From its earliest conception in the late 1800s to its founding in 1940, all the way to the present day we can see how the hand of God, working through His people, has brought the dream of Emmanuel Bible College to reality.
In the early 1930s, the Reverend Isaac Brubacher set aside a $5.00 gift from his son, Elgin, in the hopes that the Mennonite Brethren in Christ (MBIC) denomination would one day have a Bible School of its own. This five dollars grew, as did Brubacher’s plans. By the time the opening of the school was announced, Elgin Brubacher’s five dollars had grown to fifteen, the first donation received by Emmanuel Bible School.
In 1939 the first board meeting of the new school was held; finally, in January 1940, Emmanuel Bible School held its first term in the basement of the MBIC church in Stouffville, Ontario.
As students enrolled at the Bible School, it rapidly became clear that a small school in a basement would not be adequate to meet students’ demands for a full-time program. In 1943 Emmanuel Bible School moved to a more convenient location in downtown Kitchener, on the site of what is now Centre in the Square.
In 1948 Emmanuel Bible School received its "college" designation. Rapidly developing academic expectations led the Board of Directors to change the name of the school to Emmanuel Bible College. The College offered three-year theological and missionary programs, a two-year Christian education program and a one-year evangelical Teacher Training Certificate.
Student enrolment and the college’s prestige continued to grow and, in 1964, EBC moved to its present beautiful maple grove campus in east Kitchener. Now offering a four-year Bachelor of Theology program, Emmanuel Bible College continued to grow rapidly, constructing new residences, facilities and a library as well as establishing partnerships and missions overseas.
Emmanuel Bible College’s curriculum and mandate have continued to evolve and grow. We are accredited with the American Association of Bible Schools and Colleges (now ABHE).
Our Distance Education program has grown significantly since 1994 to offer over 20 correspondence courses, allowing students to study from anywhere in the world. EBC proudly identifies nearly 2,000 alumni serving as missionaries, pastors and workers in Christian and secular services around the world.
In April 2011, Emmanuel Bible College became a certified member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Having purchased two adjacent properties on Fergus Avenue, EBC continues to grow, with about 150 students taking courses each term.
Emmanuel Bible College’s history is one of faith and inspiration. From the first dreams of a Bible School in the basement of a church to a thriving, growing college, EBC is a living testament to what God can do with just five dollars and a dream!
The first donation for Emmanuel Bible College came from Elgin Brubacher, who died while on missionary duties in Africa. The $5.00 gift he sent to his father from Africa was deposited in the bank and grew to $15.00 – the first money received by the Bible School treasury. His mission work and tragic death in 1943 ignited a missionary spirit in many young Emmanuel Bible School students.
As a student at Emmanuel Bible School, Edna Pridham was deeply moved by the death of Elgin Brubacher in Africa. After graduating from Emmanuel Bible School in 1944 she took additional training in tropical medicine, and then followed God’s call to Nigeria, West Africa. Edna served there as a medical worker and teacher from 1945 to her own death in 1972. The EBC Library is named in her honour.
Reverend Ward M Shantz was only 29 years old when he became the first principal and president of Emmanuel Bible School. As the young pastor of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church in Stouffville, he was the Board’s natural choice to lead the new school when it was set up in 1940. He served the school as president and professor until 1953. Rev. Shantz held a special place in the heart of EBC for nearly seven decades.