How One Year Can Change Your Life for the Better

In the fall of 2019, brothers Ian and Josh Cushnie began their studies at Heritage together in the Worship Leaders Certificate program. Now, as they both look back at their time at the college, it’s clear that the decision to take one year to learn and grow at Heritage was a worthwhile one.

For Ian, the decision to come to Heritage came at a time in his life when he felt he needed some sort of change. At the time, he says that knew he wanted to study somewhere and pursue music. So, after hearing about Heritage from his friends, family and leaders at his church he decided that Heritage would be a great place to go to not only learn but also grow in his faith.

After arriving, he soon began to see how God was going to use this one year of learning in a Christian community to strengthen his walk with God.

“I was submerged fully into Christian life. Studying the Bible in and out of class, learning and growing in areas of music, and even just being with others was teaching me so much,” says Ian. “Even though I am an introvert, I am very much influenced by the people I’m around and it helps when they have only God on their mind.”

Josh says that his one year at Heritage was also excellent in how it provided him a place and community to grow within – in his faith, skills as a musician, and knowledge of worship.

“My musical abilities grew substantially, and I have a much better understanding of music theory,” says Josh. “And I feel that I finally understand why we worship.”

As a musician, Ian also says that the musical education that he received at Heritage in just one year provided him with knowledge that he now finds himself applying to different situations after graduating from the program. He sees how each lesson that he learned while at Heritage has allowed him to help his local church and has also impacted the way he lives each and every day for Christ.

For both Ian and Josh, this growth musically and spiritually was made even more incredible by the opportunity to live and grow in loving community centred on Christ. It was this experience to live and learn alongside other Christians that they say makes studying at Heritage for one year meaningful and worthwhile.

“The best thing you could do is just commit to one year and take each day as it comes because there will be plenty to learn and lots of fun to be had and I guarantee it will change your life for the better,” says Ian. “You are surrounded by great people, you will get to learn from awesome loving teachers, deepen your faith, and you will love God more each day in the process.”

Josh agrees with his brother after his one year at Heritage, saying that he would encourage others to take one year at Heritage and experience this community for themselves.

“I think the real question is why not choose Heritage? Heritage is a close community who truly cares for each other and wants to see those in the community grow,” says Josh.

Sharing the Light of the Gospel to the Nations

As a recent graduate from Heritage, I am currently in a season of reflection. Over my four years I have learned so much and experienced so many unique opportunities that have grown my relationship with the Lord.

One specific example began during my second year. I was helping with the ESL program. I remember being so nervous, as it was something I had never done before. Little did I know though that this day would end up being something the Lord would continually use from there on out to deepen my relationship with him and serve the nations.

Once my final year arrived, I needed to complete an internship. After much prayer, my mentor and I decided that continuing in ESL would be the perfect fit. This year stretched me far greater than I ever would have expected- especially having to navigate through COVID-19.

With COVID-19 restricting how we gather, the ESL classes begun being held over Zoom. It was a little strange when we first began switching from in person to online, but it ended up turning into a blessing for the ministry.

Being online allowed us to have multiple classes a week, which turned into the opportunity to share the gospel multiple times a week. This season of uncertainty with COVID, turned into a season of fruit and celebration.

One of my most memorable experiences was during Easter. I had the opportunity to plan an event for our students. Originally, I planned a socially distant event, as it complied with restrictions, however a few days prior, the restrictions changed and we were no longer able to continue with the event. This change in restrictions was not the end. The ESL team and I just needed to be a little more creative on ways to still present the gospel.

We ended up putting together some cards, flowers, goodie bags and printouts explaining the true meaning of Easter. With these gifts, we went to each student’s home to do a curb side drop off. To each of our students, it was a great surprise, as they felt both loved and valued by their teachers. I firmly believe God used this to strengthen the ministry.

There have been countless moments in this ministry that share the Lord at work, and I can’t praise him enough for having me be a part of them!

And so, as I move forward from my time at Heritage, I look forward to continuing to serve the Lord through ESL ministries, sharing the light of the gospel to the various nations.

To read more stories about how God has been working in and through Heritage, read our latest newsletter. Click here to read this year’s Spring & Summer Newsletter.

Dr. Ian J. Vaillancourt Honoured with the R.B.Y. Scott Award

Dr. Ian J. Vaillancourt’s 2019 monograph, The Multifaceted Saviour of Psalms 110 and 118: A Canonical Exegesis, has recently been recognized by the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies (CSBS) as the recipient of its R.B.Y. Scott Award. This award recognizes an outstanding book in the areas of Hebrew Bible and/or the Ancient Near East. It is named after Robert Balgarnie Young Scott, one of Canada’s most renowned Old Testament scholars.

When Dr. Vaillancourt received the news that he had received this award, he says that he was both honoured and encouraged as he continues to serve the Lord through a writing ministry.

As he looks back on the book that began his Ph.D. dissertation, Dr. Vaillancourt hopes that it influences Christians more broadly, by first convincing Psalms scholars to find Messianic hope in a Saviour to come as a prominent theme in the latter portion of the book of Psalms.

“Ultimately, I hope that Christ is exalted from this study of the Old Testament,” says Vaillancourt.

The CSBS, known for being the oldest humanities academic society in Canada, annually awards Canadian scholars who are interested in the academic study of the Bible in its literary and historical contexts. As a winner of the R.B.Y. Scott Award, Dr. Vaillancourt’s name has been added to the ranks of previous winners, who include Carmen Joy Imes, Iain Provan, John Kessler, Keith Bodner, and Mark Boda.

Dr. Vaillancourt continues to serve the Lord through his writing and publishing, and is currently working on several projects. These include books on the Pentateuch, the Psalms, and a pair of commentaries on 1 and 2 Samuel for the Pillar Old Testament Commentary series.

To learn more about Dr. Vaillancourt’s award winning scholarly monograph, please click here.

Honouring the Service and Work of Dr. David G. Barker

For over 40 years, Dr. David G. Barker’s ministry in the church and the academy has been defined by his heart for God and His Word. Whether one sat under his preaching in the church or under his teaching in the classrooms of London Baptist Bible College and London Baptist Seminary and Heritage College and Seminary, Dr. Barker has made a lasting impact on the lives and hearts of the many congregants and students who have been shaped by his devotion to God and the truth of Scripture.

Now, as Dr. Barker enters a new stage of his ministry in retirement, many who have served alongside him celebrate his twin passions for the theological academy and the local church in a collection of essays that have been compiled into a new book, Reading Scripture, Learning Wisdom: Essays in Honour of David G. Barker.

Dr. Barry Howson, Professor of Biblical Studies and Academic Dean of Heritage Theological Seminary, says that this festschrift is a fitting honour for Dr. Barker who has made a significant impact through his ministry in the church and academy.

“His impact has been felt in the church through his thoughtful exegetical preaching of the Word along with his caring pastoral ministry of his flock,” says Dr. Howson. “He has trained many students who are now ministering around the world as servants of Christ, and he has been a part of their preparation to handle the word with precision and relevance.”

Dr. Howson explains that each of the essays found in the festschrift represent several biblical and theological topics with a focus on Biblical Studies which has been the focal point of Dr. Barker’s time as a pastor and professor.

“This collection of essays emulates the scholarly and relevant pastoral and academic ministry that marked David’s life,” explains Howson. “As you read these essays you enter into David’s world over the past 40 years.”

To write these essays the book, co-edited by Dr. Howson along with Professor of Church History at Heritage Theological Seminary, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin, has brought together 15 contributors, most of whom have served alongside Dr. Barker throughout his ministry at Heritage and London. For Howson, each essay reflects Barker’s heart for the church that was always behind all his work in the academy.

“This collection of essays reflects David’s passion for the truth, not for the academy as an end in itself but for the church of Jesus Christ,” says Howson. “David has been an example of the reason for the academy’s existence – to serve the biblical and practical needs of the church.”

People can purchase a paperback edition of Reading Scripture, Learning Wisdom by contacting the Main Office at Heritage at or call Heritage at 1-800-465-1961 or 519-651-2869.

Celebrating Online Graduation 2021

Heritage College & Seminary celebrated the accomplishments of its graduating class of 2021 on April 30 and May 1 during its special Online Graduation 2021.

Graduates gathered online from their homes across the province along with the faculty of Heritage to recognize the diligent work and study of the Class of 2021 and commission them into life and ministry. Friends and family were able to join this year’s ceremonies by watching the event live on YouTube and hear each name of the graduating class read and recognized during each ceremony.

At this year’s college ceremony, President of Heritage College & Seminary Dr. Rick Reed shared a message from John 1:6-8, commissioning the students to know they have been sent to live as witnesses to the true light, Jesus Christ. Graduates also had the opportunity to hear an encouraging word from this year’s Valedictorian Joehelen Ravelo.

Dr. J. Stephen Yuille, Vice President of Academics, presented the Graduation Address to the graduates of Heritage Theological Seminary sharing truths from Galatians 4:19 that each should remember as they leave Heritage to serve Christ in ministry. This year’s Jack Scott Award winners Beverly Boyd and Parker Arnold were also recognized and shared their addresses to the seminary graduates.

Each ceremony also provided music and worship recorded by current students and graduates of both the college and seminary.

For a list of college and seminary award winners announced at each ceremony, please see below:

Heritage College – 2021 Graduation Awards

Academic Awards

The Certificate Program Academic Proficiency Award

Emily Cooper

The Fourth Year Academic Proficency Award

Joehelen Ravelo

The Zondervan Hebrew Award

Nathan Kapteyn

The Zondervan Greek Award

Brett Harris

The Wilson Banks Music Award

Mackenzie Cline

The ABWE Missions Award

Rebecca Johnson

Delta Epsilon Chi, Honour Society of ABHE

Nadime Ayoub & Joehelen Ravelo

Field Education Awards

The Gerry Benn Award for Christian Education

Jake Van Noggeren

The Pastoral Ministry Award

Marshall Morden

Other Awards

The Elsie M. Lawson Awards

Nadime Ayoub & Mackenzie Cline


Heritage Theological Seminary – 2021 Graduation Awards

Academic Awards

The Graduating Academic Proficiency Award

Parker Arnold and Jacob Tomc

The Harold Stainton Hebrew Award

Jacob Tomc

The Zondervan Greek Award

Parker Arnold

The Charles & Olive Tipp Church History Award

Phoebe Heng

The William & Leila Whitcombe Theology Award

Jacob Tomc

Field Education Awards

The Jack H. Watt Pastoral Ministry Award

Sean Sheeran and Jaye Rice

Other Awards

The Jack Scott Award

Parker Arnold and Beverly Boyd

Commissioning Graduates for Future Service Online

As another academic year draws to a close, Heritage College & Seminary is once again preparing to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of its graduating class online.

This year, Heritage will be hosting its online college graduation service on Friday, April 30 and will hold a separate service celebrating the graduates of Heritage Theological Seminary on Saturday, May 1. To mark each event, both services will be broadcasted live with graduates joining together online for this special ceremony.

Though the desire was to have our seminary and college graduates on campus this year, the circumstances and guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario have once again led to both ceremonies being online.

However, Heritage will still be marking the day in a special way with both graduating classes gathering together online from across the province. Friends and family will also be able to attend the service by watching the event live on

“Our graduation service is truly a highlight and high point in our year at Heritage.  It is a culmination where we celebrate past accomplishments.  At the same time, it is a commissioning to future service,” says Dr. Rick Reed, President of Heritage College & Seminary. “We rejoice as we anticipate the eternal impact these graduates will make for Christ in the years to come.”

Graduates will receive a special package at home from Heritage that will include a number of items including their diploma or degree, a graduation cap to wear for the ceremony, and a few gifts from Heritage in honour of their accomplishments.

Each service will include worship music led by students and alumni of both the college and seminary, as well as addresses from Dr. Reed at the college service and Dr. Stephen Yuille, Vice President of Academics, for the seminary celebration.

Join us online to celebrate with the class of 2021. The service for the college on April 30th begins at 2:00pm and the seminary service on May 1st will start at 10:30am.

Watch both celebrations at

Equipped to Make Jesus Known in Everything

In my years at Heritage, one of the foundational truths that the Lord helped me to realize was the incredible reality that He is to be made famous through absolutely everything and anything I do.

Spending the four years at Heritage, gave me the opportunity to be in a unique community of students and teachers that gave me the space to figure out what I needed to do in terms of profession, education, and understanding of who God was and who I was. I wrestled in Bible College about whether or not I was to go into something drumming focused or if I was to work within a church setting as a Worship Director. Looking back, the Lord gave me the opportunity to do both while also providing exceedingly more than what I ever thought.

After graduating Heritage, the Lord led me into a time of waiting for a year where I spent some time teaching drums at the local Long and McQuade Music store, as well as at a Christian School in Cambridge. After that year ended, I received a call from Oxford Baptist Church in Woodstock to become their Worship Director over a period of four years, while developing and running a program, called “OWL” or Oxford Worship Lessons, where I taught students how to play various instruments and play on the Worship Team.

Then, in 2020, I was flown to L.A. for a commercial run by Facebook to drum for a campaign for International Women’s Day and following the commercial I was overwhelmed by a number of students who were seeking to take drum lessons. At this point, I was teaching a little bit while I was working at Oxford, however I felt the Lord tugging on my heart for a change in direction. I left Oxford in March of 2020 and have been running my drum studio, Ransom Drum Lab, full time offering online and in-person drum lessons.

What I love about these jobs – as a Worship Director and now a Drum Educator – is that I’ve clearly seen the Lord direct and guide me through all of these scenarios, plus have had the opportunity to witness, to love, and to minister to people in various walks of life. Heritage equipped me for all these circumstances that have occurred in the past six years since I graduated, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Read Sharon’s stories and more in our latest Alumni Newsletter – arriving in mailboxes soon.

Heritage College & Seminary Announces Plans for Operation Under the Provincewide Emergency Brake Shutdown

In preparing to enter the Provincewide Emergency Brake Shutdown in Ontario, Heritage announces a number of changes to its current protocols and campus operations for the remainder of the academic year.

Posted April 1, 2021

With the recent announcement from the Government of Ontario, the province will officially move into a 28-day shutdown starting Saturday, April 3.

As a result, Heritage College & Seminary will be making the following changes to our protocols and operations on campus for the remainder of the academic year in order to continue providing a safe learning environment for our students.

College students will complete the winter semester through online delivery.

  • In keeping with the provincial regulations for colleges and universities, college classes will move to online, remote delivery.
  • Continuing to follow the Ministry’s guidance on practical Music & Worship Studies classes, the following classes will finish in-person:
    • Worship Leadership
    • Music Fundamentals II
    • Applied Lessons
  • Seminary courses will continue to be offered only online.
  • College professors will be in contact with students regarding further details on classes and exams.

The Heritage Library will move to a full pick-up service.

  • Books can be ordered from Heather Okrafka: and you will be notified when they are available for pickup.
  • All book requests will need to be made the day before pick-up, and books will be made available for pick-up from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
  • Seminary students will be able to utilize the Heritage Library using the new pick-up method.
  • The book drop off will be open all the time for returns.
  • Scanning of material can also be arranged by contacting Heather Okrafka.

Off-Campus Students may only come on campus for essential purposes.

  • Essential services include: Library Pick-Up and Counselling Services.

The Use of the Heritage Community Centre will be limited for the remainder of the semester.

  • The Heritage Community Centre will only be available for students for only individual study space during the emergency brake shutdown.
  • Students will be able to access the space from 8:00am to 4:30pm.
  • Tables and booths will be limited to one student or one apartment only.
  • The Fitness Centre and Gymnasium will be closed for the remainder of the semester.

Residence at Heritage will remain open for the remainder of the semester.

  • Students who choose to finish the semester in residence will be required to stay on campus until the assigned move-out day.
  • Students will be permitted to only make trips off campus for essential purposes which include groceries, pharmacy, work, or medical appointments.
  • With churches being allowed to open at 15% capacity, students will still be allowed to attend church while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks, and following public health measures. 

Starting Monday, April 5, the Cafeteria will offer meals to students through take-out.

  • All meals will need to be picked up in the Cafeteria and taken back to your residence rooms.

Outdoor gatherings are permitted with a limit of 5 people

  • Gatherings may only occur outdoors with a maximum of 5 people while maintaining physical distancing.

Heritage Staff and Faculty are required to work from home starting Monday, April 5.

  • All staff and faculty of Heritage will be required to work from home, unless they are given permission from their supervisor.

Heritage College & Seminary Moves into Red-Control on Tuesday, February 16

As the Region of Waterloo transitions into a Red-Control zone under the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, Heritage College & Seminary is announcing a number of changes to current protocols.

Posted February 16, 2021

After the announcement from the Government of Ontario on February 12, all communities under the Region of Waterloo Public Health will officially enter the Red-Control zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework when the Stay-at-Home Order ends on Tuesday, February 16th at midnight.

Given the move back to the provincial framework, Heritage College & Seminary will be making a variety of changes to our current protocols and campus operations in order to continue our efforts to create a safe learning environment for our students and seek the safety and good of others.

Please note that these protocols will continue to be subject to change as the government will be re-assessing the effectiveness of health and safety measures every two weeks.

Course Delivery for college students will move back to in-person classes starting Monday, February 22.

  • All on-campus, Section 1, college classes at Heritage will once again be offered in an in-person format.
  • College students enrolled in Section 23 (live-stream) will continue to join classes online.
  • Heritage will continue to use our larger classrooms in order to maintain physical distancing and to ensure a healthy on-campus learning environment.
  • All students enrolled in on-campus college classes, living on campus or off campus, will be welcome to attend classes at Heritage while adhering to physical distancing guidelines and properly wearing a mask.
  • All classes for Heritage Theological Seminary will continue to be delivered online.

Library will be open for in-person service.

  • The Heritage Library will be open to enrolled students, staff, and faculty from Monday to Thursday from 11:30am to 4:30pm and 6:30pm to 9:30pm, Friday from 11:30am to 4:30pm, and Saturday from 11:00am to 2:00pm.

Students will once again have access to the Heritage Community Centre.

  • The Heritage Community Centre will be open for regular hours starting Tuesday, February 16.
  • All furniture has been rearranged in order to create a safe space for students to use while under Red – Control. Students are asked that all furniture within the Heritage Community Centre remain where it is placed and are not to be moved.
  • Other than for classes, Chapel services, or Cafeteria usage, each room in the HCC will not exceed a capacity of 10 people unless otherwise posted.

The Fitness Centre will reopen for pre-booked use effective Tuesday, February 16.

  • All visits to the Fitness Centre must be booked in advance. To book a time, please be in contact with Cassie Talabis at
  • Please maintain a physical distance of 3 metres at all times.
  • Masks are required, except when exercising.
  • Please immediately clean and wipe down equipment immediately after use.

The Gym will reopen for individual physical activity and all team sports will remain cancelled.

  • Under Ontario’s public health measures for regions designated Red – Control, team sports must not be practiced or played. As a result, all team sports have been cancelled and will not be allowed in the Gym.
  • The Gym will remain open for use with a maximum of 10 people and can only be used for individual physical activity. (ex. Shooting a basketball)

Limiting Off-Campus Trips for Essential Purposes including attending church.

  • Following the recommendations from Waterloo Region’s Medical Officer of Health, all students are asked to carefully consider and limit all trips off-campus.
  • It is important that each student only make trips for essential purposes which include groceries, pharmacy, school or work, and medical appointments.
  • Under the Red-Control level, churches will resume to be open and students will still be allowed to attend church while maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks, and following public health measures.

The Cafeteria will be open for dining and will continue to provide take-out options starting Monday, February 22.

  • All furniture will continue to be arranged in order to ensure physical distancing is maintained and all tables and chairs will be required to stay in their given space and must not be moved.
  • Students will be required to continue limiting table capacity to a maximum of three people.

Heritage Staff and Faculty will continue to be encouraged to work from home.

  • If a staff or faculty member requires access to the campus or to work from Heritage, they are required to receive approval from their supervisor.

 All protocols will continue to be in effect.

  • As the winter semester begins, all campus protocols will remain active, including:
    • You must wear an appropriately fitting mask inside of all campus buildings, with the exception of your residence room.
    • You must swipe in and out of all campus buildings using the swipe card issued by the main office. When you use the swipe card, you are confirming that you are feeling well and are not displaying any of the common symptoms of COVID-19. Please use the Ontario COVID-19 Self-Assessment found at
    • You must sanitize your hands when you enter and leave all campus buildings and keep a physical distance of 6 feet or 2 metres.

New Protocols for the Winter Semester at Heritage

In light of the Ontario-wide stay-at-home order and other recently heightened measures, Heritage College & Seminary announces new protocols for the winter semester.

Posted January 13, 2021

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, the Government of Ontario has declared the beginning of the province’s second state-of-emergency. In this announcement, public health measures have tightened more, including an Ontario-wide stay-at-home order effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01am – requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes.

Given the new restrictions and the stay-at-home order, Heritage College & Seminary has had to make significant changes to our protocols and how the campus will operate under these announced measures.

Heritage has made great efforts to create a safe learning environment for our students this winter semester, while striving to comply with the directions given by our governing officials and to show love for our neighbour.

The Heritage Community Centre will be restricted until further notice.

  • Effective Thursday, January 14, the Student Centre, Bean, Study Spaces overlooking the Gym and Chapel will be closed to student access.
  • Heritage will continue to re-evaluate how the Community Centre is used throughout the semester.

The Heritage Library will suspend in-person services and move to full pick-up service.

  • Books can be ordered from Heather Okrafka: and you will be notified when they are available for pickup.
  • All book requests will need to be made the day before pick-up, and books will be made available for pick-up from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
  • The book drop will be open all the time for returns.
  • Scanning of material can also be arranged by contacting Heather Okrafka.

The Cafeteria will move to a take-out model.

  • All meals will need to be picked up in the Cafeteria and taken back to your residence rooms to enjoy.

Gatherings will be limited to five people outdoors.

  • Under the provincial guidelines, social gatherings can still occur outdoors with a maximum of 5 people, while maintaining physical distancing.

Bookstore and Counselling Services will still operate.

  • The Bookstore will still provide pick-up options for students. Please contact the Bookstore for more details.
  • Counselling services will still operate at Heritage following the provincial guidelines.

Off-Campus Students may only come on campus for essential services.

  • Essential services include: Library Pick-Up, Take-Out Food Services, Counselling Services.
  • Seminary Students will be able to utilize the Heritage Library using the new pick-up format.

 Ice Rink

  • Weather permitting, the Ice Rink at Heritage will have a maximum capacity of 5 skaters.
  • Recreational skating and skills practice are permitted.
  • Hockey or Shinny will not be allowed under provincial guidelines.

Residence Students will be provided with a discounted fee for the Winter 2021 Semester.

  • Given the changes to living on campus, Heritage will be providing all on-campus, residence students with a 25% discount on this semester’s fees – equalling $525.
  • If you feel like you are unable to stay, there will be a partial refund of 75% provided.
  • Students who decide to leave will be making the decision to leave for the remainder of the semester.
  • Residence students will have until the morning of Thursday, January 14 to inform Student Services on their decision.

 Staff and Faculty of Heritage are required to work from home.

  • In light of the stay-at-home order, all staff and faculty of Heritage will be required to work from home, unless they are given permission from their supervisor.

We continue to look forward to seeing how God will work in the lives of our entire Heritage community as we begin the winter semester at the college and seminary.