Q. Is Penn View a “God’s Missionary School”?
A. Penn View is an interdenominational school in the sense that it welcomes students and faculty from many denominations; however, Penn View was founded by God’s Missionary Church and the General Board is still involved in its affairs.
Q. What role does God’s Missionary Church play in the governing of the school?
​A. The General Board of God’s Missionary Church has final authority over decisions made at the school; however, it plays a limited role. The Penn View Board of Directors is given much freedom. This board welcomes individuals from other denominations.
Q. Are most God’s Missionary pastors trained at Penn View?
A. While we encourage our young people to attend Penn View, we also support other Bible Colleges. The current Conference President Jacob Martin is the first in our history to have attended Penn View. Still, over 50% of our licensed ministers are alumni.

Penn View was founded in 1965 to train Christian workers. Today, it has grown significantly and welcomes students from many denominations and countries.

During the God’s Missionary Church General Conference of 1965, after nearly 15 years of praying and planning, the possibility of beginning a Bible school was brought to the conference floor.
The ministers and delegates were told that an adjoining sixteen-acre plot of ground, owned by Clair Knapp, was available. They went to the hill on the property that day, August 5, 1965, and joined together in a season of prayer. By faith, they claimed the ground for God’s work and a school.

Before the next General Conference, the land had been purchased. A ground-breaking service took place on July 31, 1966, the closing day of that year’s camp. As a large number of people walked to the hilltop, one man remarked, “It looks like the children of Israel marching toward the land of Canaan.” The Lebanon Valley Gospel Band played a few appropriate numbers. General Superintendent Rev. George I. Straub called on Rev. Truman Wise to read some Scripture. While he read from II Chronicles 6, God placed His visible seal on the school. Rev. Arthur Thomas took a Polaroid picture, for the God’s Missionary Standard, of Rev. Wise reading the Scripture. As the photographer pulled the photo from the camera, he seemed to hear a voice saying, “This is the seal of My approval upon the school.” When the picture developed, a phenomenal seven-branched flame like forked lightning hovered over the Bible. God had clearly made it known that He was pleased and that His presence would continue with them. Rev. Steve D. Herron, then president of Hobe Sound Bible College and that year’s camp evangelist, raised the first $25,000 for the school that afternoon.

Since classes were to be conducted in the camp facilities, the dormitories were completely remodeled to accommodate classrooms. They were also rewired and winterized with insulation and a new heating system. On September 6, 1966, the school opened with Rev. Edwin Mayes serving as principal and 52 students enrolling in grades one through eleven. Despite the inconveniences placed upon the teachers and students, the opening year was a good year.

The steel structure for the school building was erected during the camp of 1967.

The second year of operation welcomed many improvements. Rev. George W. Stepp came to be the first president of the school. Rev. and Mrs. David Fuller, graduates of God’s Bible School and College, joined the faculty and he became the high school principal. Total enrollment increased to 132 students. The institute department was birthed as 15 of the 132 students enrolled in institute courses. The music department organized the first male quartet and ladies’ trio to represent the school in regional churches and camp meetings and thereby, publicize the new Christian day school and Bible college. Throughout this school year, 11 dedicated teachers worked and prayed together. Students, with minimal murmuring, endured such inconveniences as walking and sliding over slippery, mucky clay to get to classes, then sitting in classrooms that, on a few occasions, were slightly less than a comfortable temperature. The completion of the new school building during the academic year brought welcomed relief. Six high school students graduated at the close of this second, very successful school year.

During the third year, the school continued to expand in many directions. Total enrollment numbered 195 students. Rev. LaDette Cooley, music director, organized the school’s first choir and orchestra. At the close of the school year, the high school department awarded diplomas to 12 students, and the institute presented their first graduates.

The effect of the various traveling representative music groups helped to push total enrollment over the 300 mark the following year.

May God be praised for the able men He brought forward to steer the school through its uncharted course! Rev. Howard Frey succeeded Rev. Stepp and, indeed, proved to be a great leader and God’s man for the job. One of his interests involved the development of a library. As a result, a good basic library was soon established. Symbolic of the forward thrust the school enjoyed under his leadership was the addition of several faculty residences to the campus.

After Rev. Frey, Rev. Arthur Thomas was elected to the office of President and served in that capacity for seven years. During this time, Rev. and Mrs. Earl Deetz, Jr., left their pastorate in Shamokin, PA, to serve Penn View Bible Institute in an administrative capacity. Before long, he was appointed Executive Vice President. The Deetzes exuded the enthusiasm needed at the time, resulting in many improvements around the campus during the next several years, including landscaping, sidewalks and chapel renovations. The Dollar-A-Week program had its beginning about this time and really helped to ease the financial burden. This period of the school’s history is to be remembered for the many spiritual victories, for the financial gains, and for the academic and musical accomplishments. The first long-play record album was produced in 1972. Because of the success of this outstanding recording, the making of records and tapes continued. 16 recorded projects have been offered to the public for their spiritual enrichment.

In 1978, Rev. Deetz was involved in an automobile accident and was unable to continue his work. Again, God had a man. Rev. Kenneth Walter assisted Rev. Deetz in hopes that he would recover and be able to resume his duties. When it became apparent that this would not be the case, the General Board placed Rev. Walter in the president’s position. Campus development and school spirit continued throughout Rev. Walter’s years of service. His experience as a builder was a valuable asset to the school, and everyone around campus was soon aware that Rev. Walter could handle hard physical labor even with “President” on his door. During his term, the Hallam family provided funds for a beautiful building that stands to the west of the main building as a memorial to Margaret Hallam and her son, Owen. Thank God for their dedication to Christian education!

The excellent dining facility on the lower campus was completed during Rev. Walter’s years. God called on Leonard Raub, a layman from the Lebanon God’s Missionary Church. This God-sent man, with his zeal and ambition, brought new hope to the dining hall project, and soon others showed interest and brought their tools and finances to the work. In the summer of 1981, Rev. Straub’s vision for a new dining hall was finally fulfilled as the camp meeting crowd gathered for the first meal in the new building. Next, this vigorous leader and his faithful crew ventured dormitory renovations. The beautiful exterior renovations required many hours of hard work. Thank God for the men and the money that made these needed changes possible! Although the physical changes show up the most, that these were good years in every other way must also be noted. 
After laboring faithfully for five years, Rev. Walter felt that his work was done. Rev. Garry Spriggs, from Kansas City, was hired to fill the position as president. Although his stay was relatively short, only two years, he worked diligently for the advancement of the school. The prayer room annex of the tabernacle was remodeled to become the (Rev. LaDette W.) Cooley Memorial Prayer and Music Studio. Also, the debt-reduction program was revitalized during Rev. Spriggs’ administration, enabling the school to make substantial progress in the liquidation of its overall indebtedness.

In 1986, Rev. Paul Martin was elected to serve as president of this God-sanctioned institution. Rev. Martin brought much zeal and vitality and began to work almost immediately on clearing the indebtedness on the large administration/classroom Building. In October 1988, his dream came true. A mortgage-burning service was held in the G.I. Straub Memorial Tabernacle to commemorate this accomplishment. Even though the total debt at the school was not cleared, an immense load was lifted from the monthly obligations. Rev. Martin served faithfully until 1990, when he went to York, PA, to pastor.

Rev. John W. Zechman,
the first alumnus to serve as president, succeeded Rev. Martin. God has not lifted His blessings, but continues to pour them out frequently. Since Rev. Zechman’s arrival, numerous changes have been taken place. The institute has grown to more than double its previous size, and the academy has grown also so that the current total of both departments has hit 300 again. Students have come from nearly 20 states and several foreign countries. Because of the steady growth, construction of new buildings became necessary. In spring 1997, construction of a new dormitory began. In summer 2000, it was dedicated and named (Rev. John W.) Zechman Hall. Much of lower campus was developed into parking lots and then paved, providing sufficient parking for the dormitory students as well as hundreds of visitors who come to campus for various activities. The Straub Memorial Tabernacle was renovated and is now used on a regular basis for the daily chapel services as well as other services. The library, developed during the Frey administration, has been moved to the former chapel so that more volumes could be added and more study space created. A new maintenance facility was erected, and construction has begun on the Mason/McIntire Student Life Center, which will provide a new music hall, additional dining space, a snack shop, student lounge, and gymnasium/auditorium.

The local public school district decided to consolidate and, therefore, close the nearby Penns Creek Elementary School. Consequently, the elementary school was put up for public auction. God helped Penn View Bible Institute to place a bid for it in October 2004, for nearly one-quarter of a million dollars and raise the money to pay for it in a mere six months. In March 2005, a parade of the entire student body, the faculty and staff, school board members, and the District Superintendent of the local public school marched from the main campus to the new Penn View Christian Academy Elementary School. What an exceedingly joyful day! Today, pre-K through 6th grade occupy this building, and our elementary enrollment has swelled to 100.

For more than 40 years, men and women have been faithful to the calling. Staff and faculty continue to offer themselves as living sacrifices for the cause of Christian education. Hundreds of young men and women have walked from the halls of Penn View Bible Institute and Penn View Christian Academy to find the path of life. Many are preaching the glorious Gospel at home and abroad. Others are teaching in Christian schools. Some are preacher’s wives. Others are medical missionaries, doctors, sanctified factory workers, leaders, and followers. Yes, they have issued from the halls of this school, and they make all the work and sacrifice worthwhile. May God bless them in all of their pursuits of life, and bless Penn View Bible Institute with all that is needed to meet the challenges of training young people for the work of the Kingdom.

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