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Bridgebuilders-full length feature film produced by FWBC

The College in 1953 produced a “feature film” shown in many towns across the US.

The full length film “Bridgebuilders” was produced by Fort Wayne Bible College in 1953.  It was believed to be the first motion picture designed Bridgebuilders main credit wcspecifically to show the value of a Bible College education.  It was filmed in Fort Wayne and in Sierra Leone, West Africa and featured the life of Jake Schierling, a 1948 graduate of the College.  Many scenes were filmed on the platform of Founders auditorium where sets were constructed.  The football scene was filmed at South Side High School stadium.

The film premiered in Fort Wayne at the Gospel Temple, May 10, 1954 with around 2,000 attending.  On May 23 it was shown at Jake Schierling’s home church in Van Nuys, CA with 600 attending.  By its third year the film had been viewed by some 122 audiences totaling over 18,000 people.  It was also shown on Fort Wayne television during the Fiftieth Anniversary celebration of the founding of the College (1904-1954).

Both Jake and Ruth Schierling have passed on to their reward.  The churches in Sierra Leone have grown and are in the process of making disciples and planting new churches.  Another FWBC alum Steve Harrigan g85 visits Sierra Leone regularly to assist the church leaders in their ministries.  Also, Janet Nickel g74 lives in Freetown, SL and seeks to rescue those caught in human trafficking.   Over the years more than 30 graduates of the College have served as full-time missionaries in Sierra Leone.

Click here to view video segment one of Bridgebuilders

Click here for articles about “Bridgebuilders”                                                                                              

Vision, Vol. 2, No. 1, October, 1953                                                                                                                              

Vision, Vol. 2, No. 7, April, 1954

Vision, Vol. 2, No. 8, May, 1954

Vision,  Vol. 5, No. 2, October, 1956

Missionary Nursing Degree

195510 FWBC missionary nursing class

One of the most unusual degree programs Fort Wayne Bible College offered over the years was a Bachelor of Science in Missionary Nursing Service. The program began in 1952 and graduated the last student on this program in 1986. Over those 34 years, 113 nurses graduated. This unique program, designed to meet an urgent need for professionally trained missionary candidates, was made possible through the cooperation of near-by Lutheran Hospital (then located on Fairfield Avenue not far from the College).

This was a five year program with the first year at FWBC, three years of nursing training at Lutheran Hospital, and a final year at FWBC with a heavy concentration in Bible and Missions.  

Click here to read an article about the program in the college magazine VISION, Oct. 1955. Pictured are 15 students enrolled at that time.

Flying Club

FWBI Had A Flying Club
Contributor: Bill Gerig g61

During the 1945-47 school years, Fort Wayne Bible Institute had a “Flying Club” made up of students with a vision for missionary aviation. Dr. S. A. Witmer, President of the institute at the time, was a pilot and no doubt encouraged the program. The club founded the Missionary Airmen’s Fellowship. They met weekly for training, and if “school work was up to par” the members were allowed to fly (for a reasonable rate) the plane the Fellowship had leased.

Click here to see the Flying Club yearbook page (Light Tower, 1946, page 71)

Missionary Aviation Diploma In the 1947-48 catalog a program is outlined for the Missionary Aviation Diploma. Click here to read the requirements of the program. (1947-48 Catalog, p22) Turn to page 31 for the Private Pilot’s Course requirements.

Unfortunately the program was only offered that one year due to the death of the instructor in a plane crash at the airport. Click here to read of the accident (The Bible Vision, Oct/Nov 1946, pp 24,25)   Click here to see the memorial page to Mr. Robert Pridy in the college yearbook (Light Tower, 1947, pages not numbered)

The First Catalog1905 BTS catalog cvt

1905 Catalog First Published
Contributor: Jay Platte g69

Until recently, the Alumni Center had not seen the first catalog from the Fort Wayne Bible Training School. In fact, we were not sure one existed. Thanks to a contribution by Rose Ann Nickel, the Alumni Center Archive now has it in our possession. It has been scanned and placed on our website. Among the interesting things might be the first leader was actually two; Rev. D. Y. Schultz and Mrs. D. Y. Schultz. The sections on Qualifications of Students and Faculty also are great interest. The center of the catalog also accurately gives the timeline of the beginning of our campus. To see the catalog, click here.

D.Y Schultz

Ad Building Renamed in 1949 After Founderbw picture
Contributor: Bill Gerig g61

From 1905 to 1949 Schultz Hall was known as the Administration Building (Ad Building). In August 1949 the Board decided to name the building after Rev. D.Y. Schultz, probably the most important person in the beginning of the school in Fort Wayne.

Here are some quotes from a “Bible Vision” (September, 1949) article, “Ad Building Renamed in honor of Rev. D. Y. Schultz”.

“That fall (1904) the old Administration Building was begun in Fort Wayne with Brethren J. E. Ramseyer,        

D. Y. Schultz, Chris Hirschy, David Roth, and William Egle serving as the Building Committee. The architect worked with and under the direction of Mr. Schultz, who was the most versatile, many-sided man I have ever met. On January 3, 1905, the school was formally opened in the City Rescue Mission on East Columbia Street while the building was being completed. When not checking up with the architect or contractors or firing the furnace to hasten the drying of the plaster, Mr. Schultz was teaching us the Book of Romans and Advanced English.”

“Before moving into the building in mid-February, he with Mrs. Schultz as Superintendents had worked out the placing of the 50 resident students (the total enrollment was 68), assigning them their rooms and their hour’s work. He also maintained the curriculum and saw that things were running smoothly in the dining room and kitchen.”

Ad bldg later named Schultz Hall

“To Mr. Schultz, more than to any other man, we are indebted for the Fort Wayne Bible Training School, as it was called then. He was the brain behind it…. Mr. and Mrs. Schultz carried the load of the school educationally, financially, and spiritually.”

Click here to read the whole article honoring Rev. D. Y. Schultz

Christmas Television Special

Sunbeam Bread Was Sponsor
Contributor: Jay Platte g69

It was fall of 1968. Grant Hoatson, Director of Public Relations for Fort Wayne Bible College, received a call from Perfection Biscuit Company who wanted to sponsor a half hour television Christmas special featuring Fort Wayne Bible College students. Mr. Hoatson approached Miss Joy Gerig and Jay Platte and asked if the Singing Collegians could do the program. They agreed if the sound could be recorded in advance (TV studios weren't really equipped to handle music groups live). After late October recording session, about nine selections were prepared for the television taping done in early December at WANE TV.

The following is a video of selected images and the music (a video of the actual program can't be found) put together by Jay Platte. We hope this will bring a little of the joy of Christmas to you in this special time of year, celebration Christ's birth.

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