“Course to Canada” Exhibit Features Church of God Education in Canada

Cleveland, TN–“Course to Canada” is a new Church of God Heritage Exhibit in the Discipleship and Education Center of the Church of God International Offices. The new exhibit tells the story of Church of God education in Canada, featuring the former International Bible College and introducing current ministerial training through the new Canadian School of Ministry.

Students and faculty of the first year (1936-1937) of South Saskatchewan Bible Training School meeting in Consul, South Saskatchewan, Canada. President James W. Bruce is seated with Bible. Later the college was renamed International Bible College. Photo courtesy of Evelyn Roset. (click photo to enlarge)

International Bible College is the major focus of the exhibit. Originally known as South Saskatchewan Bible Training School, it was the first Church of God educational institution in Canada. Although Canadian students initially attended Northwest Bible and Music Academy—first in Lemmon, South Dakota, and then in Minot, North Dakota—winter travel made the journey almost impossible, and Canadians petitioned for a school of their own. Overseer Paul H. Walker traveled to Saskatchewan on a mission to find the right person to open the school and recruited Dr. James Wesley Bruce to become the president of the new Bible training institution. From 1936 until its closing in 2012, the college went by three different names, resided in four different cities, and occupied five different campuses. Students from around the world came to IBC for Pentecostal training, which directly resulted in Church of God ministry to many parts of the world.

Utilizing photographs, local church minutes, and other artifacts, the exhibit highlights students, leadership, campuses, and curriculum including the “Church of God on the Air” radio program. Viewers can use a QR code to view President M. G. McLuhan’s film footage spotlighting life on the Outram Campus. Much of the information in the exhibit comes from Lyle Esau’s recent book, Reflections: The History of International Bible College, which was the 2020 winner of the Charles W. Conn Historical Writing Award.

Although International Bible College is now closed, Church of God education in Canada continues. The exhibit introduces the Canadian School of Ministry, developed under the leadership of Canadian National Bishop Keith Ivester, along with Regional Overseers Larry Hasmatali of Western Canada, Lennox Walker of Eastern Canada, and the late Jacques Houle of Quebec/Maritimes. Dr. Blayne Waltrip serves as the National Education Coordinator and Liaison. The Canadian School of Ministry launched its first course in the fall of 2020 and has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, so that students may transition between the schools. Students can also transfer credits to Lee University, Horizon College and Seminary, Bethel Bible College of the Caribbean, and Patten University.

The public may view the exhibit in the lobby of the Discipleship and Education Center during regular office hours. Lee University History and Anthropology Student Lindsey Johnson curated “Course to Canada” under the direction of Dr. David G. Roebuck, Church of God Historian and director of the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center.

(Source: Dixon Pentecostal Research Center)

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