A Letter to the Community

Apr 26, 2014

The Board of Charis Village Housing Society of Central Alberta would like to inform you of ongoing developments. 

Several years ago a group of volunteers with a common interest and vision began meeting to explore the possibility of providing a Christian 'aging in place" facility for the Central Alberta region. 

A vision statement was developed: "to provide a not for profit organization based on Christian values, providing a caring community for seniors by respecting their needs with dignity and compassion." We selected the name "Charis" which means grace.

We envision a community where seniors may "age with grace". Grace is a gift from God (Ephesians 2: 8-10)  and we hope that as "Charis" grows, it will develop into a gift for the Christian community and its seniors as well as for the broader Central Alberta community.


A mission statement and a statement of faith were also developed and these can be viewed on our website at www.charisvillage.ca.

 In 2009, $100,000 in "seed money" was raised. We are most thankful to the contributors of this money for their vision and generosity as it enabled us to get the project off the ground. 

 By the end of 2009, after many organizational and planning meetings, we elected Board members and formed two societies; a Housing Society and a Housing Foundation.  We also secured charitable status for our Housing Foundation. 

 A Market Feasibility Study was commissioned for the Lacombe area through funding by the Alberta government. We met with and commissioned a study through two professors at the King's University College in Edmonton; Dr. Eldon Wiebe & Dr. David Long. This study has helped us to formulate the type of facility and community we hope to build and can be viewed on our website, www.charisvillage.ca.  

 Throughout the planning phase, we retained the services of Marten Van Huizen as our consultant. Marten has a great passion for senior housing projects and has extensive experience in this area.  He was instrumental in the building and operation of Elim Village in Surrey, B.C.  In many ways we are modeling our project based on Elim. To gain a better understanding of what we are trying to develop with Charis, have a look at the Elim website at www.elimvillage.ca.

 Last fall informal information meetings were held in the Woodynook area at the homes of Pauline Prins and Peter Kuipers. The meetings were well attended and we were pleased with the input and feedback gathered. The Charis Board was encouraged to move forward.

At the end of December, three board members completed their terms of service and elections were held for new board members. We are happy to welcome Glenda Johnson, Wim Schakel and Jim Stenhouse to the Charis board.  Finishing their terms after four years were David How, Irene Prins and Bill Wildeboer.  We are thankful for their years of service and pray for wisdom for the new board members. 

For the past number of years our Land Committee has been searching for a suitable 20-30 acre parcel of land in Lacombe. We are optimistic that land will soon be acquired and our plan is to begin by building independent units (duplexes and apartments) and then, as the need increases and resources become available, to build both assisted living and long term care facilities.

Near the end of January 2014, a letter of intent for a twenty-nine acre parcel of land was signed between Charis Village and the Canadian University College. This letter indicates that both parties are committed toward reaching a deal. It will be the basis for the actual land purchase. Currently, this letter is with our lawyers and we anticipate that a formal document will be signed this summer. This is a very exciting development in our goal of securing a property.

On April 24, 2014 we were thankful that Marten Van Huizen, our consultant from B.C., was able to attend meetings with us in Lacombe. Marten and Peter Kuipers attended a meeting with the CUC, and later met with both the Land Committee and Finance Committee. Last fall Marten was diagnosed with cancer and has since received treatments and major surgery. In May he will begin three more months of chemotherapy. Throughout much of this time Marten has continued to work on projects that he is involved in. Marten is firmly grounded in the Lord and is an inspiration to us all. Marten has met this challenge with courage and grace and we ask that you all keep Marten and his family in your prayers. 

In the near future we will be meeting with the City of Lacombe to deal with transportation issues. The CUC has been developing an outline plan for the area of land that includes our twenty-nine acre parcel. They are working to satisfy the many requirements in order to meet City approval. 

Over the years the Charis Village Board and Finance Committee has researched how to finance the purchase of the land and how to pay expenses for legal, accounting and land development consulting services related to the start up of the Charis Village project. To accomplish this goal the Charis Village Housing Society intends to raise funds from investors through a limited partnership agreement. We realize that we have to raise a significant amount of money. We hope and trust that there are investors in our community that share our vision of a Christian Retirement Community with a "campus of care" model in Lacombe. We will be approaching people in our community that have expressed an interest in this project. If you would like more information on investing in Charis Village contact Peter Zuidhof by phone or email ptrzdhf(at)telus.net or Peter Kuipers, Wim Schakel, Jim Stenhouse or Jack VandenPol. 

We are excited and hopeful that the Christian community will embrace this project as we will need the support of many to make this vision a reality. As a Board we feel strongly that the Lord is guiding us and we ask for your prayers as we continue to move forward. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to contact one of our board members:

  • Peter Kuipers---President 403-748-4265
  • Glenda Johnson 403-782-6853
  • Jack Vanden Pol---Vice-President 403-346-7159
  • Wim Schakel 403-885-2912
  • Pauline Prins---Secretary 403-782-2600
  • Hans Spelt 403-782-6039
  • Peter Zuidhof---Treasurer 403-885-5263
  • Jim Stenhouse 403-782-3053
  • Helen Doef 403-782-2702

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