Combine faith with television and media technology and the result is 50 years on TV by Rev. David Mainse to Canadians in all corners of the country. David’s wife Norma-Jean has been his ministry companion since the beginning, and she often shared musically on the television broadcasts. It was the music of Norma-Jean and her brothers that opened the television doors and their excellence helped keep those doors open.
It all started with a 15-minute program following the late night news in Pembroke, Ontario, on June 2nd, 1962. Today Mainse has seen Crossroads Television grow into an international ministry with a 143,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art television production facility called “The Crossroads Centre” in Burlington, Ontario.
While Crossroads has grown to reach many corners of the globe, David’s goal remains the same: to share his deep faith in Jesus Christ with others and to see God relate in a very real way to each individual’s life. Born in Campbell’s Bay, Quebec and raised in a rural area near Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario, David Mainse had the influences of the rural environment and his parents who were missionaries and educators to inspire him to take a message of hope and love to the world.
David began teaching public school while still in his teens, studied theology and was ordained. He met and married Norma-Jean Rutledge in 1958. Norma-Jean has written many songs, and recorded several albums. David served as a pastor across Ontario in Brighton, Deep River, Sudbury and Hamilton. After launching the “Crossroads” telecast, the program expanded to stations across the country. In 1971, David resigned from Hamilton Bethel Church to concentrate on television. The early seventies brought “Circle Square” a children’s telecast that has been carried in over 50 countries and continues to be shown in some. In 1977 they began telecasting daily. They created a studio at 100 Huntley Street in downtown Toronto. On June 15, of that year, the first of over 9,000 broadcasts of the interview/talk show “100 Huntley Street” was launched. Norma-Jean produced the live daily telecast. This TV program has featured more than 16,000 guests such as Billy Graham, Charlton Heston and scores of Canadians and Americans sharing their stories and music. It has a weekly audience averaging one million Canadian viewers. David and Norma-Jean began their work in television in 1962 with a weekly edition making June 2012 the start of his 51st year on Canadian TV. There are only two other programs in Canada that have endured that long among the viewing public – Hockey Night In Canada and CFL Football. In the 70’s he created the Circle Square TV show for children, Inside Track for teens and launched weekly productions in 18 languages.
In 1979, David, as Executive Producer and Host, brought the world the “Crossroads Creation Series”. This became the first ever release of faith based TV across the Soviet Union. The goal of the Russian language, prime time series was not to preach, but to introduce faith to the lives of atheists. One of the results was that David was brought to Moscow to speak on two evenings at the first ever conference of Christian leaders from all fifteen Soviet Republics. The release of “Kingdom Adventure”, a Canadian series for children produced in partnership with the CTV network followed in the U.S.S.R. with millions of letters to the Moscow ministry office requesting the colouring book offered in the series. This series was also was carried around the world and these award-winning shows continue on in many countries. During the years Television series in 18 languages other than English have been produced and released internationally.
A movie “Apples of Gold” was also produced in 1979. Jewish Community groups around the world purchased copies. It became Prime Minister Begin’s favourite movie on the return of Jews to Israel and played twice weekly in the King David Hotel for over 10 years. Proceeds went to the Jerusalem Terrorist Victims Fund to provide prosthetics for Jews and Arabs who lost limbs.
A School of Broadcasting and Communication was started in 1981. Currently, graduates serve in 78 countries and produce TV seen by a potential of 3 billion people.
Canadian Unity has been a burning passion of David Mainse since his early days. Three tours of Canada have been completed by David to speak to a hurting nation and convey a message of love and unity. In 1981, he made headlines when he took “100 Huntley Street” across Canada. It was called “Salute To Canada”. From the provincial capitals and many other cities, the 90 minute telecasts were seen live daily by satellite to viewers in all parts of the country. In 1982, “100 Huntley Street” originated from the mall in Washington for a week, The series was called “The Maple Leaf Salutes the Stars and Stripes”. President and Mrs. Reagan recognized this effort with warm congratulations. “Impact Canada 100” visited 100 cities and towns in 1991 to give the unity message during strife between provinces. On this speaking tour David spoke to crowded halls, politicians and local pastors to share God’s Word and help bring people together as Canadians. In 2002 another 100 city-“100 Huntley Street” tour celebrated 40 years of sharing the good news on TV.
In 1998, David Mainse founded a distinct commercial company – Crossroads Television System (CTS) – as a separate corporation from the Ministry of Crossroads the charitable not for profit organization. The newly formed board of directors at CTS had a mandate to broadcast family friendly and balanced programming. The Canadian Radio and Television Commission granted CTS a licence to operate a 24-hour a day Toronto-Hamilton over-the-air commercial TV station. Carried on cable and covering North America on satellites, Crossroads Television System (CTS) has been broadcasting since September of 1998. It is a valuable source of Canadian content featuring Canadian talent. CTS has now expanded to several markets adding stations in Ottawa, London, Calgary and Edmonton. Mainse also launched the “Channel of Hope,” a first for television, telecasting 24 hours a day for six months, covering the world via three satellite networks from Expo 2000, in Hanover, Germany.
David Mainse also served for several years at the request of the world’s most successful Mutual Funds leader, Sir John Templeton, as a judge in the world’s largest annual prize “The Templeton Prize For Progress in Religion”. He has received numerous awards for excellence in Television production from the National Religious Broadcasters in the USA, and has several honorary doctorates, including from Tyndale University in Toronto (2003) and McMaster University Divinity School (2011).
Two of Canada’s longest serving Prime Ministers have recognized David’s service to Canada. Excerpts follow:
“I congratulate the Reverend David Mainse for inviting all of us to think about the debt we owe to the faith of our Fathers and to the spiritual heritage which finds expression in countless ways in our daily lives.” ~ The Rt. Hon. Pierre Trudeau on 100 Huntley Street.
“As one who served as Prime Minister of Canada for nine years, I can say that David Mainse contributed mightily to the well-being of this nation. His qualities of tolerance inspired our youth; his sense of decency warmed our national spirit; and his exemplary personal life and compassionate outlook contributed to the strength of our citizenship.” ~ The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney
David and Norma-Jean are the proud parents of four grown children and even prouder grandparents to 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren!
David stepped down as C.E.O. of Crossroads and host of “100 Huntley Street” in the summer of 2003. He currently appears from time to time on special productions such as “A Living Witness to Amazing Grace” and “Really Good Medicine” for seniors. He is currently very busy behind the scenes as an unofficial “Spiritual Statesman for Canada.” Norma-Jean is continuing to share the love of Jesus with Crossroads partners and friends. David’s son, Rev.
Ron Mainse, who serves as the Spiritual Director of Crossroads and Host of 100 Huntley Street, says, “It is such a privilege for me to carry on the work God has established through my father’s leadership over these many years. As Dad and Mom follow God’s leading in their new phase of ministry, they certainly show no signs of slowing down!” David Mainse recently completed a “Thank You Canada Tour”, spanning the country during 2010 – 2012.
David will never retire. He has a continuing vision to reach people everywhere with God’s love. He is currently writing a daily devotional blog at www.100words.ca. Join him on this two-year journey through the Bible!
International Humanitarian Concern
Through the determined and visionary leadership of David Mainse and his team, the Emergency Response and Development Fund (ERDF now Crossroads Missions) was established in 1982. Since then, it has disbursed over $20 million to humanitarian projects worldwide.
The generous response of 100 Huntley Street viewers supported the following:
1982 – Italian Earthquake Fund sent 32 pre-fab houses from Canada to Lioni, Italy where Canadian volunteers erected them.
1983 – Ethiopian Famine Relief – with matching support from the Canadian Food Grains Bank, Crossroads raised $8 million The Canadian Ambassador to Ethiopia claimed Crossroads had saved the lives of 51,000 people.
1984 – Mozambique feeding program.
1989 – Latin America Child Care, Venezuela education and feeding program.
1989 – African Wildlife Husbandry – development project Burkina Faso.
1989 – World Relief Canada, emergency feeding program in Sahel region.
1989 – Emmanuel International, emergency feeding program in Sahel region.
1989 – Bangladesh flood relief
1989 – Jamaican hurricane relief.
1990 – Latin America Child Care, education & feeding program.
1990 – African Wildlife Husbandry, dams for water control & fishing.
1989-90 – Rebuilding and equipping of hospital, earthquake in Armenia.
1990-92 – new housing development in slums of the Dominican Republic.
1992-94 – projects included earthquake assistance for Mexico, emergency feeding program in Croatia, relief for Calcutta children, Bulgarian orphanage building and supplies of vitamins for Ukrainian children.
1994 – contributed to an ambulance for International Child Care in Uganda.
1994 – Support of AIDS education programs in Africa.
1994 – Rwanda relief through – World Vision, World Relief Canada, Compassion Canada.
1995 – Bosnian relief, food and medicines.
1997 – Uganda – emergency food, blankets & water for refugees in north Uganda.
1997 – South Sudan – food aid with the Canadian Food Grains Bank – and medical supplies and covert missions to the Sudan resulting in the redemption of 2,700 slaves, the building of a hospital, school, and supplying farm equipment.
1998 – Cuba medical & basic relief supplies & bicycles.
1999 – “Samaritan’s Purse” – aid for Bosnian children and the sending of Christmas boxes.
1999 – over $500,000 toward the Manitoba Flood relief and rebuilding; and involvement in relief for the Ice Storm disaster in Quebec and Eastern Ontario (over $600,000).
1999 – Funding to Hope International for prosthesis, artificial limbs for the victims of Sierra Leone.
2000-present – Supporting Lazarus Project in Lusaka, Zambia providing shelter, basic education, rehabilitation and reintegration to orphans.
2001-04 – Supported activities to improve food security in Sierra Leone. Earthquake relief in India.
2002 – Outreach for families in Phnom Penh, Cambodia who live in garbage dumps, helping children who do not have shoes or clothes.
2003 – Contributed $150,000 for orphans in Moldova, assisted people in Bam, Iran impacted by earthquake. Began ongoing support of Yatta Street Girls rehabilitation project providing basic human needs for street children in Kenya through the Mully Children Family Project, provided fire relief funds in Western Canada and flood relief funds to Badger, Newfoundland, CA.
2004 – Supplied 1,000 bio sand water filters and medicines to people in the flooded region of Gonaives, Haiti. Relief and reconstruction in Grenada after Hurricane Ivan, and in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch. Rebuilding orphanages in Sri Lanka, Tsunami relief, providing emergency feeding and shelter in the wake of the Tsunami in the Island of Nias and around Indonesia.
2005-06 – $475,000 for Katrina relief to Mississippi and New Orleans, USA, established key distribution centre recognized and approved by FEMA. Distributed relief supplies and led teams for reconstruction of homes there.
2005-present – developing an educational centre for the garbage dump children and community in India. Funded earthquake relief in Pakistan.
2006– present – 3 different projects supporting nationals in extending counseling and rehabilitation programs to returning Internally Displaced People ( IDP’s) and adolescent victims of the LRA and developing agricultural initiatives.
2007 – Opened newly constructed Missions Supply Depot saving on rental costs. Volunteers helped bless many with shipments of over 140 tons of greatly needed items in ’07 alone.
2008 – Supported The Orphans of Ukraine, providing education and special care to many vulnerable children. Ongoing Humanitarian relief in Northern Uganda since 1989.
2009 – Continuing to make ongoing and aggressive long-term investments in five priority areas of social development – Health and Nutrition, Basic Education, HIV/AIDS, Child Protection and Micro-Economic Development in Cambodia – Justice & Mercy, HIV-AIDS – Africa, Calcutta, India – Treasures In The Trash, Kenya – Mully Childrens Family Project, Sudan – Savanna Farmer’s Cooperative, Uganda – Families in the Crossfire, Ukraine – Reaching out to Orphans, Zambia – The Lazarus Project.
Canadian Social Care
Millions and millions have called the Crossroads Ministry for help since it created a 100 Huntley Street prayer line service. As the originator of the idea of this service, Rev. Mainse and the current hosts of 100 Huntley Street daily invite TV viewers to phone in if they are in need. This non-denominational, confidential service is equipped with over 300 trained volunteers and staff that receive calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Approximately 1,000 calls a day are received from those dealing with social issues causing them anxiety, stress and family crisis. Over 12,000 suicide calls have been intervened upon. The prayer lines make referrals to a wide variety of social care agencies and to over 1000 officially participating churches of various denominations across Canada. They offer a listening ear to many who feel alone, and are a constant source of prayer support.
After receiving a heartbreaking amount of mail from children going through family stress, Rev. Mainse challenged viewers to do more for the country’s children. This resulted in a ranch being donated to Crossroads. That quickly evolved into several summer camps, which has now grown into one of the largest camping programs in all of Canada. Recently, Crossroads turned the camping activities and properties over to the long-time operator of Pioneer Camps of the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship.
Four Canadian universities and colleges have scholarship funds available in Rev. Mainse’s name. He is an example to young people, interested in Communications, as they are encouraged to emulate his vocation and follow his example. For the past 25 years he has created a credible television voice for the Christian people of Canada. Through the work of both ministerial staff and on-air guests, he is able to portray an open and respectful dialogue on faith among citizens.
This open window into the religious lives of Canadians has been provided as the result of the vision and persistence of a man who as of June 2012 celebrates 50 years of television ministry. David Mainse is scandal free. In fact, in 2005 he received the Christian Film & Television Commission, Movieguide Award in Hollywood California for “Lifetime Faith & Values” and on Wednesday, September 24, 2008, David Mainse was honoured along with the Rev. Billy Graham for exemplifying the highest integrity, both personally and organizationally while running a charity for more than forty years. This award was given to David by The Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC), an association whose purpose is to minister to and be a watchdog agency for Christian charities and the public with practical aspects of management, stewardship and accountability. David Mainse is loved and appreciated by many thousands of television viewers who have come to know him by his service to many while his endeavors continue to receive the public’s respect and trust.