CCDC History

Church-of-Christ-Convention-McKernan-Aug-1957 new

The Church of Christ Development Company Ltd. (CCDC) had its beginnings in the 1950s. Until that time, Canadian churches of the Stone-Campbell movement had employed the loan fund of the American Board of Church Extension. The Canadian churches were encountering problems due to government regulations, so they met at the Canadian Disciples Planning Conference in 1956 to seek to establish an organization in Canada that could meet the needs of Canadian churches more effectively. Out of this conference, the Church of Christ Development Company Ltd. was established and registered on October 16, 1957, in the province of Alberta.

The Founding Directors were:

President: Dr. Marcus Dunsworth, Secretary -Treasurer: John Bergman, Carl Stainton, Landon Bailey, William Murray, Lorne Pearson

Dr. Marcus Dunsworth was the first President of the Church of Christ Development Company Ltd.

The fund began with a director’s loan of approximately four thousand dollars. Since church loans were hard to secure and often were not recoverable, it was established that half the fund should be invested in non-church securities. This principle proved to be invaluable in protecting investors through difficult economic times while providing long-term stability to congregations for borrowing.

John Bergman’s ideas contributed to the inception of CCDC, and he guided the company for most of his life.

During the summer of 1958, the Company began its first support project: the building of Wyndholme Christian Church and parsonage in Dartmouth, NS. In those early days, the task of securing funds from investors was a difficult one, but by the end of that first year, Wyndholme Christian Church was standing with the aid of the Church of Christ Development Company’s first loan, and the Company’s assets stood at $23,000. The loan to Wyndholme was taken over by the Board of Church Extension, and the CCDC continued to provide interim financing over the next several years by supporting:

  • Parkland Christian Church in Red Deer, AB
  • Community Christian Church in Vancouver, BC
  • The Maritime Christian Missionary Society in South Range, NS

By 1960 and1961, the CCDC went on to provide financing for Tuxedo Park Christian Church in Calgary as it

Catherine Brownlee was   instrumental in CCDC leadership serving as Secretary-Treasurer from 1966-2006. Her dedicated service was a constant strength.

relocated and became Cambrian Heights Christian Church. In 1962, when Alberta Bible College moved to a site beside Cambrian Christian Church, the Company was in a more secure position and could offer its  first long-term financing. Four other congregations received financing in the 1960s: Selkirk, ON; Hardieville, AB; Great Bend, AB; Grande Prairie, AB; and Central Church of Christ, AB, which became First Christian Church.

In 1966, the board of directors changed. Dr. Brian Dunsworth replaced his father, who had recently passed away, while John Bergman became President and Catherine Brownlee was elected as Secretary-Treasurer.

Church growth was not as rapid in the 1970s as it was in the previous decade. The CCDC, however, continued to grow as loans were repaid and people invested in and donated to it. By God’s provision in 1972, the total assets had reached one million dollars. There were 16 new loans to congregations and organizations, but only four were for new congregations (Glenmore, AB; Brock Road, ON; Sackville, NS; and Winnipeg, MB).

Carl Leviston served as a lawyer for the Church of Christ Development Company for over 40 years. His benevolence made possible the development of many churches across Canada.

Loan sizes began to grow in the 1980s, and in the 1990s the Company made loans to 10 more congregations in an amount that totaled more than $1,400,000.   In the early 1990s, the CCDC assisted Maritime Christian College in Charlottetown in acquiring a new facility. This was followed by involvement in the financing of a new facility for Bow Valley Christian Church, formerly Cambrian Heights Christian Church.

On January 30, 2000, after preaching at First Christian Church, the Lord called John Bergman home.  By God’s blessing, total assets at that time were close to 20 million dollars.

Project Support Funds continue to be a source of income for the Company. The interest rate is the same rate that is charged on loans to churches. This is possible largely because of an extremely low operating budget. A further source of income is Designated Gift Funds (formerly Named Funds). The first DGF was presented on the steps of Hillcrest Christian Church in Toronto in 1957. Today, these funds represent over twelve million of our capital. These funds do not pay a return to the donor, but the donor can specify his or her intention to either have the fund increase annually by sharing in the capital growth of the company or to have the interest on the fund paid out to a charitable recipient of their choice.

Catherine Bergman became Managing Director after John Bergman’s death in 2000, and served as Gerneral Manager for the company until 2012. She is presently serving as Investment Administrator.

In 2001, after years of uncertainty regarding our charitable designation with Canada Customs and Revenue, the Company was recognized as a non-profit organization.  This has enabled us to devote much more of our funds and resources to church building and development.  The CCDC is very grateful to all the congregations, organizations, and individuals of the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ whose support and prayers have made a tremendous difference through this time.

In 1999, Mill Village Church of Christ in Nova Scotia took the first a cappella loan from the Company.  Today, one third of the CCDC’s loans are made to a cappella churches located across Canada.

With the goal of spreading the gospel message, the Church of Christ Development Company Ltd. looks forward to having many more new and exciting opportunities for church building and development in Canada.