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Ken Anderson, Christian Film Pioneer, passes away
Ken Anderson, Christian Film Pioneer, passes away

Ken Anderson, Christian Film Pioneer, passes away

Ken Anderson went to be with the Lord at 2:20 am, March 12, 2006. A Warsaw resident for 45 years, Ken was born December 23, 1917 in Rembrandt, Iowa, not far from his parent’s farm in Albert City. He was raised by his Dad and a Godly Grandmother, following the death of his Mother shortly after childbirth. Ken attended Wheaton College for one year. Then moved over to Trinity Evangelical Free Church School in Wheaton, Illinois where he met Doris Jones, also a farm girl from Funk, Nebraska. They were married November 16, 1938, and celebrated 67 anniversaries of that joyful day.
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Licensed by the Evangelical Free Church, Ken first pastored in Isle, Minnesota and later in Newman Grove, Nebraska. Ken became involved in the newly formed ministry, Youth For Christ, and he served as their first full-time Magazine Editor. Through YFC, he met Bob Pierce, who invited Ken to travel to China in 1948, as YFC Missionaries preaching to 10's of thousands of young people in more than a dozen cities. A short documentary film was produced on the trip, and Ken later wrote a book as well, titled, THIS WAY TO THE HARVEST. Shortly upon return, Bob Pierce founded the World Vision Ministry, and Ken became connected to a fledgling organization called Baptista Films, where he wrote and then directed his first film drama. In 1949, Ken’s YFC friends encouraged him to establish his own Christian film ministry. So he and Doris moved to Muskegon, Michigan, where Gospel Films was launched. His writing skills resulted in at least 1 new film each year through 1960, including his first overseas production, filmed in Singapore, titled SOMETHING TO DIE FOR, the result of Ken and Doris’ vision for missions from their first years of marriage. Then with a desire to produce films beyond North America, they moved to Warsaw in December, 1960 and established Ken Anderson Films in 1961. Over 200 Christian films have been produced since then, including original dramas for many foreign countries. As a pioneer in Christian films, Ken will be best remembered for the drama story, PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, produced in 1977. Featured in the story is Liam Neeson in his first screen role, as Evangelist. Over 1400 copies went out as 16mm film prints, and now thousands of videos and disks continue to be produced as PILGRIM’S PROGRESS is made available in many other languages for ongoing ministry around the world. Ken helped many people enter the Christian film field. He established International Films in the mid-60's to promote international productions. Many years after that ministry was moved to California, InterComm was established in the year 1991 to continue the international vision of Ken Anderson Films. Today InterComm is involved yearly in producing additional language versions of many of the Ken Anderson Films international productions. Ken has flown around the world dozens of times, traveling to nearly 100 countries. In 1975, he was invited by Dr. John Haggai to teach audiovisual evangelism and journalism to National Christian Leaders from all over the world at a Training Center in Singapore, Maui, and Bogota, Colombia. Thousands of leaders have been challenged, and today InterComm continues to equip such men and women with tools to assist their evangelism vision for their countries. Ken began a writing career that spanned 7 decades. 77 books were published, at least 1 per decade, with 19 books alone published in the 40's. He will be best remembered as an author for his work, WHERE TO FIND IT IN THE BIBLE, published in 1996 by Thomas Nelson. Over 4 million copies are in print, and it remains a busy seller on the Nelson backlist. Ken loved living in this community, having first visited during the YFC Conferences in the 1950's in Winona Lake. He and Doris are members of the Winona Lake Presbyterian Church, and he was a life member of the Gideons International Bible Ministry. He and Doris purchased a farm near Claypool and established Treehouse Farm, which was made available for Christian groups as well as special camping outreach to area kids. Also surviving are 7 children: Mrs. Larry (Naoma) Clark, Waldport, OR; Mrs Lanny (Margaret) Mauzy, Lane (and wife Jill), and Ken D (and wife Beth), all of Warsaw; Donn (and wife Diane), Maui, HI; Max (and wife Claudia) Rockford, IL; and Melody Anderson, San Diego, California; 13 grandchildrehn; and 8 great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be at 2:00 pm, Saturday, March 18, at the Winona Lake Presbyterian Church, Winona Lake, Indiana. Family prefers Memorials to be sent to InterComm, Inc., PO Box 618, Winona Lake, IN 46590. Ken Anderson has been involved in motion picture production world wide for many years, creating such films as The Family Than Changed the World, the Fanny Crosby series and Pilgrim's Progress. Ken has been a free-lance writer for more than half a century, authoring hundreds of magazine articles and short stories and more than 50 books, including the bestseller: Where to Find It in the Bible. Ken is known and loved around the world as a friend of missions. He and his wife Doris live in Winona Lake, Indiana, where they have raised seven children. The family continues to work spreading the Gospel around the world using media. Christian Movie Studios Emerge In 1949 Ken Anderson, editor for a Youth For Christ magazine, decided to form a small studio. An old shut-down dancehall was purchased and moved onto some donated land to become the first home for Gospel Films. The company grew into the largest Christian film distributor. Gospel Films distributes Bamboo in Winter, Through Gates of Splendor and The Wait of the World. In 1950 Dick Ross' Great Commission Films produced a documentary of Billy Graham's Portland crusade. Seeing the potential of Christian films, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association created World Wide Pictures as a subsidiary in 1951 to produce and distribute Christian films. Ross would direct their first film, Mr. Texas. Other WWP movies include The Hiding Place, Something to Sing About and The Climb. In 1960 Ken Anderson left Gospel Films and launched Ken Anderson Films. The new studio's objective was to reach an international audience with Christian media and filmed seven movies in Africa. Ken Anderson Films is perhaps best known for the movie Pilgrim's Progress which featured stage actor and later Academy Award winner Liam Neeson in his first film role. Other well-known Ken Anderson Films include Fanny Crosby, In His Steps and Love Note. Throughout the '50s and '60s Christian films were produced with increasing professionalism and ads for Christian films appeared in magazines like Christianity Today on a regular basis. These films were used by God to reap an abundant harvest. In eleven months two million people viewed The Restless Ones from World Wide Pictures and 120,000 decisions were recorded (source: Christianity Today, October 14, 1966, p.57).

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