- 1930-1987 (Creation)
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Columbia Bible College
In 1936 the South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren Church opened an evening Bible training program with Cornelius C. Peters as teacher. This school, which was also referred to as the South Abbotsford Bible School, functioned intermittently during the winter for several years. This program was interrupted because of World War II in 1941.
In 1943 the school was renamed Bethel Bible School and Franz C. Thiessen was named principal. At this time the school was located in a building on the site of the South Abbotsford MB Church and enrolled 34 students receiving support from the Clearbrook and Matsqui churches. In 1944 Jacob F. Redekop was appointed principal and under his leadership a four-year course of studies was introduced and in the next years gained the support of six Abbotsford area churches. In 1954 the school was moved to a new site on Clearbrook Rd. and was renamed Mennonite Brethren Bible Institute.
In 1960, the BC Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches accepted the responsibility for the operation of the school. A record enrollment of 96 was reached in 1961-62 and the first dormitory was added in the same year. Additional buildings were added to accommodate students, classrooms, chapel and administration during the 1960’s. Principals during these years were Jacob F. Redekop, 1954-1955; Abram H. Wieler, 1955-1959; George Konrad, 1959-1962, John B. Epp, 1962-1964; Henry C. Born, 1964-1969 and Peter R. Toews, 1969-1970.
In 1970 the BC MB Conference and the Conference of Mennonites of BC entered into a working agreement to operate one Bible school by merging MBBI and Bethel Bible Institute. The new training centre was called Columbia Bible Institute and was to foster an evangelical Anabaptist emphasis with a church ministries and missions-oriented program. In 1970 there were 189 students and this number increased to 266 in 1975. Presidents during these years were Peter R. Toews, 1970-1976, Samuel Mickalowski, 1977; Walter Unger (Acting President) 1977-1980; Roy Just, 1980-1985 and Walter Unger (Acting President) 1985-1986 and then president from 1986-1987.
In 1987 CBI developed college status and became known as Columbia Bible College. In subsequent years the school has expanded to offer eight majors and the enrollment increased to 500 in 1999-2000.The facilities have been enlarged to include a men’s dormitory (Columbia Hall), an administration and library building (Columbia Resource Centre) and a large gymnasium (Columbia Place), Presidents of CBC have been Walter Unger 1987- 2001, Ron Penner and Mervin Boschman (Presidential Team) 2001-2002, Paul Wartman 2002-2006 and Ron Penner (Interim), 2006-2007 (present).
Sources: GAMEO article by David Giesbrecht, CBC Columbia Contact (Oct. 2006) article and the AMBBS fonds in the MHS of BC holdings.
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- Columbia Bible College (Creator)
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Record modified February 26, 2009