Whitewater (Manitoba) Bible School
The decision to open a local Bible school for youth ages 14 and up was made by the Whitewater Gemeinde Bruderschaft 11 December 1935. The first board members were H. Lohrenz, P. A. Neufeld and C. Sawatzky. A local minister, Peter Janzen (1890-1945), was recruited as teacher. The first class met in an empty farmhouse designated for this purpose, presumably in January and February of 1936. High hopes were to continue in the winter of 1936-37. However, no teaching staff could be found and no school was in operation during the winters of 1937-41.
Support for a local Bible school increased again in the early 1940s. In December of 1941 G. G. Neufeld, by then leading minister, Gerhard J. Dyck and Heinrich M. Derksen were asked to make new efforts to get the school going again. There was, however, also an invitation for the Gemeinde to join the increasing provincial support for the school at Altona, by now known as Elim Bible School. While willing to give some support to the latter, the Whitewater Gemeinde declined the invitation because it hoped still to operate its own Bible school.
The board recruited minister, and former teacher in the Ukraine, C. C. Matthies (1878-1968) from Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan as teacher for the 1943-44 winter on a contract of $80.00 monthly (or $60.00 plus room and board). The church supplied heating fuel.
The class of 13 students met in the church beginning October 1 and continued through February of 1944. Heinrich Dueck, Peter Dyck and Peter Harms comprised the school board at this time.
But 1944-46 found the struggling school without a teacher again. In spite of that, congregational interest and optimism continued. The importance of education and mission was evident in the congregation's 1946 thanksgiving and missions offering of $615.00. It was designated as follows: Altona Bible School $60, local Bible School $60, Rosthern Bible School $45, Gretna school $100, Bethania $40, Girls' Home $40, foreign missions $40, home missions $40, North American mission $35, Deloraine hospital $75, and mutual aid $80.
Matthies declined an invitation to return to teach; other prospects also did not work out and the school remained closed. After that attention turned to give full support to the Elim Bible School in Altona.
Protokoll der [Gemeinde] Bruderschaft/beratung: 11 December 1935, 30 December 1935, 23 September 1936, 13 October 1936, 22 October 1936, 1 June 1942, 29 December 1942, 1 October 1943, 30 December 1943, 29 December 1944, 26 August 1945, 31 December 1945, August 1946, 23 September 1946, 14 October 1946, Mennonite Heritage Centre, microfilm 207.
Peters, Gerhard I. Remember Our Leaders: Conference of Mennonites in Canada 1902-1977. Clearbrook: Mennonite Historical Society of British Columbia, 1982: 130.
Neufeld, G. G. Die Geschichte der Whtiewater Mennoniten Gemeinde in Manitoba, Canada, 1925-1965. G. G. Neufeld, 1967.
History of the Whitewater Mennonite Church, Boissevain Manitoba 1927-1987. Boissevain: Whitewater Mennonite Church, 1987.
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MLA style: Ens, Anna. "Whitewater (Manitoba) Bible School." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2002. Web. 25 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W508.html.
APA style: Ens, Anna. (February 2002). Whitewater (Manitoba) Bible School. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/W508.html.