Past Presidents

Rev. Ivan Q. Spencer (1924–1949)

Born in 1888, Ivan’s life took on a new direction as the winds of revival blew upon him as a young man in the early 1900s. He and his wife Minnie were given to prayer and intercession, and out of that pleading for souls was born the Elim Bible Training School in 1924 in Endwell, NY. The growth of EBTS necessitated moves to Rochester and Red Creek in the 1920s, then to Hornell in 1932, where it became a center for the Latter Rain Revival and trained hundreds of young men and women to be disciplined in prayer, in knowledge of the Word, and to move boldly in the power of the Holy Spirit. In 1933, he also founded the Elim Ministerial Fellowship, an informal group of Elim graduates that later became Elim Fellowship.

Rev. I. Carlton Spencer (1949–1983)

Carlton, the eldest son of EBI’s founder, grew up at Elim and graduated from the Hornell campus in 1933. He was involved in church ministry until he returned to the school in 1938. He served EBI in various capacities, including Missions Secretary, instructor and pastor of the campus church, eventually succeeding his father as President. Under his leadership, EBI was a founding member of National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (PFNA), and Carlton served as a liaison or officer in several such organizations. He oversaw the purchase of and move to the Lima campus in 1951, as well as the construction of several new buildings, including the I.Q. Spencer Tabernacle. While serving as President, Carlton was also the General Chairman of Elim Fellowship. His wife Elizabeth was very involved with him at the school until her death in 1995.

Rev. H. David Edwards (1983–1988)

David was born and raised in Wales, where he served in the British Army and as a church pastor. He then felt called to come to Elim and settled here in 1964 with his wife Mefus, and he remained at Elim the rest of his life. Over the years, he served EBI in many capacities — instructor, Dean of Men, Academic Dean, Vice President, Executive Vice President and President. He also served on Elim Fellowship’s Council of Elders, and he traveled and ministered in many nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Bermuda, Guatemala, Spain, Nigeria, Australia and New Zealand.

Rev. Dr. Michael L. Webster (1988–1994)

Mike joined the EBI faculty in 1982. He came with pastoral experience and had served at Melodyland School of Theology in Anaheim, CA. and had earned an M.Div. and D.Min. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Mike became EBI’s Academic Dean in 1984 and President four years later. Under his leadership, Elim Gospel Church was birthed as separate from EBI, SWAT (Spiritual Warfare Assault Training) teams were sent to China and Morocco, and the school celebrated paying off the existing mortgage and having no debt. During his administration, he oversaw expansion of EBI’s extension programs, the publishing of EBI’s mission, vision and values statements, and development of the first video to promote EBI. Mike is the founder and current director of Spirit and Word Ministries and lives with his wife Donna in Utica, NY.

Rev. Paul Johansson (1994–2006)

After graduating from EBI, Paul and his wife Gloria (both class of ‘56) served for 10 years as missionaries in Kenya, where they established All Nations Gospel Church and the Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College. Paul returned to EBI in 1969, where over the next 15 years he served as Dean of Men, Dean of Students and Vice President. In 1984, he moved to New York City and founded the New York School of Urban Ministry (NYSUM). Ten years later, he was again called back to Elim, this time to serve as President. During his tenure, Paul oversaw the construction of several buildings on campus (the athletic center, student center and apartment complex B), the addition of the pond bridge, and the purchase of the former Elim Fellowship office building, which now serves as the EBI&C library. Paul, who has a BA from Roberts Wesleyan College and MA from SUNY Brockport, served for several years as the Chairman of the EBI&C Board of Directors, and he still travels to minister worldwide. He and Gloria now live in Hampton, VA.

Rev. Jeff Clark (2006–2012)

Jeff graduated from EBI in 1978 and for the next few years served on various NY church staffs. In 1982 he and his wife Nancy, who is a granddaughter of EBI founder I.Q Spencer, moved to TX, where he served at Fountain Gate Ministries and International Bible College. They returned to NY in 1985 to establish Friends of the Cross Christian Church in Corning. In 1998, Jeff joined the EBI staff full-time, and over the next several years he served as Dean of Married Students, Director of Student Ministries, Director of Rochester Urban Center, Administrator, and Special Assistant to the President, while also earning a Masters in Leadership & Organizational Development from Regent University. During his tenure as President, he worked hard at navigating through the long process to receive degree-granting status from New York State. He and Nancy live in Lima, NY.

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