Hall Of Fame
CHARLES E. COWMAN
Missionary, Administrator, 1868—1924
LETTIE BURD COWMAN
Missionary, Devotional Writer, 1870—1960
From a sample copy of God’s Revivalist, Charles and Lettie Cowman learned of Martin Wells Knapp; and later they joined him for a brief period at GBS, becoming members of its first class in 1900. It was here that Charles received divine direction that he and Lettie should to go Japan as faith missionaries, “trusting the future wholly to God’s hand.” Arriving in Japan, they began the legendary work of the Oriental Missionary Society, establishing a Bible school in Tokyo, and eventually carrying their evangelistic thrust into Korea. In 1910 they formally organized OMS with Charles as its president. Faithfully supported by the GBS and its constituency, they regularly reported their missionary work in the Revivalist in which Lettie also wrote her devotional column “Thoughts for the Quiet Hour” for decades. Out of her grief at Charles’ untimely death, she authored her best-selling devotional classic Streams in the Desert (1925), which made her famous. She became a popular conference speaker and served as OMS president from 1928–1949. “From that sample of the Revivalist,” she wrote in 1920, “has grown a Bible training school in Japan and another in Korea which have sent forth more than seven hundred and fifty Japanese and Korean holiness preachers.”
DR. WILLIAM BAXTER GODBEY
Evangelist, Author, Professor, 1833—1920
“William B. Godbey was one of the most influential evangelists of the Wesleyan-holiness movement in its formative period (1880-1920)” writes Dr. Barry W. Hamilton. “Thousands of people experienced conversion or entire sanctification under his ministry . . . .” As a close friend of Martin Wells Knapp, “Doctor Godbey” was a favorite evangelist at the Salvation Park camp meetings, a constant contributor to God’s Revivalist, and an influential professor at God’s Bible School. Personally eccentric, he was nevertheless a recognized scholar, a college president (Harmonia College 1859-1869), skilled orator, world traveler, and prolific writer. A member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, he was a relentless advocate of the doctrine of entire sanctification; and for this reason, GBS’s constituency devoured his over 200 books and pamphlets, including a seven-volume Commentary on the New Testament. It was Godbey who offered the final prayers at Knapp’s funeral in 1901 and helped stabilize the school in the wake of its founder’s passing. When not away in revivals, the old evangelist made his home at GBS during his final years, and he died “on the Mount of Blessings and in his own room (No. 9, Boys’ Dormitory).” His funeral was held on campus with six GBS students as his pallbearers.
ERNEST ALBERT KILBOURNE
Missionary Pioneer, 1865—1928
“Our program is clear-cut and well-defined. We have no loopholes for excuse or equivocation . . . As Christians we must obey the Great Commission. . .” This statement of E. A. Kilbourne sums up his intense and sacrificial commitment to Christian missions. Converted through the influence of Charles E. Cowman, he joined the International Apostolic Holiness Union (later the Pilgrim Holiness Church) in 1900 and came the next year to the newly-established God’s Bible School in Cincinnati to prepare for missionary service. Upon the completion of his studies in 1902, he, his wife Julia, and their children Edwin and Ila, sailed for Japan, where they joined forces with Charles and Lettie Cowman, who had begun their work there the previous year. Very soon Kilbourne became founding editor of Electric Messages, the mission’s first periodical; and in 1910 he helped the Cowmans organize their outreach into the Oriental Missionary Society, now OMS International. For 15 years he gave himself to evangelizing, discipling, and church planting, then returned to the United States where he assumed administrative leadership of the mission in 1918. After Charles Cowman’s death in 1924, Kilbourne served as second president of OMS until his own death in 1928.
ELMER G. MARSH
Minister, Educator, Fourth President of GBS, 1880—1972
Elmer G. Marsh gave a lifetime of service on the Mount of Blessings. “If somehow words could be used to describe his quiet influence which he had directly on thousands, and indirectly on millions . . . they would fill volumes” as his obituary in God’s Revivalist declared. E. G. Marsh attended his first GBS camp meeting in 1910, then enrolled as a student in the college. Upon graduation in 1912, he became a teacher in the Christian Workers Course; and except for one year’s leave of absence, he remained in a GBS classroom until his retirement in 1967. At a time when the school faced near financial collapse, Marsh took major responsibility in raising funds for debt-retirement, assuring investors of the school’s viability, and maintaining rapport with its constituency. It was his own personal character-steadfast, devout, and self-composed-that was his greatest contribution. When he was his eighties he became the fourth president of God’s Bible School, serving faithfully in that position for four years until his retirement in 1965; and then he carried the title “president emeritus” until his death. Marsh was author of a number of books, including The Old Man, which became a holiness classic. GBS alumni still remember his oft-repeated motto, “God’s clock keeps perfect time.”
Educator, Author, Intercessor, GBS Symbol, 1873—1971
“Perhaps more than any other individual, she is the symbol of God’s Bible School.” This tribute to Nettie Peabody at the time of her death remains unchallenged. Her tenure of over 60 years on the Hilltop is the longest in the school’s history; and her steadfast, godly, and consistent life is remembered with awe by alumni. She enrolled as a student in 1901 and in 1902 began her long teaching career, serving also for a time as registrar and later as dean of the correspondence school. In GBS’s darkest hours, she joined Alice “Mom” White and E. G. and Anna Marsh as campus prayer warriors whose faith and persistence helped save the school from closing. It was during this period that she took her famous “faith walk” around the campus and its environs, claiming all of it for God based on the promise of Joshua 1:3. She had wanted to be a foreign missionary, but the Lord showed her that her missionary outreach was to be through her students. Thus, she was able to say near the end of her years at GBS that she had reached nearly every country of the world. Nettie Peabody frequently wrote in God’s Revivalist and was the author of The Glory of the Son of God (1960).
CHARLES L. SLATER
Missionary, Evangelist, 1884—1950
“On October 25, 1902, I arrived at the school,” wrote Charles Slater of his first day at GBS. “Truly it seemed I was on holy ground, and I was indeed…” He remained until 1905, preparing for the ministry, and then with his wife Maude he left for the state of Washington to begin home missionary work. In 1909 they sailed for Africa, where for nearly five years they served as missionaries in Swaziland until Maude’s health problems forced them to return home. Later they served briefly in British Guiana, South America, and Barbados; then for a time, Charles was a pastor and an evangelist in the United States. But “in the following years,” as his Revivalist obituary noted, “he was permitted to circle the globe in missionary evangelism, visiting most of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the British West Indies, and the Orient.” During his last tour of missionary evangelism-which included Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and South Africa, “God honored his ministry by letting him see over 6,000 souls seek the Savior.” He died unexpectedly in South Africa and was buried near Johannesburg. Slater kept close contact with his alma mater, returning frequently as evangelist for camp meetings and conventions and writing in God’s Revivalist.
DR. CHARLES BRENTON WIDMEYER
Educator, Evangelist, Musician, 1884—1974
C. B. Widmeyer came to GBS among its first students in 1902 and remained until 1904. Eventually he was to hold six academic degrees. Ordained by Seth C. Rees, co-founder of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, he later united with the Church of the Nazarene, and for 70 years he was to remain on its roster of ministers. For 40 years he taught in holiness schools, serving as president of Bethany Nazarene College, 1915-1920, and as president of Pasadena College, 1923-26. He also filled pastoral and administrative positions; and for 24 years he was a member of the General Board of his denomination. “He ministered in most states of the Union,” former GBS president Samuel Deets wrote in an obituary tribute; “he ministered around the world at least three times, preached in sixteen different languages through interpreters; and held positions in mission schools in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Australia.” Dr. Widmeyer returned to his alma mater to teach on the GBS faculty from 1945-1948. Not long before his death, he said, “I look heavenward every day and wonder when the Lord will come and take me home.” He is best known today for writing the gospel songs, “Come and Dine” and “In the New Jerusalem”.
LULA GLATZEL SCHMELZENBACH
Missionary Pioneer, 1886—1960
It was during GBS’s “Salvation Park” camp meeting in 1906, that the “Lord spoke clearly,” to Lula Glatzel, repeating His call to missionary service. For nine months, she had been a GBS student; but now she began a year of deputation services, then boarded a ship for Africa. Friendship developed with another passenger, young Harmon Schmelzenbach, who was also going as a missionary; and after their marriage in June 1908, they began a lifetime of heroic and sacrificial service. With their own funds, they set out on a two-month journey by donkey cart to Swaziland, where in a vast area untouched by the gospel they established a flourishing outreach for the Church of the Nazarene. “Mrs. Schmelzenbach spent forty-two years in missionary service . . . ,” according to an obituary tribute. “She shared the dangers and disappointments and the victories of her husband’s labors and saw the field grow from one lonely station in Endingeni, Swaziland to a vast mission area covering five countries and employing nearly one hundred missionaries . . . [with] more than twelve thousand converts and church members.” After Harmon’s death in 1929, she loyally continued their ministry until ill-health forced her return to the United States.
Lillian Trasher was a GBS student in 1906-1907. After serving as pastor and evangelist, she worked in an orphanage in North Carolina, but felt increasingly the call to missionary service. Ten days before her wedding, she broke off her engagement to a young man who did not share her burden. Opening her Bible to Acts 7:34, she took as her own the divine imperative, “I will send thee into Egypt.” She sailed to Alexandria, traveled by train to Cairo, and by boat to Assisout, where she began her work. In 1911, she was called to the bedside of a dying mother who requested that she take her pitifully-neglected three month old child. This was the first of 25,000 poor, homeless, and rejected children whom she was to care for in the orphanage she established. Her courage was legendary, and her labors were inexhaustible. “In 1927, she witnessed the revival she had long prayed for. In the meantime, she continued sewing, washing, feeding, and building,” as researcher Teresa Giordanengo has written. “She continuously relied on God for things.” Trasher is regarded as one of the most esteemed missionaries of the Assemblies of God, and today the Lillian Trasher Orphanage is one of the largest and finest of such institutions in the world.
As a teenager, Claudie Peyton dedicated herself to missionary service, though it was not until 19 years later that she was able to fulfill her dream. Learning of God’s Bible School from God’s Revivalist, she left her home in rural West Virginia to come to Cincinnati to prepare for her calling. “Candy,” as she was called, was a student at GBS from 1913-1917, but then had to go home to help her family. She returned to the Hilltop in 1926 and graduated from the Christian Worker’s Course the next year. Disappointed when her application to the Sudan Interior Mission was rejected because doctors were convinced that she was too frail to “live more than a year in the African climate,” she went to work at GBS’s orphanage for four years, saving her wages to pay her way to Africa. In 1930 she sailed for that continent, arriving in what is now southern Zambia. She taught in the Choma Compound School for ten years, then in 1940 started an orphanage for abandoned children, many of whom she adopted, giving them her own name. In 54 years of missionary service, she returned only once to the United States for a six-month furlough in 1963. Two years before her death, she was honored with the Order of Distinguished Service by the President of Zambia.
THE TEN BOYS OF JAPAN
The Great Village Campaign of 1917
“When this issue reaches our readers,”
Their names are Lewis Hiles, John Orkney, Rollie Poe, William Miller, Vernie B. Stanley, Everette Williamson, Paul Haines, Edward Oney, William Thiele, and Harry Woods.
JOHN FRANKLIN SIMPSON
Pastor, Church Administrator, Missionary, 1891—1981
Like so many others, John Franklin Simpson found his wife and lifelong companion in ministry on the Hilltop. Two years after his own graduation from GBS in 1913, he visited the campus to see his sister Hattie before leaving for Kansas, where at the suggestion of E. G. Marsh he was to hold evangelistic services. In the Administration
DR. RUFUS DELAND REISDORF
Minister, Educator, Missionary Statesman, 1896—1976
It was in 1917 that Rufus Reisdorf left his native Houghton, South Dakota, for Cincinnati, Ohio, where he enrolled at God’s Bible School and College. After graduating from the Hilltop with a theological certificate (1919), he continued his education at Marion College and Vanderbilt University. During his long and successful career in Christian ministry, Dr. Reisdorf was to become a significant figure in the Wesleyan Methodist Church (later The Wesleyan Church), serving in such roles as pastor, evangelist, missionary, conference president, Editor of Sunday School Literature (1939-43; 1947-59) president of Miltonvale College (1943-1948), and General Superintendent (1959-1963). From 1943-1946 he was also a chaplain in the U. S. Army. In his later years, Reisdorf served as a leader in his denomination’s work in the Philippines.
DR. CHARLES W. CARTER
Minister, Educator, Missionary, Author, 1905—1996
Charles W. Carter was an earnest young evangelist who enrolled in God’s Bible School and College in 1924, then graduated four years later with a certificate in theology. “The Bible school had some able Bible and theology teachers . . . ,” he recalled; “I was also much impressed and edified by the spiritual atmosphere of the campus.” It was here that he was married to Elizabeth Hutchinson, whom he had met at GBS, in a double wedding with Garnett Philippe and Elma Stephenson, later OMS missionaries to China and India. GBS President Standley presided at the service. Charles pursued further education at several other institutions, became an ordained Wesleyan minister, and served with distinction as pastor, evangelist, and college professor. His teaching career included tenure at Marion College, Taylor University, and the China Evangel Seminary in Taipei. For 18 years, he and his wife worked as
DR. LESLIE D. WILCOX
Minister, Educator, Theologian, Author, 1907—1991
Leslie Wilcox was converted at the age of 16, then came as a student to God’s Bible School & College, where he remained until his graduation in 1927. In the following
HARRY L. SHREVE
Missionary Pioneer, 1910—1982
INA E. SHREVE
Missionary Pioneer, 1909—1999
Harry and Ina Shreve gave decades of courageous pioneer missionary service. Harry, a native of Montana, graduated from GBS in 1931, then went to Marion College, where he received the BA degree. On August 8, 1934, he was married to Ina E. Mitchell, whom he had met at GBS. Descended from a devout Methodist family, she had come to the Hilltop in 1928, graduating in 1931. It was here that she was entirely sanctified and settled her call to China. After their marriage, they sailed for China, where they served under the Oriental Missionary Society. Their labors were extensive, fruitful, and challenging; but the Communist insurgency forced them to leave that troubled country in 1949. They served for a year in the Philippines. In 1952 they founded Evangelical Wesleyan Mission; and under its auspices, they established missionary outreach in Cuba, until again a Communist take-over forced their departure. In 1963, Harry and Ina began operations in Key West, Florida, ministering to Cuban refugees fleeing the oppression of their homeland; and for the next 25 years, a church, a school, and a ministry to U. S. military personnel developed. In 1964, the Shreves also established holiness work in Taiwan. To this day their Evangelical Wesleyan Mission continues under the direction of their only son Raymond.
Minister, Humanitarian, 1914—2012
“At the age of 14, I responded to the call of Christ to ‘Come, follow me,’” writes Sam Emerick, who graduated from GBS’s high school in 1934. Today he is known around the world as one of the founders, as well as the first president, of Habitat for Humanity, which builds affordable housing for the poor. “All of this has its connection with GBS,” he comments, “because it stems from the compassion that was stirred in me when I saw the 16,000 children and 2,000 destitute adults at our Thanksgiving meal.” In 1968 Emerick, now a Methodist minister joined 16 others in Sumpter County, Georgia, to build Habitat on a foundation of Christian principles. “Over the last 25 years, Habitat for Humanity has grown to a world-wide organization,” Rev. Jack Hooker wrote in God’s Revivalist, after a 2003 interview with Emerick. “That’s more than 55 houses per day or 21,000 per year. Over 145,000 homes have been built in 83 countries.” Of the influence of GBS and its famous Thanksgiving Day dinners, Emerick remarks, “I was not aware of the impact at the time, but it has grown on me through the years. I am sure that the Spirit that inspires the will and the deed has been the link in the services I’ve been privileged to render.”
DR. WESLEY L. DUEWEL
Missionary, Educator, Author, 1916—2016
Wesley Duewel holds two degrees from God’s Bible School and College, Bachelor of Arts (1938) and Bachelor of Theology (1939), and also an earned doctorate from the University of Cincinnati (1952) and the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity from Taylor University. For nearly 25 years he was a missionary to India under the Oriental Missionary Society (now OMS International), serving as principal of the Allahabad Bible Seminary (1946-1964) and director of OMS work in India (1953-1964). He has also been OMS’s vice-president (1964-1969), president (1969-82), and since 1982, special assistant for evangelism and prayer to the president. In 1995 he was made president emeritus for OMS. For 19 years he was a member of the North American Board of the World Evangelical Fellowship and for 20 years a member of the board of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is a life member of the board of directors of Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Duewel is the author of ten books, 1.7 million copies of which are in circulation in 12 languages. He has maintained a deep love for his alma mater and was a founding member of GBS’s Alumni Association.
DR. A. WINGROVE TAYLOR
Evangelist, Educator, Holiness Movement Leader, 1923—2017
Wingrove Taylor “established his reputation as one of the great holiness evangelists of the 20th century,” as historian William Kostlevy has observed; and Taylor is also known as GBS’s “favorite son” in consideration of his many contributions to his alma mater. A native of the Virgin Islands, he came as a student to GBS in 1948 and remained to earn two degrees, BA and ThB in 1952. He has received the MA degree from Indiana University and has been given honorary doctorates from both Houghton College and GBS. His distinguished ministerial career has included service as pastor (1953-1964), district superintendent (1962-1964), president of Caribbean Wesleyan College (1964-1974), and general superintendent, Caribbean Conference, The Wesleyan Church (1974-1994). His earnest and eloquent pulpit delivery has made him a favorite conference and camp meeting speaker throughout the Holiness Movement, and he has served in that capacity at GBS camp meetings for many years. Taylor has also served as president of the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association and has been an officer in the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean. He has received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and is a member of GBS’s Board of Trustees on which he has served since 1970.
He received multiple honors over his lifetime including:
- Lifetime Achievement Award, WTS (Wesleyan Theological Society), 2002
- Doctor of Divinity, GBSC (God’s Bible School & College), Cincinnati, OH, 2000
- Doctor of Divinity, CGST (Caribbean Graduate School of Theology), Kingston, Jamaica,
- Distinguished Alumnus Award, God’s Bible School & College, 1986
- Doctor of Divinity, Southern Wesleyan University, Central, SC, 1986
- Holiness Exponent of the Year, CHA (Christian Holiness Association), 1982
- Doctor of Divinity, Houghton College, Houghton, NY, 1972
DR. VERLON OTHA AGAN
Pastor, Evangelist, Church Administrator, 1924—2006
Converted early in life, V. O. Agan attended God’s Bible School and College from which he received his high school diploma in 1942 and the ThB degree in 1945. Throughout his long ministerial career he rendered distinguished service as a pastor, evangelist, and church administrator. He was highly supportive of holiness missionary efforts, especially in the Philippines and Mexico, and also helped establish several Christian day schools. He was widely admired and was elected to various governing boards, including that of the Interchurch Holiness Convention (IHC). As one of the early leaders of the Conservative Holiness Movement, Dr. Agan was known for his emphasis on entire sanctification as a second, distinct work of divine grace; and his own life graciously demonstrated the dimensions of his pulpit proclamation. Agan was the recipient of the GBS Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award and was also granted the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity by his alma mater. As “a Christian statesman, he was without peer,” as President Michael Avery has commented.
Minister, Missionary, 1935—2010
It was in 1953 that Ernst Cassy, a young man on the Caribbean island of Haiti, was listening to gospel music from WCKY, a 50,000-watt radio station in Cincinnati. As he recalls, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, “One day I want you to go to a Bible School in Cincinnati.” Four years later, he related this incident to a minister who had asked him about God’s purpose for his life. When his friend told him of God’s Bible School, Ernst made immediate plans to become a student and enrolled on the Hilltop in 1961. While studying in the library, he asked, “Lord, show me your plan for Haiti” and was directed to spread the gospel through orphanages. Upon graduating in 1961, he returned to his homeland, where he has vigorously pursued God’s call. He founded the Good Shepherd Orphanage, several schools, feeding centers, a farm and a bakery. He gave his life to relieve suffering and spread the message of grace and hope.
DR. EDWARD C. PALM
Minister, Educator, Missionary, 1935—1997
DR. CONNIE K. PALM
Educator, Missionary, 1938—2015
Edward and Connie Palm formed a highly-effective husband-and-wife team that impacted countless lives in both the United States and abroad. In 1961 he graduated from God’s Bible School and College with the degree ThB, then completed his education at other institutions. After six years in pastoral ministry, Dr. Palm entered a long and successful career in education, serving for many years as
DR. GLEN EDWARD REIFF
Missionary, Educator, 1935—
Son of devout missionaries, Glen Reiff graduated from God’s Bible School with the Th.B degree in 1957, then went on to earn the degrees MDiv and DMin from Luther Rice Seminary. His life has been one of selfless devotion to Christ’s cause. Under the auspices of Evangelistic Faith Missions (
DR. LEONARD L. SANKEY
Minister, Missionary, Holiness Movement Leader, 1936—
After graduation from GBS with the degree ThB in 1960, Leonard Sankey began ministry in local churches and camp meetings, first as song evangelist, then as