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.

Growing a Deeper Heart for Prayer

When only days into the beginning of the winter semester, college students living in residence received the news that the province would be entering a stay-at-home order in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As for many across the province, this announcement led to many changes to daily life. For students living on campus this meant classes would continue to be delivered online, indoor community spaces would be temporarily closed during the order, and efforts to serve in the community were not able to happen.

Though at times this was a discouraging situation, many students looking back now see how God used the circumstances surrounding the stay-at-home order to grow their heart for prayer.

With guidelines allowing the opportunity to meet outdoors, students coordinated opportunities to continue meeting for prayer during the stay-at-home order outside, physically distanced, and in groups of five in the parking lot every morning and evening.

In the mornings, groups would focus on different topics like unreached people groups, government leaders, and the staff and faculty at Heritage. While in the evenings, their prayers were always centered around a Bible passage, which would be read and prayed through.

“It was so encouraging to see more and more students coming out and being part of this amazing ministry,” says Shannon Jabs, a Bachelor of Religious Education student who helped coordinate these prayer meetings. “It brought us together in a time when there wasn’t really much we could do ministry wise, while also being helpful in raising our spirits and encouraging us to discipline ourselves to pray in a time of great need.”

Bachelor of Religious Education student Ethan Skinner explains that these prayer meetings have become a such a large part of community life at Heritage not only because of how they have positively impacted the mental health of the students, but how he has seen the students grow in their belief in the power of prayer.

“There are many students who believe that God is literally changing the world through the prayers of His people; that God’s hand is not shortened by the amount of people who are praying (Matt. 18:19-20),” explains Skinner. “Coming together to pray over each other and intercede on behalf of the community has brought us together in a very special way.”

As much as these times of prayer have had a deep effect on the spiritual health of the student community, they have also greatly impacted individual students in how they have strengthened their faith and given them a new opportunity to treasure prayer more.

Tori Lesniara, a Bachelor of Religious Education – Intercultural Studies student, explains that as a student learning and growing in her love for God, that her heart has found great comfort by sharing what she has learned in the classroom in praise and petition through prayer with her brothers and sisters on campus.

“While we haven’t been able to worship together as frequently as we’d like, together we are learning the discipline and delight of drawing close to the One who continues to hold us,” says Lesniara. “We come together as children of God, weary because of the circumstances, to pray to our Father who has been faithful to give us rest in Him.”

For Jabs, these times of prayer provided a reminder of the importance of prayer in the lives of believers, while being a source of personal peace in the midst of the stay-at-home order.

“There were many times when I didn’t feel like going out in the cold and, even though there were many times when it was chilly and uncomfortable, it always encouraged me and made me feel peace and joy in the Lord’s presence,” explains Jabs. “I don’t know how we would have gotten through the lockdown without the Lord’s grace and faithfulness, and it was so wonderful to seek His face as a community and be reminded of our great need for Him.”

Looking Ahead to Fall 2021 at Heritage College & Seminary

Looking ahead to the start of a new academic year beginning this September, Heritage College & Seminary is pleased to announce that we are planning and preparing to offer on-campus, in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester.

Plans for Course Delivery in the Fall of 2021

In September, Heritage is planning to have both college and seminary classes being offered on the campus while following active public health guidelines for our region and Ontario. 

Whether it be personal health concerns or distance from the school, Heritage understands that our students may face a number of different circumstances that may not allow them to come to campus for classes. In order to continue to serve our students, Heritage will be upgrading its technology on campus in order to offer a livestreaming, hybrid option for all in-class college and seminary courses starting this fall.

The college and seminary will also offer a number of classes throughout the Fall 2021 semester that will be held solely online, while a select few courses will be offered only on-campus.

Residence and Student Experience

The Student Services team continue to be committed both college and seminary students with a quality student experience and will be preparing ways to help foster a healthy community on campus for students to learn and grow within.

For both new and returning college students, plans are also being made to continue to keep our residence buildings open and operational this Fall while following any guidelines that will be in place at the beginning of the academic year. Applications for residence this fall are available here.

Planning within Guidelines and Protocols from Public Health and the Province

As we prepare for Fall 2021, Heritage acknowledges that there will likely still be a number of restrictions and guidelines set out by our provincial and regional public health officials that we will be required to follow in order to offer a safe learning environment. As a result, all plans for September will be made while following the requirements and precautions necessary to allow Heritage the opportunity to operate on-campus.

We are grateful for how God has allowed us the opportunity to continue on in our mission to train and equip men and women for life and ministry over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year.

Now, as we prayerfully plan and prepare for the start of another academic year, we are looking forward to continuing this mission while offering a safe and welcoming learning environment on campus for both our college and seminary students.

Heritage will continue to share additional information and plans in the coming months leading up to the start of the Fall 2021 semester on our website.

Unfolding the Wonders of the Gospel in the Book of Romans

Dr. J. Stephen Yuille, Vice President of Academics and Academic Dean of the College, is convinced that today we need hope more than anything else. As we enter the first months of a new year in the midst of an on-going pandemic, it is evident that many people are struggling with despair and disappointment. Yuille is convinced that we would do well to focus on the central message of hope found in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

“The only remedy is to abound in hope – the life-changing certainty that someday we’ll have all that God has promised,” says Yuille. “Paul focuses our attention on the gospel – God’s goodness toward us in Christ. And he encourages us to fix our eyes on Him. As the anchor steadies the ship in the midst of the storm, so hope keeps us steady in the storms of life.”

In The Obedience of Faith Yuille guides readers to the wonder of God’s gospel. He explains how Paul’s letter to the Romans unlocks the depths of God’s Word, unfolds the wonders of Christian theology, and establishes the pillars of Evangelical piety unlike any other book in the Bible.

Yuille mentions that it has been his privilege to preach through Paul’s epistle on three occasions while ministering in churches in Portugal, Ontario, and Texas. As he has done so, God has used it to impact his own life and ministry. “I think Martin Luther said it best: ‘This epistle can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes,’” explains Yuille.

To learn more about The Obedience of Faith: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, please visit the publisher’s website here.