In the late fall of 1933, La Glace Mennonite Brethren Church founded La Glace Mennonite Brethren Bible School. The purpose was to provide young people with an opportunity to study the Bible in a systematic and comprehensive way, to train local church workers, and to teach the German language so that the younger generation could maintain German as the language of the church.
Instruction began in the late fall of 1933 with seven students. Gerhard Harder, educated at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute, was the first instructor. A second class was added in the fall of 1934, and total enrollment was 9. In 1935, a third class was added and Isaac Dick, a graduate of Coaldale Bible School, joined the teaching staff. Total enrollment in 1935-36 was 11. To accommodate the new school, the church added a small log building to the side of the church in 1934. Gerhard Harder moved away in 1936 and Jacob Pankratz of Coaldale replaced him as an instructor. Enrollment that year dropped to eight, and the school did not operate in the 1937-38 year. Classes resumed in the fall of 1938, taught by Abram Schierling, with seven first year students and three third year students. The 1939-40 year saw a total enrollment of 15. After a break in 1940-41, classes resumed in the fall of 1941, with Schierling returning as instructor and Jacob Franz joining him. There were 22 first year students, 6 second year students, and 6 third year students, for a total of 34 students. No classes were held for the next two years, 1942-44, so some students attended classes at Peace River Bible Institute in Sexsmith, Alberta or Coaldale Bible School. David Ewert joined the teaching staff in the fall of 1944, and the school had a total of 23 students. At the end of this school year, Jacob Franz left the teaching staff to prepare for missions work in Paraguay. The last year of the school's existence was 1945-46, with Schierling and Ewert as instructors, and a total enrollment was 20.
In the first years, students who lived too far away to be able to commute daily were billeted in the homes of church members. After the extension to the church building was built in 1934, some male students used a portion of it as a dormitory. High school attendance was not possible for many students, and other parents did not consider high school attendance a necessity, so many students came to Bible school after completing grade 8. As enrollment numbers increased, the church decided to construct a two-storey building for the school in 1940-41. The building contained three classrooms and a small staff room on the first floor, and a dormitory for female students on the second floor. Eventually the main room of the log building became a kitchen and dining room for the students. A residence for instructors was also constructed.
In all, 87 students attended the Bible school. Like many other Mennonite communities in western Canada, the church in La Glace saw a Bible school education as a necessity, and sacrificially gave in order to make it a possibility for their young people. The instructors and other staff also gave sacrificially in order to make Bible school education a possibility. The school fulfilled its purpose as a training ground for church workers. Many who attended the Bible school went on to serve in a variety of churches throughout western Canada and beyond.
The Mennonite Sojourn in the Peace River Area: A Companion to Our Reunion, June 15, 16, 17, 2001, David Friesen, gen. ed. 2001: 82-91.
La Glace MB Bible School Instructors
|1935-36||Gerhard Harder, Isaac Dick|
|1936-37||Isaac Dick, Jacob Pankratz|
|1941-42||Abram Schierling, Jacob Franz|
|1944-45||Abram Schierling, Jacob Franz, David Ewert|
|1945-46||Abram Schierling, David Ewert|
|Author(s)||Richard D Thiessen|
|Date Published||June 2013|
Cite This Article
Thiessen, Richard D. "La Glace Mennonite Brethren Bible School (La Glace, Alberta, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2013. Web. 22 Aug 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=La_Glace_Mennonite_Brethren_Bible_School_(La_Glace,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=82988.
Thiessen, Richard D. (June 2013). La Glace Mennonite Brethren Bible School (La Glace, Alberta, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 August 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=La_Glace_Mennonite_Brethren_Bible_School_(La_Glace,_Alberta,_Canada)&oldid=82988.
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