dear Brothers and Sisters at Western Christian College and High School,
    Having taught for ten years at Columbia Christian College in Portland, Oregon prior to its demise, my heart aches for you. WCC has been a blessing to Churches of Christ in Western Canada for many years. My former roommate, Jim Hawkins, and his wife Carolyn have sent several of their children to WCC, and I can only imagine how sad they are to see their alma mater die from lack of funding. Please know that we share your sorrow.
    With brotherly love,
    Dick Ady
    Dick Ady
    February, 1 2012

    Truly saddened at a Christian college closing in Canada when it is so desperately needed!! Prayers for the college staff, students, and alumni.
    Dennis Billingsley
    February, 1 2012

    I have so many memories of the spring youth rally and the lectureship each year at WCC. I remember it when it was in Weyburn. I also remember a member of our congregation moved there and was part of WCC for many years. Many of the people I met at summer camp in MT were from WCC. It is sad to lose a good resource.
    February, 2 2012

    As an Alumnus of Western and a 3rd generation student I am thankful for the memories and the lessons learned there. Although I am saddened by the school’s closing, I know that God is ultimately in control of every situation. I truly believe that Western has worked in many lives during the years it was open and its lessons will not be forgotten.
    Deva Javellana
    February, 2 2012

    We spent four years at Western in the 60’s. At that time we were
    deeply impressed with the Christians and lack of worldliness. There
    are Christian schools in the States that would be honored to enroll
    your children. We cherish our memories of Western.
    Glenda and Walter McAlister
    Walter and Glenda McAlister
    February, 3 2012

    So sorry to hear that WCC is closing its doors. What a sad day for Christian education. I graduated from WCC in 1977 when it was at N. Weyburn, Sask. and have fond memories of my time there. It will be greatly missed. I pray for the faculty and the students as the doors close on this chapter of Chrsitian education and my heart goes out to those who will miss out on a great opportunity.
    Barbara (Reynolds) Robinson
    February, 7 2012

    Being in Saskatoon from 1951 till 1956 gave me opportunity to make frequent visits to Western Chritian College. It was my privilege to serve on the board for a short time before moving to Montreal to begin the work of churches of Christ in that great city. I thank God for the good that was done through the school, and pray all truth learned at that institution might endure in the hearts of its alumni and their children through eternity.
    Alvin Jennings
    February, 19 2013

Filed under: Breaking News News Extras

Don’t miss out on more stories like this.

Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.

Did you enjoy this article?

Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.

Personal Info

Dedicate this Donation

In Honor/Memory of Details

Card Notification Details

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Billing Details

Donation Total: $3 One Time