École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada)
In 1975 Henry Brucks, who was the Executive Secretary for the Board of Evangelism of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, made a visit Quebec. During his trip he was involved in a car accident and while recuperating he reflected on how leaders for the churches were to be trained. It became evident to him that to build a strong church in Quebec, Québecois leadership would have to receive training.
Brucks's vision for a Bible institute was accepted by the Board of Evangelism and in January 1976 the Board of Evangelism received approval to purchase the United Church building in Sainte Rose, Laval, a suburb of Montreal, to begin what became known as the Institute Biblique Laval (IBL). The Institute was located on these premises from 1976 to the summer of 1986. Since its inception, the ministry of IBL was very much integrated with the work of the churches. The two main goals of the school have always been to prepare Québecois leadership for the ministry and to provide a good biblical and theological foundation for the churches.
In September 1976, the first classes took place under the leadership of Ernest Dyck, who was the President of IBL from its inception until June 1979. Martha Wall, a member of the Saint Laurent MB Church (Église Chrétienne de Saint-Laurent), joined Dyck on the administration team of the new school. Within a few years, several other instructors came to help in this work. Herb Wiens, who was teaching music at Winkler Bible Institute, arrived in 1976; Ben Klassen, a former missionary to Zaïre who had taught high school in Quebec for several years, arrived in 1977, and Gerald Janzen from British Columbia, newly graduated from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, joined the faculty in the summer of 1979.
Unfortunately, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, tension began to develop among the staff and board. This tension was mostly related to the purpose and nature of the school. Some wanted a more typical residential school, while others preferred a less academic school that would be more oriented toward practical pastoral training. In addition to the program concerns, there were also disagreements regarding theological issues. Over a period of less than two years, these tensions led to a low level of confidence between the school and the Québecois leadership.
During the period of turbulence, the Institute experienced several changes in leadership. Ernest Dyck resigned as president in June 1979 and was replaced in the interim by Herb Wiens until he resigned in June 1980. Ben Klassen then became president until 1982.
From the beginning those who took this initiative were convinced that the school should be staffed as early as possible with qualified leaders who emerged from the Quebec churches. In September 1981 Jean-Raymond Théorêt joined the faculty after he completed his studies at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) in Fresno, California. Théorêt, who had pastored for three years before he attended seminary, was the first French speaking Québecois to join the staff on a full-time basis. In the summer of 1982, after the board had completed an institutional self study, Théorêt was appointed president.
Ernest Dyck and Herb Wiens had already left the school. Martha Wall, Ben Klassen and Gerald Janzen were the other members of the IBL team. Janzen taught until the end of the 1983-1984 academic year. He had come to Quebec to help while there were no trained Québecois leaders to teach at the Institute. In 1986 the Board decided to invite Pierre Gilbert, who was then a Ph.D. candidate at Université de Montréal, to join the faculty.
1986 was a transition year for IBL. With the arrival of Pierre Gilbert, the original intention of the initiators to place the government of the school in the hands of French speaking Québécois was fulfilled. The president, registrar and board were made up of people from the province. The Board of Evangelism, which had helped to build IBL, kept an advisory role. Gilbert left in 1996 to teach at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.
1986 was also the year that the Institute moved from Sainte Rose, Laval, to Saint Laurent on the island of Montreal. While the building in Laval belonged to IBL, it was also shared with the Sainte Rose Mennonite Brethren Church (Église Chrétienne Évangélique de Sainte-Rose). The church had grown and it needed more space for its activities. At the same time, the Saint Laurent MB church had an opportunity to buy a former cosmetic factory located in Saint Laurent that had the potential to become a multi functional facility for church activities and church related agencies. Furthermore, the faculty and the Board of IBL had begun to reflect on how the school could be more effective in training for urban ministries. It became obvious that moving the school closer to the metropolitan Montreal would be beneficial for the ministry of IBL. It was decided to move the Institute to the second floor of the new facilities purchased by the Saint Laurent MB Church. In collaboration with Christian Direction Inc., an urban mission, IBL accepted the opportunity to provide training in urban ministries.
For the first ten years of its existence, IBL had no academic accreditation. In the summer of 1986 the Institute developed a Memorandum of Association with the Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC). According to this Memorandum, IBL students were able to complete a Bachelor of Religious Studies degree by taking the final year of their studies at MBBC. This agreement was in place until 1990 when IBL finalized its association with Université de Montréal.
In conformity with this new agreement with the University, IBL offered a one year certificate in religious studies. Students were registered as full fledged university students for their courses taken at IBL and all the courses were taught at IBL, by IBL's instructors. The agreement also provided the option to design courses that specifically responded to the needs of the evangelical churches in Quebec or to choose from the Université de Montréal Faculty of Theology's bank of courses. In the summer of 1996 this agreement was reviewed and improved. Since then Institute students can take up to two years of their studies at IBL toward a Bachelor of Arts, completing their studies at the University. Since 1997 the Institute has offered a Bachelor of Theology degree at it own campus.
In the fall of 1996, Éric Wingender joined the faculty of IBL as instructor and registrar. Wingender, a graduate of MBBS, came to IBL with experience in pastoral ministry, as well as in high school teaching. In June 1998, after Théorêt completed his 16 years as President of IBL and returned to teaching at IBL, Wingender was appointed President.
Under Wingender's leadership, IBL's name changed to École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal (ETEM) during the 2000-2001 school year. According to Wingender the new name better expressed the development of ETEM into an undergraduate school of evangelical theology.
In September 2004 ETEM began a partnership with the Institut Biblique Vie (IBvie), a Christian and Missionary Alliance school launched in 1999. IBvie offers a one year practical theology program spread over three years of study. Institut Biblique Vie has a somewhat Anabaptist theology because of the influence of David Miller, a Brethren in Christ church planter in Quebec City, on the founders of the school.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Théorêt, Jean Raymond and Éric Wingender. "École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2004. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/I57.html.
APA style: Théorêt, Jean Raymond and Éric Wingender. (December 2004). École de Théologie Évangélique de Montréal (Montréal, Québec, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/I57.html.