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Classis Opens Heart and Wallet for Christian School


Bearing witness to the Christian Reformed Church’s commitment to Christian day school education, Classis Northern Illinois delegates voted to give direct support to a local Christian school.

At its September meeting, the classis (a regional group of churches) voted to support Unity Christian School, Fulton, Ill., for the next five years, starting with $50,000 in the first year and ending with $10,000 in the fifth year.

Unity is the only school affiliated with Christian Schools International within a 130-mile radius and fills a need that would go unmet if Unity closed its doors. The school currently has students from more than 40 area churches.

The funds from the classis will be used for a tuition-reduction incentive program that started five years ago when longtime school supporter Ike Klavenga passed away and left a sizeable gift to the K-12 school.

By offering families a reduced tuition for the first three years their children are enrolled, the school increased its enrollment by 15 percent.

Unity’s superintendent, Dick Ritzema, explained, “This provides [families] with some time to experience the benefits of Christian education and to adjust family budgets and lifestyles.”

Ritzema recognizes that the classis’s decision to support the school reaffirms the CRC’s commitment to Christian education. “This funding from classis encourages local pastors and congregations to support what they teach, preach, and believe denominationally.”

“If Unity Christian School fails to retain its 85-year Reformed heritage as an excellent and viable Christian school, the CRC loses,” said Ritzema. “If it succeeds, it’s because the denomination that birthed the concept more than 130 years ago still believes that Christian education is relevant for today’s children and the darkening culture that surrounds them.”

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