OTTERBURNE, MB – Earlier this month, we celebrated Providence’s 97th birthday. Our institute was founded in 1925 under the name Winnipeg Bible Training School, and as we look all the way back to the beginning, we can confidently say that God’s faithfulness has been evident over the years.
In 1991, our university college and seminary name was changed to Providence. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word “providence” means “the protective care of God” and “timely preparation for future eventualities.” This is an accurate description of what we’ve experienced over the years.
Providence has seen its share of change, challenges and struggles.
It all started with Rev. H.L. Turner who said, “The Lord laid it on my heart to start a Bible School.” He began with only 26 students and three faculty members doing evening Bible classes in a modest church basement in Winnipeg.
Some will still remember when Providence rented temporary facilities in the Fort Osborne Army Barracks (Winnipeg) in the late 1960s, and how President Hanna led the search for a new location in the early 1970s. He, alongside of his Board, negotiated and raised money to purchase the Otterburne campus (formerly St. Joseph’s, a Catholic school for boys).
In a recent video, some our longest standing staff and faculty, including Gary Schellenberg and Dennis Hiebert, recall how Providence navigated through the recession in the early 1980s. And in our most recent memories, we remember the fire that destroyed Bergen Hall (2017) and COVID-19 (2020 to present) and how that has impacted our Providence community.
BUT God has been faithful through it all. Gary Schellenberg, Vice President Emeritus, affirms that, “Prov is still here. There have been struggles, but that has caused us to not take God for granted. We have learned how to rely on God to get us through.”
Dr. Dennis Hiebert, Professor of Sociology, started at Providence more than 40 years ago and is recorded as saying, “We have good people and good programs in every department of the institution. We have a good opportunity to be distinctive in Christian higher education. And we have a good God.”
This is the hope that takes us into the New Year – God’s faithfulness. His faithfulness has been demonstrated year after year, and it will be what carries us through into the future as we work together to fulfill the mission to “teach people to grow in knowledge and character for leadership and service.”
Scott Masterson, Vice President Operations, says it best by concluding, “God continues to bring amazing people to our institute. I think we have a lot of great momentum that’s building. I think President Anderson is the right person for the job at the right time in our history. I’m excited for the team we’ve built here at Providence. There are so many good opportunities on the horizon.”
You can listen to more stories by viewing our recent video with staff and faculty reflection here.