Christian Courier’s editor Angela Reitsma Bick is the recipient of Redeemer University’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing her contributions to journalism as well as the Christian faith evident in her work and community.
Graduating from the Ancaster, Ont. university’s liberal arts program in 2001 and earning a master’s in English at Queen’s University, Reitsma Bick is now in her 12th year as CC editor and has poured her talent into more than 200 issues of the independent newspaper.
CC’s editor works from her home in Newcastle, Ont., where she lives with her husband Allan and their three children: Robin (15), Alba (13) and Ben (9). Long-time CC subscribers have read many editorials about her family and faith life, including their recent adventures getting a puppy and travelling to Scotland right before the pandemic began.
Dr. Deborah Bowen, Professor Emerita of English at Redeemer University, is “thrilled” that Reitsma Bick received the award.
“As well as honouring her own giftedness and hard work, this award acknowledges the way in which a woman with young children can, at the same time as being a great mom, enable growth and development in a ministry like that of Christian Courier,” Bowen says. “This makes a very important statement about the value of both family and profession.”
Bowen says in addition to being a fine writer and discerning critic, Reitsma Bick is thoughtful and caring. “I can’t think of better qualities for an editor, especially in these days when the need for a clear and compassionate Christian voice is paramount.”
Reitsma Bick is passionate about developing new writers and finds joy in stories well told. Philosopher Calvin Seerveld once described her work as “redemptive journalism,” a phrase that resonates with CC’s mission. Redemptive journalism means that Reitsma Bick looks for “those places where God is bringing healing, hope and restoration” and invites readers to join in.
“Angela has led CC down hitherto uncharted paths, finding capable, multi-generational first-time and veteran writers, and developing a devoted staff and board stretching all across Canada from Halifax, N.S. to Terrace, B.C.,” says James Dekker, CC’s Board Chair.
Dekker also notes that Reitsma Bick’s “patient skill, respect and affection for writers consistently produce thoughtful, concise, well-styled and fittingly toned articles.” He credits her foresight in making CC more accessible online for gathering more readers and support.
“All of us CC readers, writers, board and staff join Redeemer University in thanking God for Angela, with prayers for many more years of leadership beyond CC’s 75th year of life,” Dekker says.
The role of journalism
Redeemer’s Distinguished Alumni Award was founded in 2014. Among recent recipients are researcher and professor Dr. Kimberly Maich, associate clinical professor and OB/GYN Dr. Dan Reilly and executive director of EduDeo Ministries Hank de Jong.
“I’m grateful to Redeemer for the Alumni award, in this year-like-none-other,” Reitsma Bick says. “Let’s think about the role of independent journalism right now. Let’s talk about social justice issues among people of faith.”
Lastly, “there would be no award without all the amazing people who work at Christian Courier with me,” she says. “Writers and readers from coast to coast who feel like friends, even those I’ve never met; dedicated Board members, and the staff across Canada who pour their hearts into every issue.”
“I also want to thank my family, for their never-ending love and support, and God, for his providence and grace.”
A virtual reception will be held on Nov. 2 to celebrate Reitsma Bick’s work and contributions to faith-based journalism in Canada