September 3, 2020
Last week, Emmanuel Bible College announced that Dr. Neil Cudney would serve as the school’s interim leader. Dr. Cudney assumed his position on Monday and has been eagerly getting up to speed on the affairs of the College.
Dr. Cudney has a long history with Emmanuel, and he says that it “holds a special place” for him. In 1964, the year Emmanuel moved to the current Fergus Avenue property, Neil’s father, Dan Cudney, became a student. A young Neil participated in many events in the Tabernacle, which was later converted into the Library, and enjoyed playing in “Lake Emmanuel,” the area of the property that would often flood after a heavy rainfall. Dan was a student on campus until 1969.
After high school, Neil studied social work, psychology, and sociology and worked for Ray of Hope and Christian Horizons, which serves people who experience disabilities. He also pursued theological education, completing a graduate-studies program in 1997 through a partnership between Emmanuel and the Canadian Theological Seminary (Calgary, Alberta; now Ambrose Seminary).
He was ordained in the United Brethren Church of Canada in 1993 and served as a senior pastor for a number of years in Sherkston, Ontario. His wife, Elizabeth Cudney (nee Plato), is a 1984 graduate of Emmanuel and also a United Brethren pastor. Together they planted Port of Grace United Brethren Church in Port Colborne, Ontario.
In 2005, Neil and Elizabeth began planting Mill Crossing Church in Hespeler, and Neil returned to Christian Horizons after about twelve years. There he served as the director of organizational and spiritual life until earlier this year. Dr. Cudney has been a recognized voice in the global conversation on theology and disability. He has taught courses on the theology of disability and on accessible ministry at various conferences, seminaries, and colleges, including Emmanuel. The July–August issue of Faith Today featured an interview with him about hospitality, the church, and disability.
He is excited to become part of the Emmanuel family and believes it has a necessary and vibrant role to play in God’s kingdom.