Marvin Bierling, Our In-Coming GCCS Principal

Mr. Bierling was born in the Holland Marsh, Ontario—the highly visible farming community off highway 400 just north of Canada’s Wonderland. He was raised and formed through the Christian school system, and after some public university experience, completed his bachelor and education degrees at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario.

Mr. Bierling taught the upper grades at Strathroy Community Christian School and after eight years became the Vice-Principal. Four years later he was the principal. Five years later in 2010 he decided it was time for a change and was hired as principal of Chatham Christian School—a JK to Grade 12 institution. Mr. Bierling has been doing some important work there and is much appreciated by his staff, board, and colleagues. But when he was nudged with the news of GCCS’s need for a new principal, he was prompted to consider, and through prayer, conversation, and a good process, he and his wife realized God was calling them to come to Guelph.

Mr. Bierling married his grade school sweetheart, Margherita, who also went to Redeemer and became a teacher. She has worked in the special education and the social work fields and will be looking for some suitable employment in Guelph. They have three daughters, each of which will be post-high school by June 2017. They have extended family in the vicinity of the GTA, and this move will certainly bring them much closer to their loved ones. We have attached a photo of Mr. Bierling and his immediate family below.

The Principal Search Committee and the board both enjoyed their interviews with Mr. Bierling. He is an affable, humorous, and wise conversation partner, and we immediately warmed to his presence and personality. He brings some good experience with him as well as a deep commitment to community building and the always precarious project of Christian education in Ontario. Mr. Bierling told us that Christian school leadership is both “tough and rewarding” and it requires collaboration. His references added that Mr. Bierling is both a relational leader and a man of vision and administrative acumen.

Part of Mr. Bierling’s philosophy of education shows the depth of his understanding of faith’s importance to learning in every subject area:

The worldview in a Christian school celebrates that every cubic centimetre of this world belongs to God. In all subject areas, students must see God. In Bible class, students see that they are part of God’s past and current story of salvation. In language arts, students learn that they can glorify God or curse God and his people with our use of language. In math, students should be filled with awe at discovering the patterns established at the creation of the world. In science, students can see the beauty and wonder of a creative God who loves detail. In history, students will see that God’s people have either honoured Him in their actions or rebelled against Him. Our world belongs to God and students need to see that every day.

His perspective is well suited to our mission to “nurture, educate and inspire students in Christ-centred learning and serving.”

His motivations for his work come from a genuine reliance on God and a desire to “catch glimpses of his kingdom” in everyday life. He spoke of “retrospective providence”—which he explained meant we do not always understand why God is doing something at the time but when we reflect back on events, it’s apparent that God’s timing was just right.

This feels like a moment of retrospective providence. Mr. Bierling was not looking to leave Chatham. But a phone call, some conversations, and a few trips to Guelph have shaped a different future for him and for our school. We pray for our sister school, Chatham Christian, as they sort out their next steps, and we wish God’s blessing on the Bierlings’ transition from Chatham to Guelph. We hope to introduce you to Mr. Bierling at our Vision Night in the new year, and then again at the spring general membership meeting.

We hope you had a very merry Christmas, knowing that God came to renew his creation 2000 years ago, that he will return to bring full justice and peace someday, and even now we catch glimpses of his help and healing in our community. Everyday.

On behalf of the GCCS board,

Peter Schuurman (chair) David Rekker (vice-chair), Joel Koops (treasurer), Melissa Currie (secretary), Karen Proper, Jen Laskowski, Pieter Roeffel, and Sandy Burkhart