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Friends of Providence make a difference at Harvest Festival
Last month’s Harvest Festival brought friends of Providence to the Otterburne campus for weekend banquets that featured speakers Brian Stiller and Michelle Sawatzky-Koop.
The school’s Performing Arts department was the focus for the Friday, September 25 fundraising event; Athletics headlined the programme on Saturday, September 26.
The more than $60,000 raised in donations will bolster scholarships, bursaries, and targeted programming, making Providence education more affordable for students.
“We are honoured by the students who have chosen Providence as a place to pursue performing arts and athletics,” says Irma McKenzie, Vice President for Development at Providence. “We have about 20 Music majors and minors and more than 60 students engaged in choirs, bands, ensembles, and individual lessons. We also have around 75 student-athletes this year and approximately 620 kids involved in club volleyball and sports camps.”
Each of them will be equipped to become a difference-maker during their time at Providence, and, appropriately, “Difference-Makers” was the Harvest Festival theme.
Sawatzky-Koop, who was part of Canada’s volleyball entry at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, used her Saturday address to reveal the individuals who made a difference over the course of her own journey. She also reinforced the extension of difference-making to those in attendance, whose gifts will enable students to impact churches, workplaces, neighbourhoods, and the world at large.
“What you’re doing here tonight is absolutely, 100 per cent making a difference for the Kingdom of God,” she said. “God bless Providence and the sports it provides.”
She also emphasized the importance of coaches as role models and highlighted the characteristics of discipline, commitment, and hard work that are prominent in sports.
“God is alive in sports,” she said, “because he has gifted some kids and this is their path.”
(Click here to watch Sawatzky-Koop's entire address.)
Stiller, a Global Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance, underlined the importance of Providence as an institution while addressing Friday’s attendees.
“Your support of good, Christian universities and outstanding seminaries means everything to the witness of the gospel here in Canada,” he said. “The witness we bring through these kind of ministries and institutions has impact beyond what we are able to anticipate or calculate.”
Referring to Providence a “great treasure,” he also pointed out that the school and its supporters have a unique opportunity to stand in Canadian culture and proclaim: “This is what we believe; we will not hide in a corner.”
(Click here to watch Stiller's entire address.)
Providence President David Johnson says he valued both Stiller’s “inspiring” talk on the value of Christian post-secondary education and Sawatzky-Koop’s relaying of the value of sports in life.
“The highlights for me were time with the two speakers, visiting with the many faithful friends who were able to attend, and seeing and hearing our students perform and tell their stories about how God has changed their lives through Providence,” he says. “Thanks to everyone who attended.”
Adds McKenzie: “Thank-you for empowering us through your gifts to deliver Christ-centred education to the students we are privileged to influence and who, in turn, are changing the world.”
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Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
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