James Edward Pennington (b 1935) is the son of Oscar and Audrey Pennington. He received his elementary and secondary education at Oklahoma City. His post secondary education was taken at several institutions: Oklahoma Christian College, Bartlesville (1953-54), Abilene Christian College (1954-58, B.A. in Bible), Abilene Christian College (1964, M.A. in Bible), and Abilene Christian College (1971-74, Master of Divinity). In Canada, he has attended classes at Regent College, Vancouver; the University of Regina; and the Canadian Theological College in Regina.
In 1956, James Pennington married Raymona Weir of Cordell, Oklahoma. They have five sons: David (1959), James (1961), Paul (1964), Nathan (1967), and John (1971).
While attending university at Abilene, he preached at Burkett, Texas (1958-60), and at Eastland, Texas (1971-74). The Penningtons lived at Haskell, Texas, where he preached (1960-65) and attended some summer classes and short sessions at Abilene Christian College.
Jim Pennington's move to Canada came in 1965. He preached for the Estevan congregation until he became head of the newly- formed Bible department at Western Christian College in 1968. He maintained that position for more than 12 years. He taught Bible classes from 1968 to 1989, except for the three years while he was at Eastland and the fall semester (1987) while studying in Regina. In addition, he taught extension Bible classes at Wawota and Gravelbourg.
Mr. Pennington has been the college class sponsor (15 years) and a "missionary" among the Chinese high school students. Because these students arrive in Canada with an inadequate knowledge of the English language, it is difficult for them to benefit from the regular Bible classes. Mr. Pennington has taught them in a special Bible class at the college for about 15 years. Furthermore the Pennington home, together with the Dan and Vivian Dunn home, has provided a "home away from home" for the Chinese students. Mr. Pennington's communications class is accredited by the University of Regina.
He spends four to eight weeks each year travelling in Tennessee, Kansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Texas, and Oklahoma raising money for the Bible department. During the rest of the year, he keeps in contact with the donors by mail.
During Jim Pennington's more than 20 years in western Canada, he has been guest preacher, vacation Bible school teacher, workshop speaker, lectureship speaker, and regular Bible class teacher in many places for many congregations. He has held gospel meetings at Manson, Brandon, Winnipeg, Gravelbourg, Calgary, and Lloydminster; he has conducted vacation Bible school at Perryville, Horse Creek, Spruston Road, Yorkton, and Lloydminster; he has preached for longer periods of time in Yorkton and Radville; he has participated in the annual lectureship at Western Christian College and Great Lakes Christian College; and he was organizer of the first annual workshop at Bismarck, North Dakota. During these more than 20 years, he has been pleased to have played the dual role of preacher and teacher.
Mr. Pennington was honoured to receive an appreciation plaque from the college class and to be the guest of honour at a "Roast" during a college function.
Mr. Pennington considers that the opportunity for staff to live on campus in larger than average size apartments has been advantageous not only for the students but also for the brotherhood at large. This extra space enabled the staff to entertain the students in friendly groups and to provide hospitality to many visitors on campus during lectureship, homecoming, and youth rally.
Truly, the rather spacious staff apartments, together with the skating rink, have allowed the brethren in western Canada and northwestern United States to become better acquainted. Mr. Pennington believes that the college skating rink has been a greater unifying force than we realize. It can easily accommodate large crowds for lectureship, graduation, and youth rally. There have been more than a thousand people present for lectureship.
Also, he maintains that the small college has been a blessing to his five sons. They have been able to participate in more activities and gain a sense of achievement not easily possible in a large school.