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Yarrow, British Columbia

Edited by
Esther Epp Harder, Edwin Lenzmann, and Elmer Wiens

Elim Bible School, Yarrow, B.C. 

Instructor and Class Pictures by Esther Epp Harder and Edwin Lenzmann

Elim Bible School — Completed In 1945
Elim Bible School 1945
Photograph: Agatha Klaassen (Yarrow 90)
Klassen, Agatha. E. Yarrow: A Portrait in Mosaic. Clearbrook, BC: Klassen, 1976.

The church leaders of the instant, immigrant community of Yarrow perceived the need to provide advanced instruction in the teachings of the Bible. They were keenly aware of the moral and spiritual challenges that beset the early immigrant, Mennonite communities of Imperial Russia during the previous century, and were cognizant of the immediate needs of Yarrow's young people. Students attending a Bible School would obtain a better understanding of how the Bible's teachings relate to a Christian life. Furthermore, the men and women graduating from a Bible School would provide Sunday school teachers for Yarrow's growing youth population. Through the efforts of concerned, perceptive leaders such as Gerhard J. Derksen, Yarrow's Elim Bible School "came into being in the fall of 1930," holding its first classes in the "men's coat-room in the lobby of the newly-built M.B. Church" (Klassen 89).

Old Bible School Buildings
Old Bible School Buildings
Used for Sunday School and Wednesday evening programs
In the early 1950's it housed the SMC classes

For twelve years, Bible School classes were held wherever space became available. Adequate accommodations for one year quickly became overcrowded in the next year, as the school's enrolment grew from 30 students in 1930 to 150 students in the early 1940's. In 1942, the Mennonite community completed the construction of a two-story structure on the northwest corner of the churchyard. This well appointed building had four classrooms on the first floor, an auditorium and two classrooms on the second floor, plus a basement with a spare classroom, library, and furnace room (91). Four large windows provided excellent lighting to each classroom. From the vantage of the north windows, one looked onto the greenery of a large nursery, and the dikes and cottonwood trees along the Vedder River. The southern windows looked onto the MB Church, the increasingly busy traffic along Yarrow's Central Road, and the slopes of Vedder Mountain. The two stout wooden doors at its entrance were reached by a distinctive set of stairs, a favourite gathering place for many students awaiting classes.

Since the dominant language (Muttersprache) of Yarrow's Mennonite pioneers was German (spoken in various dialects), German became the preferred language of instruction in Yarrow's Bible School. The Mennonite Christian faith was based on an interpretation of the German Bible as translated by D. Martin Luther, with all its cultural associations. These Yarrow pioneers of the Mennonite Brethren church acquired their German language during their two hundred and fifty years in Prussia (c1570-c1820), and maintained this German dialect during their one hundred years (c1820-c1920) in Imperial Russia. It was imperative that the instructors' knowledge and understanding about the Mennonite Brethren denomination as a people with a unique history be passed on in German.

The Mennonite name and faith derives from the Frisian, Anabaptist Menno Simons. An ordained priest, Simons broke with the Catholic Church. He believed, along with Martin Luther, that God's salvation derived from an individual's acceptance of the direct influence of the Bible according to the will of God. The intent of the syllabus of Elim Bible School was to develop each student's ability to interpret the Bible, based on faith in Jesus Christ.

Elim's curriculum reflected this intention along with the needs of the Mennonite community, and the availability and abilities of instructors. In 1930, the school offered instruction in "Bible Doctrine, Bible History, Sunday School Methodology, and German Language" (Klassen 89). The courses offered to students were modified and supplemented over the years. During the 1940's, the syllabus included subjects in "Choir and Music, Homiletics, Christian Ethics, Child Study, Story-telling, Mennonite History and Psychology," along with its core subjects (89-90).

From its inception in 1930 to its conclusion in 1955, teachers trained at the Winkler Bible School in Manitoba were critical to the success of Elim Bible School. The school's founding teacher, Peter D. Loewen, was a graduate of Herbert Bible School in Saskatchewan, and Winkler Bible School. Other Winkler Bible School alumni who taught at Elim include Gerhard Sukkau, Herman Lenzmann, and Henry Bartsch. These instructors passed on the practical philosophy and methodology of Winkler, by emphasizing practical skills that knowledge of the Bible makes possible (Penner, Peter. "Glimpses of Elim Bible School, 1930-1955." Yarrow, British Columbia: Mennonite Promise: Village of Unsettled Yearnings. Ed. Leonard Neufeldt. Victoria, BC: Touchwood, 2002. 81-82).

Yarrow's Elim Bible School Founders

Gerhard J. Derksen Peter D. Loewen
Gerhard J. DerksenPeter D. Loewen

Yarrow Bible School 1930-31

First Yarrow MB Church in the Background
Yarrow Bible School 1930-31
Yarrow Bible School, 1930-31
Instructors Far Left: John A. Harder,       Far Right: Peter D. Loewen

Yarrow Bible School 1935-36

Yarrow Bible School 1934-35
Yarrow Bible School, 1935-36
Instructor Far Right: Abram Nachtigal

Elim Bible School 1938-39

Elim Bible School 1938-39
Elim Bible School, 1938-39

Elim Bible School 1940-41

During the 1940-41 school year, more than 90 students were enrolled.

Elim Bible School 1940-41

Instructors: Gerhard H. Sukkau, Jacob Regehr, Cornelius C. Peters, John A. Harder

Elim Bible School 1942-43

During the 1942-43 school year, 131 students were enrolled.

Yarrow Elim Bible School 1942-43

Row 8 (top row):   F. Thiessen, H. Kliever, H. Rempel, Wm. Friesen, J. Giesbrecht, J. Epp, J.J. Stobbe, J. Braun, J. Wiebe, B. Loewen, G. Schellenberg, J. Hooge, J. Hamm, John Giesbrecht, A. Dyck, A. Neufeld, Cornelius Balzer, J. Unger.
Row 7:   E. Martens, A. Dyck, A. Hoppe, K. Reimer, M. Reimer, E. Dyck, S. Wiebe, E. Neufeld, E. Klassen, A. Enns, A. Schellenberg, S. Schmidt, H. Klassen, M. Martens, M. Klassen, E. Wiebe, A. Klassen, B. Martens.
Row 6:   E. Falk, M. Wedel   ...   Susie Epp, A. Fast, Mary Krause, Gertie Giesbrecht,     ..........     H.H. Dueck, Lena Giesbrecht, A. Peters, E. Derksen   ...   M. Krahn, M. Retzlaff.
Row 5:   C. Wiebe, M. Dirksen, Abe Sawatzky, G. Stobbe, L. Isaak, H.P. Neufeldt (Teachers G.H. Sukkau, Johann A. Toews, C.C. Peters [Principal], J.H. Epp, H. Lenzmann) M. Wiens, H.H. Muller, J. Wall, S. Balzer, L. Fast.
Row 4:   M. Giesbrecht, R. Thiessen, Henry Funk, Gertrude Esau, M. Siemens, Katie Abrahams, T. Fast, H. Pauls, S. Wedel, B. Kornelson, H. Reimer, S. Guenther, M. Martens, Naomi Krause, J. Harder, W. Teichroeb, H. Reimer, B. Enns.
Row 3:   N. Fleming, H. Loewen, A. Reimer, M. Schmidt, M. Pauls, B. Wedel, M. Bergen, M. Wiebe, Kay Wittenberg, E. DeFehr, L. Dirksen, A. Sawatzky, L. Berg, Mary Klaassen, K. Martens, L. Wedel, Sarah Brucks, E. Goertz.
Row 2:   L. Warkentin, Helen Loewen, T. Krueger, A. Goertzen, N. Rempel, A. Riesen, M. Knelsen, C. Esau, E. Pauls, M. Dyck, A. Klassen, T. Neufeld, B. Esau, E. Warkentin, Freda Brucks, A. Isaak, M. Toews, B. Rogalsky.
Row 1:   P. Dyck, A. Loewen, Nick Reimer, H. Wall, Peter P. Neufeldt, J. Derksen, J. Isaak, M. Epp, A. Friesen, L. Riesen, J.J. Stobbe, John Abrahams, J. Bargen, P. Teichroeb, C. Kroeker, A. Kroeker, Jake Martens, E. Dyck.

List of First and Last Names: student names.

Graduating Class — Elim Bible School 1942-43
Graduating Class Yarrow Elim Bible School 1942-43
Instructors: Herman Lenzmann, Gerhard H. Sukkau, Cornelius C. Peters (Principal), Johann A. Toews, Sr., J.H. Epp

Elim Bible School 1943-44

During the 1943-44 school year, 94 students were enrolled.

Elim Bible School 1943-44
Instructors: Herman Lenzmann, Johann A. Toews, Cornelius C. Peters (Principal), Jacob Epp, Gerhard H. Sukkau

Elim Bible School 1944-45

Elim Bible School 1944-45
Instructors: Cornelius D. Toews, Herman Lenzmann, Cornelius C. Peters (Principal), Gerhard H. Sukkau

Elim Bible School 1944-45
Instructors: H. Lenzmann, Cornelius D. Toews, G.H. Sukkau, C.C. Peters

Elim Bible School 1945-46

During the 1945-46 school year, 61 students were enrolled.

Elim Bible School 1945-46
Instructors: Herman Lenzmann, C.D. Toews, C.C. Peters (Principal), H.G. Bartsch, B.B. Boldt.

Since a Mennonite Brethren-sponsored high school (Sharon Mennonite Collegiate Institute) was created in that year, enrolment in the Bible School dropped. Up to that point most Bible School students had not graduated from high school.

Elim Bible School 1946-47

Yarrow Elim Bible School 1946-47
Row 8 (top row):   Mary Mathies, Erna Block, Helen Harder, Erna Koop, M. Warkentin, M. von Bergen, L. Berg, E. Falk, M. Wiens, Leona Wiens, Elizabeth Dyck, A. Stobbe, L. Bergen.
Row 7:   Is. Toews, Peter Unger, John Rempel, Nick Reimer, NIck Dyck, A. Matthies, Liese (Elizabeth) Brucks, T. Friesen, Kay Schellenberg, E. Wall, M. Unger, F. Matthies, A. Hamm.
Row 6:   M. Dyck, A. von Niessen, Helen Epp, L. Klassen, Arthur Dyck, David Balzer, Dan Sagert, J. Esau, John Schellenberg, E. Toews, M. Stobbe, A. Siebert, Mary Riesen.
Row 5:   A. Penner, H. Reimer, H. Dyck, H. Siebert (Instructors H. G. Bartsch, C. C. Peters, [Principal], H. H. Lenzmann) B. Loewen, E. Delesky, K. Neufeldt, W. Dyck.
Row 4:   R. Derksen, A. Reimer, W. Gunther, C. Neumann,       .............       F. Siebert, V. Friesen, R. Thiessen, W. Falk.
Row 3:   J. Enns, W. Epp, C.Dyck (Instructors Walter Wiebe, Rudy Boschman) D. Abrahams, A. Isaak, J. Thiessen, C. Wiebe.
Row 2:   H. Rempel, F. Hamm, D. Fast, A. Stobbe,       .............       J. Koehn, D. Schultz, S. Friesen, P. Penner.
Row 1:   E. Stobbe, A. Enns, M. Schueble, M. Riediger,       .............       H. Falk, H. Dyck, M. Wiens, P. Giesbrecht.

List of First and Last Names: student names.

Graduating Class — Elim Bible School 1946-47
Graduating Class Yarrow Elim Bible School 1946-47
Instructors: R. Boschman, Henry G. Bartsch, C.C. Peters (Pincipal), H. Lenzmann, W. Wiebe,

Elim Bible School 1947-48

Female Students 1947-48
Female Students Yarrow Elim Bible School 1947-48
Photo courtesy of Cornelius (Cornie) Funk
Graduating Class and Instructors
Graduating Class Yarrow Elim Bible School 1947-48
Elizabeth Dyck (Peters), Margaret Warkentin (Dyck), Cornelius Funk, Mary Unger (Loewen), Annie Hamm (Geddert)
Instructors: Walter Wiebe,   Nikolai Siemens,   G.H. Sukkau and H. Lenzmann.

Elim Bible School 1948-49

Elim Bible School Prospectus 1948-49 Elim Bible School Prospectus 1948-49

Instructors: Elim Bible School 1948-49
Instructors: G.H. Sukkau, R. Boschman, Nikolai Siemens, Frank C. Peters

Elim Bible School 1949-50

At mid century enrolment stood at 50 - 55 students.

Yarrow Elim Bible School 1949-50
Instructors: J.H. Martens, H. Lenzmann, G.H. Sukkau (Principal), Jacob B. Harder
Row 7 (Top):   Abe Koehn, M. Martens, Mary Pauls, A. Martens, Erna Block, Erna Wittenberg, Helen Block, Frieda Reimer, E. Toews, Katie Ewert, A. Unger.
Row 6:   M. Neumann, Katie Janzen,       .............       Lydia Martens, M. Loewen
Row 5:   Helen Abrahams, Anne Neufeld, L. Bargen, Anne Kaethler, H. Dyck, M. Martens, Martha Braun, K. Neufeldt, Mary Isaak, Helen Wolfe.                
Row 4:   M. Fast, J.R. Martens, Instructor, Herman Lenzmann, Instructor,      ..........       G.H. Sukkau, Principal, Jacob B. Harder, Instructor, Frieda Friesen.
Row 3:   H. Allert,       .............       M. Fast          
Row 2:   K. Allert, D. Block, W. Friesen, Lillian Harms, Irma Sukkau, D. Plett, Susie Funk, Mary Bergman, R. Dyck, E. Harder, ——                          
Row 1:   J. Wittenberg, M. Mathies, T. Loewen, Katie Fast, Walter Giesbrecht, Mary Braun, H. Neumann, Frank Dyck, Lillian Hooge, Corny Penner, Rudy Klassen.

Elim Bible School 1950-51

Elim Bible School 1950-51
Instructors: H. Lenzmann, A. Neufeld, H. Warkentin, G.H. Sukkau (Principal)
Row 6 (top row):   Aron Koehn, Jake Enns, Helen Abrahams, A. Martens, Mary Isaak, Katie Ewert, M. Loewen, Lydia Martens, Elma Loewen, Martha Isaak, M. Pauls, Ed Krause.
Row 5:   John Janzen (Instructors Herman Lenzmann, Abe Neufeld, Henry Warkentin, G. H. Sukkau [Principal] ) Menno Unger.
Row 4:   M. Matties, Mary Braun, Betty Krause, H. Neumann, Bertha Loewen, Lily Hooge, K. Klassen, Anne Fast, Frieda Friesen, Katie Fast, Helen Siebert, Elfrieda Rempel
Row 3:   Corny Penner, Frank Dyck, George Baerg, J. Wittenberg, M. Enns, S. Martens, Mary Fast, Frieda Epp, John Friesen, Tony Loewen, Walter Giesbrecht, Rudy Klassen.
Row 2:   Jake Schmidt, J. Wiebe,       .............       John Neufeld, Corny Allert.
Row 1:   George Heinrichs, Anne Fast, Florence Martens, Agnes Kopp, Ervin Toews, Ed Kopp, Dave Giesbrecht, Frank Koop, Lydia Schmidt, A. Dyck, K. Klassen, Peter Kaethler.

Elim Bible School 1951-52

Elim Bible School Choir 1951-52
Elim 1951- 1952 Choir - Abe J. Neufeld Conductor, Betty Krause, Pianist

Wir sind dankbar für die Gabe des Gesanges and erinnern der Leser an Kol. 3:16:
" ... Lehret and vermahnet euch selbst mit Psalmen and Lobgesangen and geistlichen,
lieblichen Liedern and singet dem Herrn in eurem Herzen."
    A. J. Neufeld

Back:   J.C. Janzen, David Froese, Frank Koop, George Heinrichs, David Giesbrecht, Alvin Harder, Peter Kaethler, Jake Martens
Second Row:   Ernie Isaak, Ed Kopp, Corney Dyck, Ben Unger, John Neufeld, Waldemar Borowski, Frank Dyck, Corney Pauls, Cornie Dyck
Third Row:   Rose Mary Harder, Katie Ewert, Betty Unruh, Stella Unruh, Lydia Schmidt, Bertha Loewen, Lydia Bartsch, Eleanor Vogt, Mary Koehn, Anne Neufeld, Mary Braun, Helen Gossen
Front:   Betty Krause, Mary Dyck, Katie Bergman , Helen Huebert, Lydia Martens, Mary Isaak, Abe J. Neufeld, Anne Fast, Agnes Kopp, Elvira Toews, Elma Loewen, Helen Abrahams, Mary Klassen.

Elim Bible School 1952-53

Elim Bible School 1952-53
Instructors: Henry Klein, H. Warkentin, Abe Neufeld, P.C. Tilitzky

Elim Bible School Students - 1952-53
Elim Bible School Students - 1952-53

Abe Neufeld conductor, Betty Krause, pianist

Back: John Goosen, David Braun, Alvin Harder, David Froese, Walter Koop, Rudy Klassen, Frank Koop, Jake Enns, George Baerg, Roland Sawatsky
Middle: Susie Dyck, Katie Goossen, Anne Koop, Stella Unruh, Betty Heinrichs, Bertha Loewen, Lydia Schmidt, Helen Fast, Betty Riesen , Elsie Fast, Anne Neufeld, Betty Unruh, Laura Suderman
Front: Helen Spenst, Lydia Penner, Margaret Ewert, Ann Fast, Agatha Dyck, Mary Dyck, Helen Siebert, Erna Baerg, Helen Goossen, Helen Wolfe, Mary Koehn, Helen Hiebert, Hanna Nikkel, Katie Klasssen



Yarrow Elim Bible School: Instructors 1930 — 1955


1930 - 1931 Peter D. Loewen Peter D. Loewen     John A. Harder John A. Harder

1931 - 1932 Peter D. Loewen Peter D. Loewen   

1932 - 1933Peter D. Loewen, Peter D. Loewen   

1933 - 1935

Elim Bible School Closed


1935 - 1936 Abram Nachtigal Abram Nachtigal   


The Name 'Elim' Was Adopted


1936 - 1937 Abram Nachtigal Abram Nachtigal   


The Yarrow MB Church assumed some financial responsibility for the school


1937 - 1939 John A. Harder John A. Harder     John Wiebe 

1939 - 1940 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     John A. Harder John A. Harder
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Isaak Dyck 

1940 - 1941 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     John A. Harder John A. Harder
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Jacob Regehr 

1941 - 1942 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Johann A. Toews
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Jacob Epp
Sylvester Dirks Sylvester Dirks

1942 - 1943 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Johann A. Toews
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Jacob Epp;
Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann

1943 - 1944 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Johann A. Toews ;
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Jacob Epp
Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann

1944 - 1945 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     C.D. Toews


The Bible School building (NW corner of the church yard) was built


1945 - 1946 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
B.B. Boldt B.B. Boldt     C.D. Toews
Heinrich Bartsch Heinrich Bartsch  

1946 - 1947 Cornelius C. Peters Cornelius C. Peters     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
Rudy Boschman Rudy Boschman     Walter Wiebe
Heinrich Bartsch Heinrich Bartsch  

1947 - 1948 G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Nikolai Siemens
Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann     Walter Wiebe

1948 - 1949 G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Nikolai Siemens
Rudy Boschman Rudy Boschman     Frank C. Peters

1949 - 1950 G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
Jacob B. Harder Jacob B. Harder     John R. Martens 

1950 - 1951 G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
Abe J. Neufeld Abe J. Neufeld     Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin

1951 - 1952

First Yearbook — Elim Palm


1951 - 1952 G.H. Sukkau G.H. Sukkau     Herman Lenzmann Hermann Lenzmann
Abe J. Neufeld Abe J. Neufeld     Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin

1952 - 1953 Abe J. Neufeld Abe J. Neufeld     Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin
Peter C. Tilitzky Peter C. Tilitzky     Henry Klein Henry Klein

1953 - 1954 Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin     Aaron Warkentin
Peter C. Tilitzky Peter C. Tilitzky     Waldo Lepp 
    Henry Klein Henry Klein  

1954 - 1955 Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin     George Konrad 

1955 - 1956 Henry Warkentin Henry Warkentin


Elim Bible School Ends Operations




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