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- Unruh, Abram H.
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Abraham H. Unruh: an outstanding Mennonite Brethren minister, teacher, and Bible expositor; born in Timir-Bulat, Crimea, South Russia to Heinrich Benjamin Unruh and Elisabeth Wal. Abraham married Katharina Toews and they had six children. He received his teacher's certificate at the age of 17 and began his teaching career in the elementary school of Menlertschik, 1895-1903. He taught in both the Barvenkovo elementary school and Kommerzschule (business school), 1903-1915.
Following two years of Red Cross service, 1915-17, he moved back to Barvenkovo, but anti-German sentiment ran high, and so he moved his family back to the Crimea where he accepted the position of principal of the Zentralschule (secondary school) in Karassan. In 1920 Abraham was asked to join the new-founded Bible School in Tschongraw. He taught Bible in this school until it was forced by Soviet authorities to close in 1924.
The closing of the school convinced him to migrate to Canada in January 1925. That fall, inspired by the Tschongraw experience, he rented several rooms in Winkler, Manitoba, and began a Bible school. He was soon joined by two other Tschongraw teachers, Gerhard Reimer and Johann G. Wiens. For 19 years Abraham led what became the Winkler Bible Institute, edited a small paper titled Die Antwort (The Answer), and preached in Mennonite communities both in Canada and the United States. Conference educational concerns soon led to the call for a school of higher education for Mennonite Brethren in Canada.
In 1944 the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference established a new school in Winnipeg: Mennonite Brethren Bible College (later Concord College). Abraham Unruh was asked to be its first president. Concerned that the school needed a president who could relate more to English-speaking members of the Mennonite Brethren churches, he resigned after one year as president, though he continued as professor of biblical studies for 10 years. Upon retirement at age 76, Abraham had served the church for some 50 years.
During his years of ministry Abraham wrote numerous books. Among them were: Die Mennonitische Bibelschule in Tschongraw, Eine Einleitung für die Lehrer der Sontagsschule; Leitfaden für den Religionsunterricht, Nikodemus, Gottes Wort als Wegweiser fuer die Gemeindezucht; Des Herrn Mahnung an die Gemeinde der Endzeit, Der ewige Sohn Gottes; Der Prophet Jesaja; Die Geschichte der Mennoniten-Brüdergemeinde.
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Updated by DMH December 12, 2017