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An overview of Bethany College

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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.
Elizabeth Giggs PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Geof Cornelsen PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Rick Schellenberg PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
George Fehr PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Dining at the Bethany Convention 1969 PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Audience at the Bethany convention 1969 PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
choir singing at Bethany Bible Institute's opening ceremony. Speaker P.R. Toews is seated on the platform. PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Bible school quartet (vintage 1939), including (l-r) Sam Epp, Jake Dyck, Sam Willems, and Jacob K. Schroeder at BBI's alumni homecoming. PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
A drama circa 1960s PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Bethany College
This photo is of the BBI choir, with Abram A. Wieler at the left and director Jacob K. Schroeder at the right. PHOTO courtesy CMBS and MAID
Abram Wieler shaking hands with a student on stage at Bethany Bible Institute's grad ceremony. Elmer Andres is also visible at the left. PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
(l-r) Henry Block, Corney and Irene Braun, Henry Braun, and Elmer Andres at a service held at Bethany Bible Institute. Henry Braun is at the microphone giving Corney and Irene Braun recognition for their years of service to BBI. PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID

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.

BBI hockey team circa 1980 PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Youth Advance 1987 PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Aerial view of Bethany campus circa 1960s PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID
Herb Kopp speaking at the Saskatchewan MB Conference. The Bethany Bible Institute choir is visible in the background. PHOTO courtesy CMBS & MAID

Bethany College students


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

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