An overview of Bethany College

circa 1985  PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID

circa 1985
PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID

Inspired by the success of Herbert Bible School in southern Saskatchewan, in 1926, Jacob Lepp, H.A. Willems and John Harder invited Moody graduate George Harms to teach 3 months of evening classes to 30 young people in the Rosthern area. When a public school building became available in Hepburn in 1927, Bethany Bible School was born.

The school was established to

  1. give youth foundational instruction,
  2. wrench youth away from frivolous pursuits (and nurture the German language), and
  3. raise believing youth for the battle of the faith (and train for the needs of congregations).

Church historian Bruce Guenther observes the school became unique for the following:

  1. an early move toward a college program,
  2. aggressive promotion of mission…which led to
  3. (student-led) transition away from German much earlier than other MB institutions.

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1927 – school established under first principal/president Dietrich P. Esau

1932 – students establish Bethany Prayer League which grows into Western Children’s Mission

1934 – curriculum expands to 4-year program

1941–1945 – curriculum expands to 5 years

1958 – amalgamates with Herbert Bible School

1960 – campus expands to 13.5 acres

1968Alberta conference and Alberta MB Bible Institute of Coaldale join Saskatchewan as co-sponsor

1969–1983 – building blitz

1981199 students enroll – the peak year

1986 – students vote to allow women to run for student president

1994Bethany Place, gymnasium & auditorium project, completed

1995 – Saskatchewan Churches of Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference becomes co-sponsor

2000 – obtains full accreditation with Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges

2002 – name changes to Bethany College

Bethany College has 5,932 alumni.

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Bethany College students


Updated May 26, 2015: archival photos added courtesy of CMBS and MAID.

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