After 35 years of New Days, Willard and Betty Thiessen have decided it’s time for a new chapter.
The Winnipeg couple responsible for turning a modest, daily religious program into a small-scale broadcasting empire have announced they’re retiring, and have groomed their daughter and son-in-law, Bob and Audrey Meisner, to assume day-to-day hosting duties on their Christian daytime talk show, It’s a New Day.
"Betty and I know that the time has come for us to do something very important, to entrust the responsibility of this TV program to the next generation," Willard Thiessen said in a release announcing the couple’s retirement.
The Thiessens appeared on their first instalment of It’s a New Day on Oct. 6, 1976, and hosted more than 8,500 episodes of the locally produced program (which currently airs on Vision TV and JoyTV 11). Their last show will air on Jan. 6, 2012.
"I thank God for what Willard and Betty did for us, but more importantly, for who they are," said Pastor Mark Hughes of Church of the Rock. "They are champions of the ministry, giants of the faith and spiritual mentors to countless thousands."
The Thiessens will continue to make occasional guest appearances on It’s a New Day. Retirement celebrations are planned for Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver early next month.