Past Meets Present
Past Meets Present
A Community Across Time
In 1968, the London College of Bible and Missions (LCBM) merged with the Toronto Bible College (TBC) on Spadina Road to form the Ontario Bible College (OBC). Representing OBC’s student body as student council co-presidents were Lance Johnson [LCBM/OBC 1969] and Paul Hope [TBC/OBC 1969]. This historic merger saw one school experience a geographical relocation and the other an expansion of its student and faculty bodies. In 2014, as Tyndale University College & Seminary moves to 3377 Bayview Avenue, Arleen Gomez [MDiv 2015] is the seminary student council president, and Zach Edwards [BA 2014] is the university student council president.
The editor and staff writer of Tyndale Magazine sat down with the student council presidents of 1968 and 2014 to get their insights about leading the university and seminary student bodies in a year of transition and what the move to Bayview signifies.
How did your call to student leadership come about?
Paul: “The year of the merger (his senior year) was my third year as a student leader, and that’s when I was elected student council president of TBC. So I went into the merger with some previous experience in student leadership and felt God had equipped me to lead the student body in its year of transition.”
Lance: “In the spring of my sophomore year, I ran for student council president and lost the election. Then in my junior year, I ran again, and that’s when I became student council president at LCBM. I always felt a natural call and sense of giftedness for leadership, and others encouraged me in that role.”
How did the merger come about, and what was the reaction of the students at TBC/LCBM?
Lance: “There was something in the air; something seemed a bit off. Then the chapel time came when the announcement was actually made that we would be merging with TBC; that fall we would be on Spadina Road in Toronto. That meant for us a major relocation. In that chapel, I would say, there was a sense of shock, maybe even some disappointment. But the majority of us got over that.”
Paul: “The transition for TBC was much less shocking for us than it was for the students at LCBM. Really, the only change for us meant an expanded student body and an expanded faculty. There was perhaps a bit of apprehension, but the decisions were not nearly as difficult as what LCBM had to make.”
What does it mean to you that Tyndale is moving to Bayview?
Paul: “The fact of being located right on Bayview gives you a great opportunity because people are going to be driving by here every day – I think I heard around 85,000 cars. It would be great to have a sign that displays a computerized message to get them thinking about who and what Tyndale is. Tyndale would be more visible in the community, with more potential for impact.”
Lance: “With the expansion of Tyndale’s available space at Bayview, this means more lives influenced for kingdom impact. I think Tyndale has grown significantly from the 350 students back then to around 1,500 today. I am excited to know that this number will only increase and that more people will be equipped in the future to serve God in Canada and across the world.”
What advice would you give to Tyndale’s current student council presidents in this year of transition to Bayview?
Lance: “During any change, we are called to trust in the sovereign hand of God. My advice is to embrace change and enjoy the ride.”
Paul: “Consider other people in how you handle change. Treat people with respect regardless of age or experience.”
What brought you to Tyndale?
Arleen: “I have always had a passion for understanding God and people. So, naturally, I was drawn to theology and counselling. These passions led me here. Tyndale sounded like a great school with programs to equip you for certification in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) – a world-recognized certification for counsellors.”
Zach: “My original plan was to study medicine; I wanted to help people. My last semester at high school I took my final exam in biology, and I hated every minute of it. So I asked myself if I wanted to still pursue medicine. The answer was no. After panic set in, I had to figure out what to do next. When I ended up applying and coming to Tyndale for the Business Administration-International Development program, I found what I feel God has made me for: leading people to help people.”
How has Tyndale shaped you to go out and change the world?
Zach: “Studying business at Tyndale is unique compared to other universities. Most importantly, when you study business at a Christian university like Tyndale, you aren’t only looking how to do business well, but how to do business right. This has shaped me the most.”
Arleen: “Tyndale has chiselled out my character and calling. In undergrad, I was really quiet and introverted. Experiencing the transformational community here and being able to be myself at Tyndale has revived the (extroverted and relational) person God created me to be. I now feel God is calling me as a future counsellor to help people trapped in sexual addictions.”
What does it mean to you to be student council president(s) in this year of transition?
Arleen: “Transition is never easy. This year, the seminary student council chose Isaiah 43:19 as our theme verse. Given the context of the passage, we felt that God is speaking to us in this transition the same way He was speaking to the Israelites: ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ No change is comfortable, but this passage reminds us that God is with us as we venture into the amazing, yet unknown, future God has for us at Bayview.”
Zach: “The reason that I decided to put my name up for president was because of the unique opportunity that this year presented. We were able to dream about the future and think outside the box this year. We’ve been able to collaborate with other departments for the first time on things like the Fall Festival, global and community outreach, and many other initiatives. Our goal is to broaden and enrich student life as we look forward to our move to Bayview.”
What does the Bayview campus represent to you?
Zach: “Opportunity. With the new and expanded space, there will be opportunity to add at least another thousand students to the Tyndale community. Also, being at Bayview will give us (the Student Association) a chance to dream and seize the opportunities God will put in front of us, whether related to academic, student life or community outreach.”
Arleen: “Expansion. With Tyndale Seminary being the largest seminary in Canada, I can’t wait to see 10 to 20 years from now how God will use the seminary to prepare leaders and reach out to the community.”