Evangelical Higher Education in Maine:
A History of New England Bible College & Grace Evangelical Seminary
New England Bible College and Grace Evangelical Seminary is a union of two institutions of Christian higher education dedicated to serving the leadership needs of churches from southern Maine to mid-Maine and beyond.
New England Bible College
NEBC was founded in 1959 as Glen Cove Bible School under the leadership of President Harold Duff to prepare men and women for Christian service. The facilities of Christian Schools, Inc. were located on the shores of Penobscot Bay in the village of Glen Cove, Maine. In 1979 Christian Schools, Inc. became insolvent and GCBC was forced to close its doors. However, permission was sought from the state to reopen the school with a new name in a new location. Renamed New England Bible College, the college opened its doors in January 1980 in Portland, Maine under the leadership of Dr. Jack Christensen. In 1984 Edward Hales became the new president, and the college was moved to larger facilities at the First Baptist Church of South Portland.
Faced with the school’s closure, President Francis approached Grace Evangelical, Inc. to ask if it would assume responsibility for continuing NEBC’s educational mission, which it did in 2015. Grace Evangelical College and Seminary, based in Bangor, Maine,
offered both undergraduate and graduate level theological education. But now its undergraduate program operates under the name of New England Bible College, while its graduate program operates under the name Grace Evangelical Seminary.
Grace Evangelical Seminary
Grace Evangelical College and Seminary was established in March, 2001, incorporated as Grace Evangelical, Inc., under the laws of the State of Maine and overseen by a Board of Advisors and Board of Trustees. Grace Evangelical currently operates under a legislative exemption from the secular charter process available to religious higher education institutions in the State of Maine. Under the exemption, Grace Evangelical is permitted to confer degrees. Grace Evangelical first admitted seminary students in2001 and undergraduates in 2002. The first B.A. in Biblical Studies was awarded May 5, 2006, the first A.A. degree in Biblical Studies in May, 2007, and the seminary its first M.A. in Ministry degree in the same month. In the following year, the second B.A. in Biblical Studies was awarded.
Since its founding, Grace Evangelical has granted more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees. Grace Evangelical maintains Associate status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2008, Grace Evangelical programs were approved by the Maine State Approving Agency for the use of VA benefits to pay tuitions of veterans enrolled in degree or certificate programs at the school. In May 2009, the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) recognized Grace Evangelical as a provider of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in Biblical Studies for ACSI-certified teachers.
Looking to the Future
Grateful for our heritage of faithfulness, we are looking to what God has for the schools in the future. We are committed to equipping Christian leaders in Maine and beyond to answer the call of Christ on their lives. Our desire is to provide access to academic excellence at a low cost and convenient format to help our students achieve their goals.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
The undergraduate teaching at New England Bible College and the graduate teaching at Grace Evangelical Seminary are a strong pairing. We acknowledge Christ to be the central and third strand in our institutions and trustthat He will sustain and grow the schools according to His perfect will.