Calvary Bible School
Calvary Bible School (CBS) is an unaccredited, post-secondary Bible school under the umbrella of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite constituency. The school had its first session in 1970, and has since held annual sessions for 12 weeks a year. The primary attendees are Beachy Amish-Mennonite young adults in their late teens and early 20s. Conservative Mennonite students may also attend. Terms are held annually from January through March.
The following history is taken from the 1970 Clarion, the school's annual yearbook:
Shortly following World War II, several Mennonite missionaries near Calico Rock, Ark., were inspired to build a Christian Day school. The objective of this school was to teach and train the local young people for Christian growth and service. Consequently a three-story brick structure was erected about seven miles southwest of Calico Rock, named Bethel Springs School.
For eighteen years this building reverberated the noise and prattle of school children from grades one through twelve. In the spring of 1966, school was discontinued here. The institution, with its outlying cabins, then became subject to vandalism, being unoccupied so much of the time. The Sister's Sewing Circle would meet there monthly, and an occasional Mennonite Fellowship meeting or Camp Week was held there. But the original objective for which the institution was erected and dedicated was far from being fulfilled.
In the meantime the Lord was moving in many areas of the Amish Mennonite churches. Among both older and younger members the desire for a more concentrated Bible study was growing. The available facilities in our sister churches were overcrowded. Our own branch of the church, up to this point, had not launched into this field. Therefore a study committee was elected at the annual Beachy Ministers' Fellowship, held near Wellesley, Ont., Can., in April, 1968.
During the following year interest among our churches seemed to increase. As a result at our Ministers' Fellowship, which met near Montgomery, Indiana, in April, 1969, a school board was elected. Special prayer was offered for guidance in locating a suitable institution. Various leads were investigated. It was apparent that the door at Calico Rock was wide open, while all others were barred. Taking this as a direct answer to prayer, a plan was established to have two three-week terms at the Bethel Springs School, now renamed Calvary Bible School.
The friendly welcome that we received from the people of the community, from the small Bethel Springs church, and from the people of Calico Rock was heartwarming.
The board and faculty of Calvary Bible School are dedicated to further Christ's kingdom here on earth. This we do through Bible study, meditation, and prayer, as well as the practical application of being a light to the world and the salt of the earth.
Isn't it also possible that now, twenty-two years after their erection, the purposes for which these facilities were built and dedicated are also being fulfilled?
So, as we listen to the melodious hymns of praise wafting through the campus; as we glance into the dorms teeming with activity; or even as we enjoy a delicious meal in the cafeteria, we must say with Balaam of old- "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT!"
W. W. Wagler
CBS originally had three, three-week terms, but in 1975 started a fourth three-week term. During the 1990s, there was concern about the ability to manage student behavior. The CBS board took the following steps to address concerns: 1) They appealed to home congregations for better teaching and respect for guidelines, as the school feels helpless to address these problems during the short term the student is at the school. 2) A more rigorous application and screening process was instated, 3) The minimum age for attendance was increased from 16 to 18, and 4) the third and fourth terms were combined into one six-week term that included a more intense academic program.
The school is led by one principle, several deans, and a policy board of five Beachy ministers. A certificate may be obtained after completing the required number of credits in select categories. One credit is awarded for each three-week term course, and three credits are awarded for each six-week term course.
Above: Evening supper program at the end of a three-week term
(Top): A Calvary Bible School class convenes