The Christian retirement community Elim Village in Surrey, BC, has had strong ties with Trinity Western University since its establishment in 2001. The organization’s mission, “to provide seniors, living in Christian community, with an enriched quality of life,” seems to be a natural continuation of TWU’s own focus on Christ-centered community. This year we were pleased to have Elim Village as a returning partner for Alumni Weekend 2014.
Elim Village provides a variety of living arrangements to their residents including independent living, assisted living, and residential care. These options allow residents to increase their level of care as needed, without leaving their established community.
Gerry and Margaret Ballard, seven-year residents of Elim, were attracted to this model of care. “I had just got over a triple bypass and we were living in a house that got too big for us,” Gerry explains. “We lived within a mile of Elim, and watched them start with duplexes and continue to develop. We decided it would be a good place to go.”
The Ballards have a number of personal connections to Trinity Western. Both of their sons have graduated from TWU, Phil in ’74 and Bill in ’02. “Phil graduated when it was a two year school,” says Gerry. “He started a soccer team, and got very involved with a musical group. It was a good experience; it helped him as he continued into education.” Phil’s daughter Rachel also graduated from TWU, in 2010. Gerry and Margaret’s grandson Paul (’06) recieved a degree in Human Kinetics and met his wife Roslynn (’07). Paul currently helps with the men’s soccer team at TWU. All Ballard family alumni were active students and remain involved members of the TWU community as alumni.
Gerry believes that the strong connection between TWU and Elim Village is a natural fit. Trinity Western was formed by the Evangelical Free Church, while Elim Village has similar church roots, beginning with a Christian Reformed vision. “It’s a natural fit for [evangelical Christians] to consider Trinity if they’re going to university,” says Gerry.
At Alumni Weekend it has become a tradition for Elim Village residents and staff to serve pancake breakfasts to alumni. Many of them greet family or friends who are part of the TWU community. Gerry, one of this year’s pancake hosts, enjoys connecting with his family on campus each year. “It’s good, particularly this year. Last year Phil’s wife came, and my grandchildren, and we had breakfast together at Trinity.”
Trinity Western University and Elim Village have developed a shared community through alumni and family connections. Our mutual emphasis on Christian community and living a life led by faith make us proud to partner with Elim Village for years to come.