Son View House, a residence accommodating student leaders and other Christian students attending Brock University in Thorold, Ont., begins its first year as a ministry venue for Brock Campus Ministry this September, with the arrival of its eight student residents.
The Brock chaplaincy is a ministry of the Christian Reformed churches in the Niagara region of Ontario. Son View House is envisioned as a home for students with some common spaces available for outreach such as group Bible studies or welcoming gatherings, similar to Geneva House, a CRC campus ministry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Chaplain Andre Basson had been in discussion with supporters over the past several years. The vision came to fruition after reaching out to a local CRC member with a background in property management.
“They called me because I have experience with student housing,” said Ron Mulder, a member of Trinity CRC in St. Catharines, Ont. “It was on my heart because Andre had preached at Trinity a number of times, and he expressed that he often feels like an island without a lot of support. We didn’t know what to do to help, so when this came up, it was really neat.”
Mulder found a house and purchased it, with the help of two other supportive individuals’ loans. At the moment he is “the keeper of the house” which is operating as a nonprofit, using the students’ rent to pay off the mortgage. The hope is that eventually the house will become an asset for the ministry.
“It will grow into its role,” Basson said, noting that he looks to the students to create the traditions of the house. “Campus ministry can become a kind of refuge [for Christians], but if it’s only that it doesn’t impact the whole campus. I want my student leaders to be equipped to address the situations they face,” Basson said. This off-campus home on the bus route to the university can allow the ministry to “connect with Thorold and be a hub for missional activity in the neighborhood.”
Four female students and four male students, including those in their first, second, and third years of study are occupying the house this year.