Fonds PR3683 - Yamabe, Wright family fonds

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Yamabe, Wright family fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the records.

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    Statement of scale (cartographic)

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1895-2010 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    3.18 m of textual material. – 3,998 photographs – 1,995 negatives. – 2,827 slides. – 1 Pocket CD-Rs. – 24 computer discs. – 11 videocassettes [19 hrs.]. – 1 film reel: Super-8 [3 min., 20 sec.]. – 3 film reels: 8mm [1 Hr: 15 Min]. – 1 film reel: 16mm [3 min.]. – 4 audio reels [5 hrs., 20 min.]. – 1 audio cassette.

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    Biographical history

    Richard and Marianna (née Wright) Yamabe are key figures in the history of the Western Canadian Church of God and Gardner Bible College (formerly the Alberta Bible Institute), a now-defunct, secondary and post-secondary institute once operated by the Church of God in Camrose, Alberta.

    Richard Yamabe was born in 1928 to Kiyoshi and Shinako Yamabe, Japanese immigrants who settled in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Kiyoshi was originally from Nagano Prefecture in Japan and immigrated to Canada in 1918 to work in the burgeoning fruit industry in Summerland, BC. He returned to Japan in 1928 for an arranged marriage with Shinako Hama, also of Nagano Prefecture. The couple were married in Japan and immediately returned to Canada, where Kiyoshi now had his own fruit orchard in Summerland.

    After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during the Second World War, the Yamabe family were classified as enemy aliens by the Canadian government due to their Japanese heritage. At the time, there was a significant community of Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Canadians in Summerland who were all classified as enemy aliens and thus subjected to stringent curtails on personal freedom and movement. The Yamabe family were not forced into internment camps, though, as they were far removed from the Pacific coast and therefore seen as less of a threat.

    Immediately after the war, Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Canadians who had been classified as enemy aliens were still unable to travel to or live on the Pacific coast. This delayed Richard's entrance into the University of British Columbia, where he wanted to study, so he completed Grade 13 in Penticton. While there, Richard converted to Christianity and joined the Church of God at a Youth for Christ rally held by that sect.

    In 1947, Richard was able to begin studies toward a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1951. He was then encouraged by Reverence H.C. Heffren of the Church of God to train to become a missionary in Japan and pursued this course by attending the Anderson Bible School in Anderson, Indiana from 1951 to 1954.

    Upon graduation from the School of Theology, Richard delayed his mission to Japan in order to teach at the Alberta Bible Institute in Camrose, Alberta as that institution was in need of a high school science teacher. Richard would remain as an instructor and dean at the Alberta Bible Institute until 1974, at which point he left to devote himself full-time to the operation of the Gospel Contact Press, the publishing arm of the Western Canadian Church of God, a task that he had begun on a part-time basis in 1963. Richard remained as the editor of the Gospel Contact and operator of the Gospel Contact Press until 1988. He also grew his photography hobby into a business, founding On-the-Spot Photography in 1982. One of his photographs, an image of Camrose Church of Christ, has been used extensively to promote the City of Camrose.

    Marianna Wright was born in Kirkaldy, Alberta in 1930 to Walker and Eva (née Miller) Wright. Walker Wright was born in England in 1892 and immigrated with his family to Alberta in 1912, settling near Lougheed. Walker joined the Church of God after his service in France during the First World War and decided to train to become a pastor at the Anderson Bible School from 1922 to 1924. While in Anderson, Walker met Eva Miller and the couple decided to marry after moving to Canada in 1926. Walker was asked to become an itinerant pastor for Church of God congregations in Alberta that did not have an established church.

    After years of pastoral work for various congregations across Alberta, the Wright family, which now included Eva as well as two more daughters (Ruth and Esther), moved to the small community of Plum Coulee in Manitoba in 1945. In 1953, Marianna left Manitoba to study at the Alberta Bible Institute in Camrose, Alberta, where she met Richard Yamabe.

    Richard and Marianna were married in 1955 and had two children, Carol Ann (Breitkreutz) (1956) and David (1959). Over the course of their marriage, Richard and Marianna were able to travel on several missions to Kenya, India, Germany, and several other locations. After retiring from the Gospel Contact Press, the Yamabes moved to Japan to fulfill Richard's lifelong dream to do pastoral work in that country, which he did from 1996 to 1998.

    Custodial history

    The records were maintained by Richard and Marianna Yamabe as part of Church of God activities or family life. Some of the family records were inherited by Richard or Marianna Yamabe from their parents.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records related to the Yamabe and Wright families, the Church of God (especially the Camrose Church of God), and the Alberta Bible Institute/Gardner College.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    The material was donated to the PAA by Carol Breitkreutz in 2011.


    Arrangement note: The fonds is arranged into the following series:

    • Series 1: Yamabe and Wright family series
    • Series 2: Camrose Church of God series
    • Series 3: Alberta Bible Institute/Gardner College series

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      Script of material

        Language and script note

        The material is in English and Japanese.

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        Restrictions on access

        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

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        File list is available.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Includes accession PR2011.0582.

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