The Gemeinde Bible School at St. Elizabeth had its modest classroom in the home of its teacher, Ältester Peter H. Enns (1885-1942). In 1938, its second year, nine female and five male students were enrolled. They met daily, Monday to Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from November 15 till March 1.
In a weekly 30-hour schedule, five hours were devoted to Heilsgeschichte (salvation history), five hours to Bible instruction, 4-6 hours to singing (including one hour of hymnology), 2-3 hours to church history (including one week on Mennonites in Russia), two hours to catechism and doctrinal instruction, 10 hours to German instruction (this included reading, orthography, grammar, literature, composition). Besides the Bible, texts required were a Bibelkunde (Biblical knowledge/study) (90cents), Bilder aus der Kirchengeschichte (church history) (50c), the new Katechismus (catechism) (50c), Deutsches Lesebuch 2. Teil (German reader) (65c), Choralbuch (hymnbook) ($1.00) for a total of $3.55 per student.
Every winter the school year came to an end with a closing program for the Gemeinde. Its purpose was to demonstrate through choir singing and recitation of German poetry (e.g. F. Schiller's Das Lied von der Glocke) and other ways what had been learned throughout the months. In the 1939 program students answered up to 66 questions from their Bible, church and Mennonite history studies. Women students put on a one-act play "Im Frauenverein" (in the women's auxiliary) written by Ontario minister J. H. Janzen.
The school had good local support and about half of the 1938 fall Thanksgiving collection/offering of $150, went towards this venture. (Other designations were for foreign missions, Bible Society, itinerant ministry, and poverty/relief i.e. Armenkasse). The following year the same amount was designated for the development of the Bible School in Winnipeg (cf. Die Mennonitische Religionsschule).
Peter H Enns died in 1942. There were no classes that winter because there was no other teacher. In 1943 an invitation to join Die Mennonitische Religionsschule in Winnipeg was declined because the St. Elizabeth Gemeinde was intent on fostering its own Bible school. In early October of 1943 the brotherhood asked the chair of the congregation to bring the school back to life and it waited to see the student registrations. No teacher was found locally nor elsewhere in spite of the fact that a special commission (members: Jacob Janzen, Jacob Braun, H. Janzen, N. Unruh and W. Kaethler) was mandated to find a way to buy or build a house as residence for a Bible schoolteacher. There was no teacher, no evidence of registered students, no more local Bible school.
"Protokoll der Bruderberatung der Lichtenauer Mennonitengemeinde bei St Elizabeth am 3. Oktober 1938," Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 1609-file: "Manitoba Lichtenau Mennonite 50 Jahre book 1930-1980; also Protokoll [sic] 1932-1981."
"Protokol [sic] der Bruderberatung der Lichtenauer Gemeinde abgehalten den 28 Oktober in der Kirche zu St. Elizabeth. 1942" (Minutes of the brotherhood meeting of the Lichtenauer Mennonite Church held the 28th of October 1942), Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 1609-ibid.
"Protokoll der Bruderberatuung der Lichtenauer Gemeinde abgehalten den 11. Okt. 1943 in der Kirche zu St. Elizabeth," Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 1609-ibid.
"Protokoll der Bruderberatung der Lichtenauer Gemeinde abgehalten am 15. November in der Kirche zu St. Elizabeth 1943," Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 1609-ibid.
Enns, P. H. Letter to Br. Hans (brother John, i.e. J. H. Enns), 16 November 1938, Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 650-7.
Enns, P. H. "Bible School notes 1938-41." Mennonite Heritage Centre, vol. 650-11.
Loepp, Jacob. "Ein kurzer Ueberblick der Geschichte der Lichtenauer Mennoniten Gemeinde," 50 Jahre 1930-1980 Lichtenau Mennoniten Gemeinde, 3 August 1980—St. Elizabeth, Manitoba.
Unruh, N. H. "Unsere Bibelschule," in Of Days Gone By. St. Elizabeth Mennonite Community Centennial Reunion Committee, 1970.
Peters, Gerhard I. Remember Our Leaders: Conference of Mennonites in Canada 1902-1977 Clearbrook: Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, 1982: 49.
|Date Published||January 2002|
Cite This Article
Ens, Anna. "St. Elizabeth Bible School (St. Elizabeth, Manitoba, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2002. Web. 31 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=St._Elizabeth_Bible_School_(St._Elizabeth,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=93624.
Ens, Anna. (January 2002). St. Elizabeth Bible School (St. Elizabeth, Manitoba, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=St._Elizabeth_Bible_School_(St._Elizabeth,_Manitoba,_Canada)&oldid=93624.
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