Briercrest College and Seminary

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Coordinates: 50°27′21.99″N 105°48′53.17″W / 50.4561083°N 105.8147694°W / 50.4561083; -105.8147694

Briercrest College and Seminary
Established 1935
President Dr. Michael B. Pawelke
Undergraduates 640
Location Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
Campus Rural area
Affiliations University of Saskatchewan, AUCC, ATS, ABHE.

Briercrest College and Seminary is a private Christian post-secondary educational institution located in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. It comprises a college and a seminary, and operates the Caronport High School.


Its precursor was a home Bible study in the village of Briercrest, Saskatchewan, which grew to include several members of the community. Eventually the group formed a new church, the Briercrest Gospel Assembly. The people needed a pastor to lead the church and wanted to open a Bible school.

Henry Hildebrand was a student at Winnipeg Bible Institute and a circuit riding preacher with Canadian Sunday School Mission (CSSM). Mr. Sinclair Whittaker, one of the believers at Briercrest, was a businessman and a former Conservative member of the provincial legislature. He contacted Henry, informing him of their need for a pastor and their desire to open a Bible school. Eventually Hildebrand agreed to join them at Briercrest.[1]

Briercrest Bible Institute opened its doors on October 19, 1935, and 11 students enrolled. A rented house served as dormitory, classroom, and office for the school. Mr. Hildebrand was principal and Mrs. Annie Hillson, Mrs. Isabel Whittaker, Jean Whittaker, and Margaret Rusk helped with teaching and administration. Donald McMillan joined them in the second term as assistant principal.

By 1946, they had outgrown their facility, and Mr. Whittaker arranged the purchase of Royal Airforce Base #33 in Caron for $50,000. The new facility was dedicated on July 1, 1946, and the task of converting the airbase into dormitories, classrooms, offices, and staff housing began.

Caronport High School opened in September 1946. A grade school also began that year. Enrollment grew in all of the schools and many new buildings were constructed to accommodate the growing student body. In the early 1970s, the schools began to recognize the need for academic credibility. Briercrest became a candidate for accreditation with the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges (now the Association for Biblical Higher Education) in 1973, and became accredited in 1976. The school was given authority to grant degrees in 1974.[2] In 1979, a distance learning program was launched. In 1982, the name Briercrest Bible Institute was changed to Briercrest Bible College. The seminary began in 1983, and receive accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools in 1998. College enrollment grew from 285 in 1970 to 775 in 1985.

The school's mission statement is as follows:

"Briercrest College and Seminary is a community of rigorous learning that calls students to seek the kingdom of God, to be shaped profoundly by the Scriptures, and to be formed spiritually and intellectually for lives of service."


Briercrest College and Seminary offers one-year certificates, Associate of Arts degrees, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Master of Divinity degrees. Each program includes courses in Bible and theology, Christian ministry, liberal arts, and the social sciences. The college has been accredited by The Association for Biblical Higher Education since 1976.[1] The seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. The seminary employs a modular format (typically one course in one week) for most of its courses.

Briercrest also offers distance learning courses at both the college and seminary levels.

The college is associated with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) and has transfer agreements with the universities of Regina and Saskatchewan.

In early 2011 Briercrest and Minot State University announced a partnership allowing students to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from both schools in five years. The program requires students to complete their Bachelor of Arts degree during the first three years at Briercrest college and the final two at Minot State earning the Education degree. Minot State offers five different concentrations for its B.S.E. As such a students completing this program may select earning a Bachelor of Science in:

  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • History
  • Music
  • Physical Education[3]

The Seminary Research Treasure Hunt is a popular activity among seminary students. In this activity they learn about Harry S. Stout, the their library has 2 fiction texts set in the German reformation, that there are 11 texts on theodicy in their library, and that ATLA has 90 texts on John 3:16, 10 of them being written in German. Leadership in woman and the Christian periodical index are also studied. As they progress begin looking for the 8 articles of ministering to adolescent youth ministry for working with the goth movement. Through the John Griffith's article in the Journal of Near Easter Studies, students search for the origin on the name Moses and search for both of Keith Graham's texts on the end times. Finally, they search to discover more about the Tochia, the role of parent supervision when working youth in the home at age 12, and find 3 leadership journals.

Student life[edit]

The majority of Briercrest College students live in residence and participate in a school meal plan in a dining hall operated by Sodexo.

The college dormitories have a history of being named after people who have had significant impact throughout the history of the schools. Current dormitories at Briercrest include:

Isabel Whittaker (women), known as "Whit"
Sinclair Whittaker (men), known as "Whit"
Hillson Hall (women, high school)
Bergren Place (women)
Sundbo Place (married students, women, and men over 21 years of age)
Lewis Apartments (men), known as "LA"
Eliason Manor (men) built in 2005
Glen Manor (men, high school)

The last of the war-building dormitories, known most recently as Gable Heights, was demolished in summer 2005.


The campus landmark is the 2,000-seat Hildebrand Chapel. Facilities also include a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) library, nine student dormitories, a 42-room inn, a recently renovated dining hall, a double-court gymnasium, a hockey arena, tennis courts, numerous sports fields, a recording studio, a Subway franchise, and two coffee shops.


Briercrest College and Seminary's sports teams are known as the Clippers, and compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. Varsity and sports include basketball, hockey, and volleyball. Soccer is a club sport. Each sport includes participation by both men and women on separate teams. Briercrest College and Seminary officially opened an NHL size hockey arena which seats over 500 spectators on February 7, 2009. The arena is named the Barkman Arena in honour of one of its past presidents, Dr. John Barkman.


Throughout their 72-year history, Briercrest has had five presidents: Henry Hildebrand (1935–1977); Henry Budd (1977–1990); John Barkman (1990–1996); Paul Magnus (1996–2004); and Dwayne Uglem (2004–2013): Michael Pawelke (2013-Present) —Sinclair Whittaker served as president of the board until 1950.


Briercrest College and Seminary is governed by a 25-member board of directors who ensure that operational policies contribute to the guidance, empowerment, and direction of the senior leadership and staff while maintaining the health and mission of the schools.

Histories of the College[edit]

Budd, Henry. Wind in the Wheatfields: A Pictoral History of Briercrest Bible College, 1935-1985. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible College, 1985.

Hildebrand, Henry. In His Loving Service. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible College, 1985.

Palmer, Bernard and Marjorie Palmer. Beacon on the Prairies: The Men God Uses in the Building of Briercrest Bible Institute. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible Institute, 1970.

Palmer, Bernard. Miracle on the Prairies: The Story of Briercrest Bible Institute. Caronport, SK: Briercrest Bible Institute, [1960?].


  1. ^ Guenther, Bruce L. "Briercrest Schools" in The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2005.
  2. ^ Guenther, Bruce L. "Briercrest Schools" in The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2005.
  3. ^

External links[edit]

All facts, unless otherwise stated, are from Briercrest College and Seminary's web site