Briercrest alum 100 years old and still going strong

Kayla Malanka | Apr 7, 2014
Art Acton celebrating his 100th birthday with a motorcycle ride from his pastor.  Art Acton celebrating his 100th birthday with a motorcycle ride from his pastor. Art Acton celebrating his 100th birthday with a motorcycle ride from his pastor.

Arthur Acton is 100 years old and still seeking the Lord with all his heart.

“All glory to the Lord. Our limited abilities highlight the Lord’s abilities, and God is not limited in power,” Acton, the late 1940’s graduate of Briercrest Bible Institute, explained. 

“God works through us and loves us so much. He was willing to die in our place and there has been nobody else willing to pay the debt.”

Acton, who was raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, but now lives in Edmonton, Alta., turned 100 on July 2, 2013.

“I had four different parties. It was all a bit too much for me, but fun. Especially the ride on my pastor’s motorcycle,” he laughed.  

“I had stuck my head out two years before when the pastor had gotten a motorcycle. I walked up to him before the service started and said, ‘Pastor Bob, if I reach 100 can I have a ride on your motorcycle?’ Well I turned 100 and got my ride.”

Turning 101 this year, Acton explained the secret to living a long life has been the fact he has always surrounded himself with influential women.

“Two years ago we had a gentleman here in our senior’s home that reached a hundred and he credited his long life to not getting married,” he explained.

“So when that question came up to me last July I said, ‘I give the credit to the ladies that had an influence in my life.’

Ladies like his mother who shared the love of Christ with him as a young child and his late wife Dorothy, who served as a missionary with him, sharing Christ to Cree First Nations people in northern Saskatchewan many years ago.

“And now to my second wife, Marjorie; on the 21st of May we will have been married 20 years. So you see the ladies do have a big influence on my life,” he laughed.

While Acton spoke of different memories throughout the years, one memory that still stands out for him is the time he spent studying at Briercrest.

“I came in the fall of 1945. I had been out of school for 13 years and I just had my Grade 11. I went to Briercrest for the first term and then stayed home. Then in the fall for 1946 I went through until I graduated,” he explained.

“I thought in my first year I would never graduate, but it was so good. The wheels kept going and I just enjoyed the time.”

Acton explained that he decided to attend Briercrest a few years after coming to know the Lord so that he could be better equipped to share his faith with others. 

“I was saved in 1942. When I was first saved I tried witnessing and seemed to get talked down. That is one of the reasons I felt that I really needed to know more of the precious Word so that God could use me,” he explained.

“Also, my dear mother knew the Lord as a young girl, but my daddy didn’t. One of the things that really got me when I got to know the Lord was I wanted my dad to know the Lord. It so stirred me knowing my dad needed the Lord that we made plans for me going to Bible school.”

During his time at Briercrest Acton said he enjoyed getting to know both the Lord and others better.

“I just think so much of the school and I am just thankful for the opportunity to go. I enjoyed the precious word of God and it was a joy to get acquainted with some godly teachers,” he said.

“They introduced me to the knowledge I needed and I realize now it was a wonderful privilege to have the time to study.”

Being knowledgeable in the word of God is why Acton encourages others considering Bible school to consider Briercrest.

“When I tried to witness for the Lord I wasn’t equipped enough. In the mission work you have to win the people’s confidence and show forth the light of God and your concern for them,” he said. “There is no better place than to get that information from a Bible school like Briercrest.”