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Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary – Fresno, CA

Proper Title

Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary fonds

Dates of Creation


Physical Description

16 cm of textual records

Administrative History

At the 1948 convention of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, a proposal was made to begin a Mennonite Brethren Seminary to train future church workers. In 1955, after years of studies and organization, the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) opened in Fresno, California. The first year of courses were offered at Pacific Bible Institute (now Fresno Pacific University). The following year (1956), the Seminary moved to a six-acre campus on the outskirts of the city.

The Seminary received accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1972 and from the Association of Theological Schools in 1977. In 1975, after twenty years of support by the U.S. conference, the sponsorship of the Seminary was transferred to the General Conference of MB Churches. At this time the Canadian and U.S. churches were given equal representation on the board of directors.

In 1963, the Cornelius Hiebert Library was built, as a joint project with Pacific College. Other facility additions have included a prayer chapel (1967), housing facilities (1967), additional office space (1970), a library extension (1980), and a new educational wing with classrooms and lounges (1982). In 1974, the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies was established and the Center for Training in Mission/Evangelism in 1984. MBBS also established a campus in Langley, British Columbia, to compliment the primary campus in Fresno.

B.J. Braun was the first president of the seminary on the Fresno campus. He was followed by J.B. Toews, Henry H. Dick, Elmer A. Martens, Larry D. Martens, Henry J. Schmidt, Jim Holm, and finally, Franklyn (Lynn) Jost, the last president of the seminary in its bi-national form.

In 2010, MBBS divested to separate national seminaries. The Fresno campus became part of the graduate studies program at Fresno Pacific University and was renamed Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary (FPBS). The Canadian seminary program on the campuses of Trinity Western University (Langley) and Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg) became known as Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Canada.

Following Lynn Jost, Terry Brensinger was named as the second president of FPBS (2013–2018).

Scope and Content

The material in this collection consists of minutes and reports from various boards within the school, publicity for the school in the form of pamphlets and newsletters, financial statements, and journals showing students work. The collection gives information on the Campus Expansion that the Seminary was planning in 1979.

Custodial History

The custodial history of this fonds is unclear.


  • Volume 777.
  •  Finding aid consists of a file list.
  • No restrictions on access.
  • Described by Leslie Wiebe, August 7, 2002; updated by Jon Isaak, 3 April 2014.
  • Location: Institutional Records – Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.

File List

Volume 777

  1. Publicity. -- pamphlets. -- 1950–1990.
  2. Publicity. -- newsletters. -- 1950–1990.
  3. Programs. -- 1976–1999.
  4. Seminary Lecture Series. -- 1979–1984.
  5. News Releases. -- 1979–1980.
  6. Weekly Bulletins. -- 1979–1980.
  7. Seminary Quarterly Bulletin and Presidents Newsletter. -- 1979–1980.
  8. Board of Directors. -- minutes and reports. -- October 1979.
  9. Board of Directors. -- minutes and reports. -- February 1980.
  10. Board of Directors. -- minutes and reports. -- April 1980.
  11. Faculty Council. -- minutes. -- 1979–1980.
  12. Administrative Committee. -- minutes. -- 1979–1980.
  13. Correspondence and Reports regarding Campus Expansion. -- 1978–1979.
  14. Correspondence and Reports regarding Campus Development/Library. -- 1979.
  15. Financial Statements. -- 1975.
  16. Financial Statements. -- 1977.
  17. Miscellaneous Reports and Faculty lists. -- 1976–1982.
  18. It’s Sunrise in World Mission: A Vision Statement from the MBBS. By Hans Kasdorf. -- 1984.
  19. Seminary Journal. -- 1962.
  20. Journal of Church and Society. -- 1965.
  21. Catalogues. -- 1971–1975, 1978–1980, 1981–1984, 1986–1995.
  22. The Palm Yearbooks. -- 1957, 1959, 1961.
  23. Treasure in clay jars. An anecdotal history of MB Biblical Seminary's bi-national era 1975–2010. -- 2012.
  24. Pacific Bible Institute Student Association constitution. -- [195–].
  25. Picture of four promotional banners used by the Seminary at the end of its bi-national era. -- [2010?].
  26. Center for Training in Mission /Evangelism (CTME) reports, meeting minutes, and correspondence. --1992–1997.
  27. CTME research paper. "Growth, Plateau, and Decline in Canadian and US Mennonite Brethren Churches in centres over 100,000 people" by Ken Peters. -- 1993.
  28. Center for Training in Mission /Evangelism (CTME) reports, meeting minutes, and correspondence. --1998–1999.
  29. Women in Ministry: A Resource Manual. A seminar sponsored by the Senior Professionals at Fresno Pacific University. -- 2016.
    29a. "In Newness of Life," a drama telling the story of the beginnings of the Anabaptist-Mennonite church, written by Dalton Reimer with music arranged by Beverly Reimer. The drama involves a narrator and three readers, plus music. It was first presented at the convention of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in Reedley, California, on 13 November 1972. -- 1972.
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