After 27 years as a school community, which started with just a few families in a province that was very unaccustomed to Christian education, Immanuel Christian School (ICS) in Prince Edward Island appears to be on the cusp of a new stage.
Principal Matthew Mann describes the school’s current mental space as one of health and readiness to move ahead with a more ambitious plan.
“We sense the Lord’s pleasure,” Mann tells OACS News.
“We feel protected by Him, and sense His blessings in all kinds of ways around the school, and that is making people just breathe a sigh of relief and of gratitude, especially given that the history here hasn’t always been so easy.”
Some of the indications of God’s favour and reasons for new hope include the fact that the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) member is seeing unprecedented growth.
In recent years, ICS has built on the quality of its education; it’s become better recognized in the community as the go-to school for great community and great learning and in the process it’s grown steadily.
This growth, coupled with a few other reasons, have since triggered the need to move from the church building the school has occupied for 20-plus years — a place that served ICS’ needs extremely well until now, according to Mann.
A Charlottetown church has indicated interest in providing ICS with several acres of land it has owned for decades. Mann describes the land as fantastic, located in city limits but undeveloped, so there are woods and fields and other beauties of nature.
Several ICS committees have been formed and are in the process of working out the details of obtaining this land and building a new facility.
An additional exciting possibility in the move is that a dream lying dormant for six years or so to add a high school to the ICS ministry could come to life in the new and larger facility.
Mann adds he has great hopes for what the new building will do for the people in it.
“I think a building shapes the people that are in it,” he says.
“When we were smaller this building was a positive influence on the school because of how bright and small it is, but now that we don’t fit, we’re hoping the next location will be a different and better blessing for the size of school that we’ve become.”
A capital campaign for the new school facility could begin as early as this fall.
Mann notes the school leadership doesn’t want to build something that has regrettable features so they’re trying to be “slow and wise.”
Asked about the school’s strengths that he hopes to see brought into this new future, Mann says it’s the school community’s current enjoyment in being what it is.
“The school is a place where children love to be, and having worked in enough schools now through my career I think this is a very distinctive feature of the school, that teachers and parents and children are happy here,” says Mann.
He adds he believes that enjoyment of being a Christian community centred around learning is what will continue to give the school cohesion and strength, even if the coming years involve upheaval and difficulty.