Fonds Acc. no. 1992–25, 1995–48, 1995–60, 1997–063, 1998–008 - Winkler Bible Institute Fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Winkler Bible Institute Fonds

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CA CMBS Acc. no. 1992–25, 1995–48, 1995–60, 1997–063, 1998–008

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  • 1925-1997 (Creation)

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Physical description

18 m of textual records
sound recordings

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Biographical history

Winkler Bible Institute, located in Winkler, Manitoba was founded in the fall of 1925 by A.H. Unruh. It was patterned after the Bible school in Tchongrav (Crimea), and was organized by three former teachers of that school. Unruh was the first of them to emigrate, followed by G. J. Reimer in 1926 and J.G. Wiens. The school was erected for the purpose of teaching the Bible, especially to young people, and to prepare them for missionary work as well as pastoral service. Its name was initially Mennonite Bible School Peniel. The name Peniel was based on Genesis 32:26, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." As early as 1926 the name Winkler Bible School and Winkler Bible School Peniel were used interchangeably. In 1968 the name Winkler Bible Institute was officially accepted. From 1925 to 1944 the responsibility for operating the school lay with a Board of directors or Trustees which consisted of the first three teachers and three non-teaching advisory members. The school was incorporated in 1933. On Oct. 7, 1944, the school was placed under the jurisdiction of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba, after which time nine men were elected as its Board of Directors. With the creation of a Board of Education for the Manitoba MB Conference in 1964, it became necessary to vest administrative powers to an Executive Committee of each of the Conference schools (e.g. Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute and Winkler Bible School). A.H. Unruh was the principal from 1925–1944, followed by J.G. Wiens from 1944–1948. Other principals included H.H. Redekop from 1948–1956, G.D. Huebert from 1956–1959, John Goossen from 1959–1969, Henry R. Baerg from 1969–1978, Victor Neufeld from 1978–1987, Eldon DeFehr from 1987–1994 and Paul Kroeker from 1994–1997. From a single class in 1925, the program developed to a 4-year program offered in 1929. From 1934 to 1944 a 5-year program was offered. Then the school again offered a 4-year program until 1961 when it became a 3-year program. Since 1968 WBI has offered a 2-year program with the exception of the introduction of a 3-year program conferring a Bachelor of Religious Eduction, for a short period around 1980. (Seven B.R.E. graduates in 1979 and four in 1980). Winkler Bible Institute graduated its last class on April 19, 1997. The decision to close operations of the institution was made on March 27, 1997 when the Committee of Reference and Council, acting as conference-in-interim, accepted the recommendation brought by the Winkler Bible Institute Board that the school be closed. (See MB Herald, May 2, 1997–14; May 16, 1997–12)

Custodial history

The records arrived at the Centre at various times. The first records arrived in December 1977 through the assistance of William Schroeder, Winkler, Manitoba and were accessioned by Archivist Herb Giesbrecht on Jan. 30, 1978. The transfer of these records were authorized by President Henry R. Baerg and came from the school files. Some of the items had been brought to the school by A.A. Hyde who had picked them up a few years before this, when "they were cleaning up the old Hooge house" (former residence). These records were also transferred to the Archives in 1977. Other records such as annual catalogues, student yearbooks and sound recordings (LPs) were donated to the Archives by various individuals over the years. On June 6, 1995 Dr. Abe Dueck, Director of the Centre brought another deposit of materials following a visit to the school. On September 22, 1997 George Martens (Manitoba Conference Treasurer), Wilf Regier (MBCI Business manager) and Abe Dueck transferred the final accumulated records from the school office (13.7 m of textual records plus 12 boxes (photographs, sound recordings & published books).

Scope and content

This fonds consists of the following series of processed records: Manitoba MB Conference Records regarding Winkler Bible School 1926–1983, early years correspondence and other materials 1928–1959, office files 1965–1982, faculty meetings minutes & other material 1942–1957, office files 1973–1990 predominantly 1978–1990, president's records 1966–1969, publications 1925–1994, alumni records, posters, photographs and sound recordings. The unprocessed records consists of Office files from 1982–1997, Student files & transcripts, minutes from 1976–1994, photographs (5 boxes plus 18 framed composite class photos), cassette and reel-to-reel sound recordings (4 boxes), publications (A place called Pniel, posters, brochures, etc.-3 boxes), some financial records (1 box) and a sound recording of the closing celebration service (Acc. no 1997–63) This fonds also includes another 90 photographs (unprocessed), received between 1992–1995. (See 1995–25, 1995–48 and 1995–60)

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no restrictions on access

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finding aid consists of a file list

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  • English

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