Have you ever had to eat your words?
When I addressed staff and students in fall 2019, I told them to prepare for an uneventful year. (You can see where this is going…)
It’s a transition year, I reasoned. We’re winding-down at Jackson Ave before relocating to our new campus (we thought) later that summer. I compared us to the second and, I suggested, least exciting instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. Fans of the trilogy know the second instalment describes what takes place between the action – after the heroes have received their quest and before they’ve fulfilled it. That’s us, I said – between the action.
Well. As you know, the year hasn’t turned out quite as “uneventful” as I predicted.
I quickly learned you don’t mess with Tolkien fans. Apparently, all segments of Lord of the Rings are exciting, each with plenty of action. Don’t expect a cakewalk here, buddy! (Lesson learned! Lesson learned!)
The typical delays with permits and construction shifted our relocation from summer 2020 to January 2021. Not entirely unexpected – no problem.
Personally, I experienced one of my busiest but most exhilarating travel schedules, presenting internationally on competency-based education and engaging with our various denominational partners at multiple events.
COVID hit us fast and hard. It shuttered our on-campus activities and residences and moved us completely online. It cancelled graduation, shut down our Winnipeg fundraiser and our “farewell to Jackson” alumni tour, and significantly diminished our regular corporate sponsorships. Like other businesses, it forced us into temporary layoffs and wage reductions. Thankfully, that was short lived and we were able to bring everyone back late summer.
In fact, during this pandemic we found we have a lot to be thankful for.
- We saw our churches and supporters continue to lean in and give – thank you!
- We saw our staff go above and beyond in the name of Kingdom service – thank you!
- We saw our students enjoy a positive online learning experience thanks to previous investments in our classroom technology – thank you! (Hear Bailey share about her online learning experience here >)
- We saw our fall enrolment increase with students both onsite and online – thank you!
- And we continue to see our new building take shape, a symbol of hope and our future – thank you!
As our “uneventful” year became an unexpected journey, we’ve been thankful to find you journeying alongside us. You’ve prayed, you’ve given financially, you’ve attended or sent us students to become leaders in God’s Kingdom – thank you!
Our journey hasn’t ended but the Tolkien fans are right – there’s plenty of action between the action.
Thank you for joining us!
Jeromey Martini, President