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‘A teacher of teachers’: Beka Horton, noted Christian education figure, dies at 90

‘A teacher of teachers’: Beka Horton, noted Christian education figure, dies at 90

Pensacola Christian College held a memorial service for Dr. Rebekah "Beka" Horton on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. | Facebook/Pensacola Christian College

Dr. Rebekah Horton, co-founder of the Florida-based Pensacola Christian College and a notable figure in Christian homeschool education, passed away on June 27 at the age of 90.

PCC posted an “In Memoriam” message, celebrating the 60 years of ministry work that Horton and her husband, Arlin, did through founding the school and other labors.

“Students worldwide continue to benefit from her influence on the strong spiritual and academic foundations of Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola Christian Academy, and Abeka,” stated PCC.

“Other affiliate ministries such as Camp o' the Pines, Joyful Life, and Rejoice Radio continue the spiritual heritage she labored to establish. She not only guided development and supported leadership, but was herself an enthusiastic teacher and a captivating communicator.”

PCC President Troy Shoemaker took to Twitter to give his condolences, stating that he owed “much gratitude to her for patient investment and an amazing example of faithful service!”

“The influence of Mrs. Horton is not only seen in Christian education and those she taught, but also in the lives of many individuals like myself whom she mentored,” he tweeted.

A memorial service was held for Horton at the Crowne Centre at the PCC campus on Wednesday, with attendees adhering to social distancing guidelines and being encouraged to wear face masks.

Dr. Joel Mullenix, a pastor and teacher at PCC who worked with Horton, described her as being not only a teacher of thousands of children but also a “teacher of teachers.”

“At the start of a new school year, she would meet with the kindergarten teachers and lower elementary teachers and she would teach them how to teach Bible to the little boys and girls so that they would understand about Jesus,” said Mullenix during the Wednesday service. “She was a master teacher.”

Born in Tennessee in 1929, Horton became a devout Christian at age 15 and married Arlin Horton while still enrolled at a Christian college in South Carolina.

Both had an educational background, teaching at a Presbyterian school in Kentucky before founding their own Christian school in 1954.

Horton would help launch Abeka, a Christian homeschool resource publisher that operated out of PCC that boasts of having educated hundreds of thousands of students over the decades. 

“She had varied experiences in teaching,” notes an entry on Abeka’s website. “For 20 years beginning in 1955, she had a weekly children’s TV program, ‘Aunt Beka’s Bible Stories,’ which was broadcast locally.”

“For 40 years, she conducted a large weekly Bible class for women. Her insights in God’s Word warmed the heart and enriched the soul. She taught high school Bible at Pensacola Christian for 22 years.”

In 1991, Clearwater Christian College gave her an honorary doctorate for her work in Christian education and in 2012, she retired from education and serving as senior vice president of PCC.

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