Fonds Textual records: volume 250-260, 1211-1219, 1221-1225; photographs: NP175; Sound and moving images NMV-56-NMV59. - Concord College fonds

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Concord College fonds

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CA CMBS Textual records: volume 250-260, 1211-1219, 1221-1225; photographs: NP175; Sound and moving images NMV-56-NMV59.

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  • 1965-2000, predominant 1984-2000 (Creation)

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4.4 m of textual records
577 photographs
10 sound and moving images

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Concord College was established in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1992. It developed out of the former Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC), which was founded in Winnipeg in 1944. The birth of Concord College included a change of governance, vision and programming. Prior to 1992, MBBC was owned by the Canadian Conference of MB Churches. Their primary vision for the school was to provide higher-education and practical training for church workers and missionaries from a Mennonite Brethren / Anabaptist Christian perspective. As early as the 1950s MBBC was building a strengthening relationship with the University of Winnipeg and in the late 1970s they entered into an association with each other. The BC provincial conference did not have that same vision for the College in Manitoba, and their hesitations were expressed by an increased distancing and eventually their total withdrawal of support in 1992. During this process a study was done within the Mennonite community to understand what kind of Christian higher-education should emerge. In the end, MBBC could no longer be a national school due to this loss of broad provincial support. Therefore, June 30, 1992, a new board was elected by the Mennonite Brethren Provincial Conferences of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It was the Manitoba Provincial conference who showed the most interest in the school, taking on financial liability and later full ownership of the school. Some individual supporters from the other provincial conferences remained, but this support did not cover the deficit following the withdrawal of funding from the Canadian Conference. What proved to be a beneficial transition in terms of enrollment and accreditation did have challenges. As soon as Concord College began to establish its identity, discussion began on a union between all Mennonite Colleges in Winnipeg. There was a growing feeling within large Mennonite groups that Concord College, Canadian Mennonite Bible College and Menno Simons College could work together to build on each other's strengths. These ideas remained quiet for the most part until 1995 when Art DeFehr presented a study paper called "A Mennonite University". Art was a visionary and strong supporter of what would become the Mennonite College Federation. Each college had a board that governed their respective schools. For College Federation discussions these boards met together. Al Doerksen was the Concord College Board chair and also became the Mennonite College Federation chair. Although many were hesitant about the success of a unified Mennonite College, there was an underlying drive to see this through. Provincial government support as well as the availability of property helped the dream to become a reality. After a long process of discussions and planning by the Mennonite College Federation Committee and others, a unified establishment was born and resulted in the chartering of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in 1998. Some significant people involved in the history of Concord College were board members Art DeFehr and Al Doerksen. James N. Pankratz, was the first president of Concord College from 1992-1996, followed by Harry Olfert [1997-1998], John H. Unger [1999-2000] and Gerald Gerbrandt [CMU 2001-]

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The Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) began in the Bethel Mennonite Mission Church basement, Winnipeg, Manitoba in September of 1947. Discussions about the need and feasibility of an advanced-level Bible College for Canadian Mennonites had occupied the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) from the late 1930s. In 1941 J. J. Thiessen was chair-person to a five-member committee who explored the possibility of a higher Bible School. However, no qualified person in the Mennonite community could be found to lead such an institution and the plans were dropped.

In 1945 the dream was reconfigured with some urgency as the Mennonite Brethren church had established their own Bible College in Winnipeg and demobilized Conscientious Objectors (COs) were returning to Canada and attending secular universities or fundamentalist post-secondary institutions. Finally in September 1947 classes began with Arnold Regier, an American Mennonite from Kansas, as head of the newly formed college. Four Canadians were hired to complete the faculty - I.I. Friesen, P.A. Rempel, Henry Wall and John Konrad. Other presidents that served in subsequent years included I. I. Friesen (1952-1959), Henry Poettcker (1959-1978), George K. Epp (1978-1983), John H. Neufeld (1984-1997) and Gerald Gerbrandt (1997- )(with David Schroeder and Helmut Harder as interim presidents for a period each).

For two years classes were taught in the Bethel Church basement. In 1949, CMC bought 515 Wellington Crescent, a large private home, which housed the Bible College for the next 7 years. In 1956 CMBC moved to the site in Tuxedo, in the south-west corner of Winnipeg. Here the campus development over the years as various building were constructed, including an administrative building, a residence, apartment building and a Heritage Centre.

In 1964 CMBC became designated as an approved teaching centre of the University of Manitoba which allowed Mennonite students to be simultaneously enrolled at CMBC and University where they could later complete their university education.

Discussions with other Mennonite educational institutions regarding the possibilities of closer ties or a joint educational venture also took place over the course of CMBC's history, especially in the 1980s and 1990s which led to the founding of Canadian Mennonite University (a federation of three colleges -- CMBC, Menno Simons College and Concord College in September 2000.

Custodial history

The documents were received on various dates. May 7, 1999, John Unger donated two boxes of textual and visual documents to the center. Also on June 20, 2000, Irwin Warkentin contributed to the textual documents. On January 13, 2001 Dave Wiebe donated textual documents collected by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren churches denominational minister (Reuben Pauls). In 2007, Al Doerksen, chair of the Concord College Board and the Mennonite College Federation Board, donated materials. Also in 2007 the Music Department from Concord College donated 2 boxes of textual documents. Some of the other documents were collected by archivist Conrad Stoesz during the move of Concord College facility to the 500 Shaftesbury location in 1999.

Scope and content

This fonds contains committee meeting minutes, proposals, reports, correspondence, budgets, yearbooks, student handbooks, timetables, calendars, student information, admissions documents, faculty and staff information. There are also some visual records such as photographs, videos and reel to reel available. This fonds consist of the day to day records of a Mennonite College and the founding of Concord College and the progression to the formation Mennonite College Federation, presently Canadian Mennonite University.

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Related material: Mennonite College Federation, Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC) and Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches Board of Higher Education

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Described by Janelle Hume in May 2007.

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