Virgil Bible School (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada)
The Virgil Bible School traces its beginning to the founding of the Virgil-Vineland Bible School Society in 1939 by the early Mennonite Brethren settlers in the Niagara Peninsula.
A day school was first opened under the auspices of this society in Vineland on 22 November 1939 with Bernhard B. Boldt as the first instructor. A little later in that first year, the instruction was resumed by Rev. Isaac and Helene Ewert, who had begun an evening Bible School in Virgil the previous year. During the second year (1940-1941), Bernhard B. Boldt and Herman Voth were engaged by the Bible School Society to teach in Virgil. During 1941-1942 the day classes had to be closed due to public opinion during World War II.
The Evening Bible School first begun in Virgil in the Fall of 1938 under Isaac Ewert's leadership continued to function throughout the years 1938-1943. Isaac Ewert, Abram J. Block and Frank Schellenberg gave instruction at various times. On 22 April 1944 a Bible School Society was founded in consultation with the Virgil Mennonite Brethren Church with the intent of taking the responsibility of maintaining the Bible School with a broader scope. With increased interest and membership, the society was able to purchase a large, old building on a 9-acre estate a mile and half northeast of Virgil, known as Locust Grove. Here the program was expanded to a 3-year curriculum and a high school component (Grade 10 and 11) added in 1945. This was the beginning of the Eden High School and the name of the school was changed to Eden Bible and High School in 1947. The ownership of the school was transferred to the Ontario Mennonite Brethren Conference in November 1948.
Until 1955 the Bible school department continued to function alongside the high school department at the Eden site. For the 1955-56 school year, the Bible school department was transferred to the Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church, where the school continued to function under the leadership of principal Wilmer Kornelson until it closed in 1964. The name changed to Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute of Ontario for these final years.
Many of the students attending the school during this period did so as a time between high school and college or university. The Bible school played a significant role in consolidating and strengthening the spiritual lives of these young people, preparing them for service in the church and community in areas such as Christian Education and music.
Boldt, Edward. A history of the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches 1957-1982. Ontario Conference of M.B. Churches, 1982.
He leadeth: history of the M.B. Churches of Ontario 1924-1957. Ontario: [The Conference], 1957?
Cite This Article
Redekopp, Alf. "Virgil Bible School (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1999. Web. 8 Apr 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Virgil_Bible_School_(Niagara-on-the-Lake,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=166720.
Redekopp, Alf. (1999). Virgil Bible School (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 8 April 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Virgil_Bible_School_(Niagara-on-the-Lake,_Ontario,_Canada)&oldid=166720.
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