Hundreds of alumni on both sides of the 49th Parallel are mourning the odd accident that claimed the life of esteemed Bible professor Paul Cornish on January 5. He had been visiting his daughter and family in Kansas for the Christmas holidays, and while sitting down into a rocking chair, it rolled backwards so that he struck his head on a wall. The compressed fracture of his spinal cord left him paralyzed from the neck down. He succumbed to pneumonia about a week later.

As a young man, Cornish saw overseas duty with the Canadian army during World War II, then came home to study at Northwest Bible College (Edmonton), graduating in 1949. A year later, he was ordained and quickly invited by Pastor Thomas E. Crane to replace him as principal of the FCA’s Temple Bible College. He and his Danish-born wife, Bodil, served there for the next seven years–the last half of which he doubled as pastor of the college’s sponsoring church, Edmonton Gospel Temple (now Richfield Christian Fellowship).

In 1957, the Cornishes moved northwest to pastor a fairly new church in Grande Prairie, Alberta, called Zion Gospel Temple (now Christian Fellowship Assembly). “He was a faithful man of God who labored diligently,” says his predecessor there, founding pastor Gordon Setterlund. “I have a great deal of respect for the work he did.” Paul also served as secretary of FCA-Canada for some 15 years.

Along the way, four children were born to Paul and Bodil. Then in 1970, he took the major step of crossing the border to become dean of Seattle Bible Training School, where he would minister until retirement 22 years later. He taught everything from homiletics to doctrine to Old Testament books to Pentecostal distinctives. Meanwhile, his wife served as librarian. Said Paul Zettersten when the FCA Convention honored them in 1996, “You had a profound influence on the lives of hundreds of young men and women who came … to prepare themselves for ministry in North America and around the world.”

Following the conclusion of full-time responsibility, Paul Cornish traveled widely to teach and preach alongside his former students in such places as Japan, Thailand, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Argentina, Colombia, and the Canadian Arctic. Bodil passed away in 2004, but he continued to do supplemental teaching at Seattle Bible College up through this past spring.

His memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 30, at 2 p.m. at Philadelphia Church, Seattle. Paul Cornish was 87 years old.

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