Welcome to the story about the birth of Full Gospel Bible Institute (FGBI)
Full Gospel Missions Conference
A pastoral organization known as Full Gospel Missions, was growing rapidly in the 1930's and 40's. In October 1943, this group met in the town of Eston to discuss the need for a Bible School. As a result the conference agreed on the formation of the Full Gospel Bible Institute (FGBI) with the sub title "The Official Missionary and Bible Training Centre of the Full Gospel Missions."
The first school was to start, in Vancouver, with Rev. W. J. Ern Baxter as Principal. A winter correspondence course was initiated with night classes available. Unfortunately these plans did not work out and Vancouver was determined not the best place for this Bible school.
Trossachs Gospel Camp
In the summer of 1944, at Trossachs Gospel Camp, a steering committee of five men was chosen to launch the Full Gospel Bible Institute on the prairies. This committee comprised of Glen S. McLean, Lorne O. Pritchard, J. Ronald Burnside, Elmer Powers and Harold Hollands. A thousand dollars was donated to start the project.
Possible FGBI Sites
The Canadian Prairies
A frantic search for a location began. Pangman SK, Trossachs Gospel Camp near Weyburn SK, Veteran AB, Maple Creek SK and other locations were considered but none seemed suitable. Eyes turned to Eston.
Lorne Pritchard, A Founder
Transcript of Video
Lorne Pritchard - The Trossachs Pow-Wow
My name is Lorne Pritchard. I was born in 1920 on a farm in Saskatchewan. I started to preach in 1938 and got involved with the Full Gospel Bible Institute at it's very beginning at Trossachs Camp in Southern Saskatchewan. Brother whose name was Harold Hollands went into what was then cottage number one to meet with Dr. Glen S. McLean who was just Glen McLean to me, raised as boys together, he was 4 years older than I am and right from childhood we played together and Harold went in to talk to Glen McLean to tell him about a burden he had after studying the story of the church at Antioch in the Book of The Acts. And Brother McLean listened to Brother Hollands and went to his case that he had and pulled out some notes, they were almost identical to what Brother Hollands had talked about. It was a result of that meeting a public meeting was called to consider the beginning of a Bible institute. When I stop and think about it back in July 1944 the war was on, but there were a lot of young people that were on fire for God in those days and so it was really born out of that meeting, the meeting that was held one of the humourous things about it. I was chosen, I don't know why because my granddaughter says she can't read my writing now so it must have been worse then, and I was asked to be the secretary and took minutes in a "Pow-Wow Scribbler". Now young people don't know what that is today, but on the cover was written Pow-Wow Scribbler. And so that was kind of a famous document around and I took the minutes of that first meeting in that Pow-Wow Scribbler and that day if I remember correctly 5 men were chosen to be the first board members (eventually, they were not official, but they were named). And the men that were chosen were chairman of that meeting Harold Hollands, and he was chosen and was up perhaps in his 70's at the time, in his 60's at least. Have you ever noticed when you are young, men don't have to be very old, to be very old to you. And Brother Hollands was chosen, Brother Glen McLean was chosen, Elmer Powers was chosen, and Ron Burnside, my Brother-in-law, was chosen and then I was chosen to be that part of the first board of the Full Gospel Bible Institute, which I don't know if it was named that day yet, I don't think it was given a name. But then Brother McLean was chosen to be principle or the head of whatever school would be formed. And after I don't know how many hours we had talked at this conference decided it would be located at Eston and then Brother McLean recommended that Wardy Johnston and George Bailey, from Eston become a part of that original seven board members. When we had our meeting as an official board, George Bailey was chosen to be the first chairman and I continued for a number of meetings to be secretary.
But in between then the year after we were married we were at the 1944 camp meeting and there were a lot of young people and a lot of the boys were already away in the air force and army, navy because the war was right at the height at that time but there were still young people. The argument I remember Brother McLean and Harold making this statement "If two weeks of Bible study at a camp meeting can do so much for a young person why wouldn't a winter of Bible study do much more." So the school was formed definitely a prairie school, we weren't thinking of the cities or the suburbs we were thinking the rural areas. We had in mind these farm boys you see the war kept boys on the farm if they were really producing. That was part of the war effort. These boys they didn't have cattle in those days like a lot have now, they had a free winter from November until the end of March. It would be a wonderful time to have them at Bible School. So it was all orientated in that direction. You start when the harvest is finished, you get them back on the farm to start with the spring work. I think it was 5 months at the beginning. But even that a Bible study would be so much for young people.
Meanwhile the Eston Church (Glen S. McLean, Pastor) had already bought land at the southeast corner of town and was quite willing for it to become the home of FGBI. Later that summer the committee came to Eston to look over the site. Locals, George Bailey, Wardy Johnston and Albert D. Marshall, together with the committee, became the authorized board of FGBI. On a typical Saskatchewan windy fall day, a dozen representatives from the conference went to the stubble field at the edge of town, agreed upon the lot and purchased it from the Eston Church.
To learn about Rev. Glen S. McLean (a key player in starting FGBI) see "3 - Glen S. McLean - The driving force".
To continue the story of FGBI see "4 - The College Grows".