By Ann Wilson
The Interim”The amazing thing is, we had awards money left over at the end of the school year!” reported Bryana Straker, admissions counsellor at Pacific Redeemer College in Langley, B.C. For a cash-strapped student checking out colleges, this should sound like good news. Furthermore, not only can students apply for awards from Redeemer, but also from the parent college, Trinity Western University. Best news of all for Interim readers, Redeemer offers two handsome Pro-Life Scholarships named after Pier Giorgio Frassati, one of the patrons of World Youth Day.
The Pro-Life Scholarship is $5,000 annually for up to four years, totaling a possible $20,000. Applicants must write a 1,000-word essay describing their pro-life activity over the past year, with reference to the life, faith and works of Giorgio Frassati. An applicant must have and maintain a 3.0 grade point average, be a Canadian citizen, a practising Catholic and show financial need. The recipient must also continue pro-life work on campus, including pro-life involvement in the greater Catholic community.
Applications for the scholarship are due Feb. 28.
Spurred on by this encouragement, Redeemer students have provided leadership and a healthy portion of the membership of the pro-life club on the Trinity Western campus. Students of all persuasions now work side by side for the cause of life. One recipient of the Pro-Life Scholarship is now organizing a big fundraiser to take six students, both Catholic and evangelical, across the continent to the March for Life in Washington.
Redeemer Pacific College, established in 1998, is an approved teaching centre at Trinity Western University as a private Catholic Liberal Arts college. Degrees are granted through Trinity Western, an evangelical Christian university renowned for the vitality of its Christian environment, its devoted professors and excellent scholarship. TWU has succeeded in maintaining its student Christian code of ethics after its right to train teachers was challenged with an ensuing court battle. It has a strict code of conduct for students and there are core requirements in Scripture and Christian studies. Redeemer students take the same core requirements in courses from a Catholic perspective.
Generally speaking, majors are taken at Trinity Western. It has a broad range of disciplines and departments from which to choose, including a fine music department. Redeemer offers courses in theology, Scripture, spirituality, philosophy, communications, English, Latin, and leadership, including upper-level courses in Catholic theology. They are currently working toward offering a theology major that would qualify students to enter the MA theology program at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Oh. (RPC is an associate college of FUS).
When asked about the unusual combination of Catholic and evangelical Christians on campus, a former Redeemer student chuckled, “We brushed our teeth together in the dorms, ate in the cafeteria side by side every day, sat in class together and so on.” The friendship thus formed opened the doors to amicable dialogue and debate. “I had to really dig into why we believe certain things,” she continued, and added that she found this challenge an excellent adjunct to formal education.
Redeemer Pacific’s mission is to “develop dynamic Catholic leaders through higher education: men and women committed to lifelong Christian growth and intellectual formation, who strive to bring all whom their lives touch into vital relationship with the Lord and his Church.”
Redeemer Pacific College has been granted the status of “Catholic college” by Archbishop Adam Exner of Vancouver. All faculty and staff take an oath of loyalty to the magisterium, the official teaching office of the Catholic church. Dr. Stephen Miletic and Dr. Andrew Minto, two theologians at Franciscan University of Steubenville, are the college’s primary advisers Both these men did the groundwork in helping RPC put its curriculum together, along with work on the college’s constitution and programs. Scott Hahn, also of Franciscan University, is a special adviser.
Growth has been slow but steady. At present, there are 42 full-time students registered. Trinity Western has about 3,500. A Redeemer student notes, “The small classes allowed me to get to know my professors better, whom I have found extremely helpful in explaining many issues concerning my faith and everyday life.” Redeemer recently sent their student life counsellor to Ontario for a week to get out the word and she spent some time at the Campaign Life office in Toronto. Redeemer Pacific is aiming at major expansion of both their facilities and their student body in the near future.