InterVarsity Mourns the Loss of James E. (Jim) Berney


Toronto, Ontario — Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada has announced with sadness that former President of Inter-Varsity, James Berney, passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2007 in Troutdale, Oregon, due to complications from cancer. He was 69.

“Jim was an extraordinary ministry partner and friend, and he will be sorely missed. This is the passing of a great leader who led Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada for 20 years. Jim was a man of great integrity, passion for the gospel, love of students and staff, and a significant commitment to the spiritual development of himself and those around him,” said Geri Rodman, current President and CEO of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada.

“I personally benefited from Jim’s leadership through the wonderful legacy he left in the ministry in Canada, as well as in the West Coast of the United States. He set the stage for the next generation to carry the ministry forward in both locations. I remember Jim being invited, on many occasions, to student or staff leadership meetings. He would sit quietly in the corner of the room, intently watching the interaction. After the meeting, as leaders, we would sit and listen as he recounted his observations of the meeting and what we, as staff, needed to pay attention to over the next ministry period. He was a person with invaluable insight into people and situations. Many of us will miss his gentle wisdom. Please join with me in thanksgiving for a life well spent. God certainly is saying, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ Jim will be missed by many. Please join me in praying for his wife, Margery, his daughters, Chrissi and Sarah, his grandson, Eric, and his siblings, Ted and Barb,” said Ms. Rodman.

James E. Berney began his tenure as the General Director of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada in 1980. He retired from Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada on December 31, 2001.

Under his leadership over the two decades, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada has seen growth and deepening in their ministry to students at Pioneer Camps, high schools, universities, graduate students, and the global mission through International Student Ministry, Inter-Varsity World Services, International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, and Urbana.

Mr. Berney began student ministry with InterVarsity USA as a campus staff member in 1961. In 1965, he became the Director of the Northern California district and in 1968, he took the position of the Western Regional Director, a position which he held for 12 years before he came on board as the General Director of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada in 1981.

Mr. Berney leaves a great legacy through the many people he mentored and loved into a deep relationship with God. Jim was definitely appreciated for his “Barnabas” role. He empowered and loved many people into leadership roles and influence, beyond what they ever imagined for themselves.

Friends and family will be received at the Gresham Funeral Chapel, 257 SE Roberts, Gresham, Oregon USA, 503-618-8176, on Thursday, March 22, where a funeral service will be held on March 23, at 11am. A memorial service celebrating Jim’s life is being planned for Toronto in April, full details of which will be posted at as soon as they become available. Mr. Berney’s family requests that donations, in lieu of flowers, be made to Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada, InterVarsity/USA, or the Portland Cancer Center (Portland, Oregon).

To honour the contribution of Mr. Berney, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada today announces the establishment of the Jim Berney Memorial Fund. Donations to this fund can me made online at, or by calling 1.800.668.9766, or by mail to Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada, 64 Prince Andrew Place, Toronto, ON M3C 2H4

Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada is a mission arm of the church, mobilizing a diverse community of Christians through its camps, student and alumni movements to proclaim Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord since 1929. For over 78 years, Inter-Varsity has been ministering to transform youth, students and graduates into fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. Currently, their ministry encompasses campus ministry at over 70 universities and high schools, 6 Pioneer camps across Canada, global missions and more. Every year, over 18,000 young people are impacted though Inter-Varsity’s ministry. For more information about Inter-Varsity, please visit Inter-Varsity is a member of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students and part of its worldwide movement.

For more information, please contact:
Kim Evans
Vice President, Advancement
Inter-Varsity Canada
416-443-1170 ext. 129