Table of Contents

 

Canada – Atlantic Provinces

 

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland are called the Atlantic Provinces. The earliest settlers were French Catholic; later settlers were Scottish, mostly Presbyterian. From the time of the first assembly in those provinces in 1885, bitter opposition marked the movement.

 

Nova Scotia

 

Brethren testimony in Nova Scotia has its roots in the preaching of a Presbyterian minister named Stirling. He preached the Gospel in Pugwash in the 1870s and was used in the salvation of Dan Kennedy, a young farmer in Port Howe. Then in about 1882, Samuel Wallace from Ireland, who had employment in Pugwash, began preaching in Port Howe, walking six miles from Pugwash to preach the Gospel in the school house each Sunday at noon. The people said he was a strange looking man and preached a strange doctrine at a strange hour. However, God blessed the Word spoken and some were saved. Miss Fanny King, a neighbor to the Kennedys, and later the wife of Dan Kennedy, was soon rejoicing in Christ Jesus as her Savior.

 

The following winter, John Knox McEwen, who had been laboring in Ontario, came to Nova Scotia and joined Mr. Wallace. They preached to individuals, in homes, and in halls, meeting with much opposition, but God blessed His Word to the salvation of many. Mr. McEwen then labored for sometime alone, but God sent him a number of helpers from time to time, including George and Allen Simpson of Galt, Ontario, and John Mitchell. The fiery preaching of Mr. McEwen awakened such an interest that the whole community around Port Howe was stirred. Early in 1885 a number more were saved, including Dan Kennedy’s sister and three of the Misses King. Miss Emma Copp was led to Christ by Mr. McEwen. Later she became the wife of the evangelist William Matthews of Boston.

 

In the fall of 1885 the first assembly in Nova Scotia was planted in Port Howe. Dan Kennedy and his wife were among the first to take their stand in the assembly. Their home was a sanctuary for the people in the years that followed. The assembly met first in a home; later the Christians built Port Howe Gospel Hall. The old Gospel Hall has since been rebuilt and added to, and occupies the same location. This com­munity was the scene of a number of stirring revivals. A good number still gathered there in 1955, but the assembly today is small. The area around Pugwash and Port Howe is less populated now than when the assembly work was begun.

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John Grimason and Mr. McEwen opened up a work in Docherty Creek, now called Pugwash Junction, a little farming community five miles south of the village of Pugwash in Cumberland County. Among those saved through this effort were Mrs. MacLeod and Mrs. Piers. Mr. Oswald MacLeod, the evangelist, was a grandson of both these women. In 1886 or 1887, an assembly began in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Eaton, parents of Cyrus Eaton of Cleveland, who was to become a very wealthy business man, well known in financial circles around the world. In the early days of the work of God at the Junction, the old schoolhouse was the only pub­lic place available for the preaching of the Gospel. In late 1888 or early 1889, the Pugwash Junction Gospel Hall was built on the corner of a field owned by Phillip Tuttle, about a mile from the current location.

 

Those gathered in the Pugwash Junction assembly at the beginning were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Eaton, Mr. Daniel McLeod, Mr. and Mrs. John Wesley MacPherson, Ada MacPherson, Mrs. Fred MacLeod, Mrs. Nelson Piers, and Mrs. Silas Wacome, and a few others.

 

A large number of preachers spent time in the area of Pugwash Junction over the years. By far the greater part of the early preachers came from Northern Ireland.

 

George Simpson from Ontario, as well as John Grimason, worked with John Knox McEwen during the early period. Mr. Simpson married Ada MacPherson, but died young. Mr. Grimason labored up and down the coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Mr. McEwen returned to England, and for a few years there was little gospel activity in the little assemblies that had been planted, and the assembly at Pugwash Junction essentially died.

 

But in the fall of 1902, David Scott, a preacher in Ireland, became exercised about returning to that needy field. He corresponded with W.N. Brennan, who encouraged him to come. Arriving with his family in Truro, Mr. Scott began meetings in Port Howe. The hall was filled nightly and many souls were saved. He then began in Pugwash Junction, where a similar work of grace was accomplished. This visitation of God caused a great revival among the saints and gave the work a fresh start. During that fall, winter, and spring, more than 60 persons professed to be saved. Some time after the assembly was regathered, Oswald MacLeod’s father purchased the old school building for the assembly. A lot at the location of the present hall was procured and the building was moved onto it. The assembly at the Pugwash Junction Gospel Hall continues to this day.

 

Among the leaders in the assembly over the span of years, we mention Hiram MacLeod, Ainsley Goodwin, Frank Elliott, Mac MacLeod, and Harold Elliott.

 

An outstanding feature of the work was the yearly Conference at Pugwash Junction. It began in Pugwash in 1903, but in 1912 moved to Pugwash Junction, five miles away. A new hall for the Conference was soon built. The Conference was the event of the year. Believers gathered from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia. At the first Conference in 1903, James Campbell and William Matthews ministered the Word for three days.

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W.N. Brennan came to the small city of Truro in 1893. An assembly began in the Brennan home. This work continued only a short time, but in 1923 a Gospel tent was taken to Truro and a few professed salvation. An assembly was begun again at that time. The Christians built their own hall, probably called the Truro Gospel Hall but later changed to Good News Bible Chapel. The assembly ceased to function, perhaps in the 1980s, and the building was sold to the believers at Debert Gospel Hall. The Truro assembly now meets at the Young Street Gospel Hall.

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James McCullough arrived in Nova Scotia from Ireland just before the Conference of July 1924. In 1927, he and Tom McKelvie took a Gospel tent to Debert, a small town west of Truro. A number were saved and baptized. William Brennan dates the establishment of the Debert assembly after 1937, with erection of the Debert Gospel Hall following soon after. The Debert assembly goes on today.

* * * * * * *

 

In about 1900, two families of Christians came from an assembly in Scotland to New Glasgow. As there was no assembly there, they began Remembering the Lord in one of their homes. Though these later moved to western Canada, God has maintained a testimony in the city. William Brennan arrived soon after the beginning of the assembly at New Glasgow Gospel Hall, which still carries on. In 1907, Mr. Brennan left his business in Truro to devote all his time to the Lord’s work; he went on to become an itinerant preacher and helped establish several assemblies.

* * * * * * *

 

Lenoon K. McIlwaine came from Ireland to Truro in April 1930 to preach the Gospel and spent the rest of his long life in fruitful pioneer work. He was largely responsible for open­ing up the southern part of the Province to the Gospel, as far as assembly testimony is concerned. Through his and others’ efforts, two assemblies were planted in Lunenburg County – the West Clifford Assembly and the Nineveh Assembly. Mr. McIlwaine moved after a time to Clementsvale, Annapolis County, in the west­ern part of Nova Scotia, where an assembly was established and the Clementsvale Gospel Hall was erected. The assembly carries on today.

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In the mid 1930s, the McCracken brothers, John and Robert, came to the Atlantic Provinces, John to Nova Scotia and Robert to New Brunswick. In 1942 the McCrackens saw a good number saved at Pugwash Junction. Robert, gifted above many in both the Gospel and ministry, was well accepted and deeply appreciated throughout the region. John McCracken in his early days spent some time with Mr. Brennan, but after his marriage he settled in the southern part of the Province where he labored quite extensively with Mr. McIlwaine and others. The Weymouth Assembly on the western side of the Province was largely the result of his faithful and patient labors.

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In about 1950, Isaac McMullen began meetings in the village of Cambridge in Haunts County, west of Truro. The Cambridge Gospel Hall was built for the assembly. For the size of the com­munity there has been a good number in fellowship. This assembly continues today.

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Oxford is a small town a few miles southwest of Pugwash. During the 1950s, Hiel Patterson held weekly Gospel meetings and children’s meetings in the area. Some of the new believers joined the fellowship at Pugwash Junction Gospel Hall and others came into fellowship at Port Howe Gospel Hall where Hiel Patterson and his wife Marg were in fellowship. In January 1960, with the assistance of those two assemblies, the Oxford Gospel Hall was established.

 

Hiel Patterson and Douglas Howard are credited with starting the assembly at Oxford. In active leadership over the years have been Arthur Murray, John Purdy, T. Floyd Stewart, Hiel Patterson, W.L.R. Johnson, Ralph Hunt, Clifford Budd, David P. Cole, and R. Richard Cameron. Oxford Gospel Hall has commended workers to the Lord’s field in Venezuela and to local work. About 25 adults and youngsters are in the assembly.

* * * * * * *

 

After a Gospel thrust and teaching for Christians in the Tatamagouche area north of Truro, the Tatamagouche Assembly was formed in March 1974, a hive-off from Oxford Gospel Hall. Fred Holder and Douglas Howard were the principals involved in establishing the assembly, with follow-up work by Hiel Patterson and T. Floyd Stewart.

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River Hebert is a small town on the northwestern side of Nova Scotia, across the Chignecto Bay from New Brunswick. It was to that town that Robert Darling and his family came from Scotland to work in the then-booming coal mining industry. Having been in assembly fellowship in Scotland, he desired to establish an assembly testimony in the town. Thus River Hebert Gospel Hall was born in 1921, located outside the village. A new hall was built later another mile out, and is still in use.

 

Elders over the years in River Hebert Gospel Hall include Harry Dow, Robert Darling, John Seamon, Gordon Forscenor, Howard Rector, Wally McCheron, Kenneth Ripley, and Percy Ripley. Russel Harris, commended from Ontario, was a main stay in the assembly for many years. Cecil Morton and his wife moved to the area in 1991 to help out in the assembly. River Hebert Gospel Hall held annual Bible Conferences for many years, until the mines closed down and the population declined. Eight adults are now in the fellowship, but a large young people’s work adds over 50 youth.

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Ken Ripley from River Hebert Gospel Hall, and T. Floyd Stewart of the Oxford Gospel Hall, being supported by Oxford Gospel Hall, conducted children’s meetings and presented the Gospel in the area of Amherst, northwest of Oxford. As a result, the Amherst Assembly came into being in April 1981.

* * * * * * *

 

The River Denys Gospel Hall, also known as  Blues Mills Gospel Hall on Cape Breton Island, resulted from Gospel meetings conducted by Isaac McMullen in 1955. Four families were involved in the formation of the assembly, those of Don MacLennan, John MacLennerl, Gordon Cummings, and David MacDonald. Elders have been Don MacLennan, David MacDonald, Dave MacDonald Jr., John Bain, Fred Bartlette, and Don MacNeil. Several workers have been commended by Blues Mills Gospel Hall to the field in Venezuela and to local work. About 60 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

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In 1909, a number of brethren from Scotland had come out to work in the coal mines around Sydney Mines on Cape Breton Island, the eastern portion of Nova Scotia. They began an assembly and arranged to hold their first Conference at Christmas, 1910. The Sydney Mines Gospel Hall was erected, but the little assembly was only nicely under way when a split occurred and only a small number remained to carry on. The assembly continues today.

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Early in the 1900s, Breaking of Bread was begun in the home of John H. Archibald at Manganese Mines. Gospel meetings were held in the schoolhouse. But it was a dying community, and the Manganese Mines Assembly ceased when the place was practically deserted.

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Tent meetings and street meetings in the city of Sydney on Cape Breton were conducted from about 1913 to 1917 by preachers such as Messrs. Brennan, J.T. Dickson, Robert Milnes, McClure, and A. Goodwin, with many professing salvation. As a result, an assembly was formed there in February 1927, which continues today, meeting in the Sydney Gospel Hall.

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As a result of the work in Sydney, the Gospel was carried to the fishing village of Port Bickerton on the eastern shore in the early 1920s. This resulted in the start of a meeting in a home and the Port Bickerton assembly was formed. Later a building was obtained for the Port Bickerton Gospel Hall in which the assembly still carries on.

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In the early 1930s, a new brethren testimony was established in Halifax after some ‘Grant exclusive’ meetings disbanded. The Halifax Gospel Hall was erected in one of the newer districts.

* * * * * * *

 

In 1955, seventeen people in fellowship at the Halifax Gospel Hall decided to form a new assembly in the capital city of Halifax. These were the Cleveland, Leadbeater, Havill, Miller, King, Thompson, Harvie, Lennox, and Laidlaw families. They met at first at the YMCA on South Park Street, but soon purchased the former Bethany United Church building near the Armdale Rotary and renamed it Armdale Bible Chapel. Svend Christensen was the first full-time resident worker at the new assembly.

 

The work grew, and in 1959 these Christians purchased a lot at the corner of Frederick and Willett Streets in Halifax for the erection of a new chapel. Fairview Bible Chapel was opened in 1960, having a seating capacity of 150. In 1975, the assembly first recognized elders; these were Ron Harris, Harry Thompson, and Allan Adamson. Fairview called Hal Threadcraft in 1985 to be a full-time pastor, and Bruce Boyce in 1986 to be the youth pastor.

 

Fairview Bible Chapel continued to grow, and in the early 1980s, two ‘sister’ assemblies were begun in the adjacent city of Dartmouth and in Fall River, a town a little further north. With the blessings of Fairview, 40 adults with their 33 children left to form Colby Drive Bible Chapel in Dartmouth. When Fairview filled up once more, believers living in Fall River area decided to form the Fall River Assembly; 22 adults and 20 children left to form the new church.

 

The Fairview assembly continued to grow, and two acres were purchased at Rockingham Ridge. Grace Chapel was erected and opened in 1986. John Munro became the full-time pastor in 1992.

 

Grace Chapel and its predecessors have commended numerous people to the Lord’s work. Attendance grew to 400 adults and children at one time.

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The roots of Northbrook Bible Chapel in Dartmouth lie in an independent church that formed in the early 1950s. That work started in 1953 through children’s meetings and a Sunday School at Tuft’s Cove School. A lot was purchased in 1956 and a building was completed in 1959. A church was formed and called the People’s Church until it was incorporated in 1961 when it took the name Northbrook Bible Chapel. Open-air meetings were common and Bible studies were held in the home of Paul and Carrie Hatt. Ted White was the pastor of the People’s Church until 1961, when he left to become Director of Canadian Sunday School Mission in New Brunswick. The church seems to have had no full-time pastor after that.

 

In 1968, Ray and Helen Fox came to Nova Scotia from Ontario as self-supporting workers. Mr. Fox sold his business and went full-time into holding open-air Gospel meetings and distributing Gospel literature. He attended Fairview Bible Chapel when in the area. He was invited to speak at Northbrook. His ministry was so helpful that the Board of Trustees asked him to continue and give as much ministry as possible. He agreed, and suggested they that he begin with a series on the New Testament church and the priesthood of all believers. The Christians were in agreement with what he taught, and soon were linked with the brethren.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Fox moved to Dartmouth in 1970, and Mr. Fox became a full-time worker for Northbrook Bible Chapel. Elders were chosen, and over the years these have been Ray Fox, Ralph Dillman, Don Salmans, and Hubert Hebb. Deacons were also selected. About 130 adults and children are in the assembly.

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Greenland Bible Chapel, known initially as Christian Assembly of Greenland, began in 1968 in the town of Greenland, Annapolis County, toward the west end of the peninsula. Lewis Peck, Harold Smith, George Heidman, and Clark McClelland were those involved in the start-up. Lewis Peck and Willard Peck have shared the leadership of the assembly, which numbers about 60 attending on Sundays.

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Lower Argyle Gospel Hall, near Yarmouth at the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia, began in 1961 with four people in fellowship, and 10 added soon after. The assembly started mainly as a result of efforts by Harold Smith. George Heidman also was involved in the start-up. Harold Smith, Phillip Nickerson, and others have shared leadership. At one point, the assembly had 65 to 70 in fellowship, but many hived-off to start a Christian school, and today about 20 attend the assembly. 

 

The Bible chapels in Nova Scotia actively support Emmanuel Bible Camp on Prince Edward Island, and Malagash Bible Camp on Nova Scotia.

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

The History of the Pugwash Junction Assembly, by Oswald L. MacLeod, 1995

John Knox McEwen and Pioneer Work in the Maritimes, by John T. Dickson, Good News Publishers, Westchester, IL (1968)

Northbrook Bible Chapel: Heritage Day, September 17, 1995

            The History of Grace Chapel, by Stan Smith,1994

Remember the Days of Old, by Betty McMullen, unpublished manuscript, New Brunswick, 1999

Letters of Interest, February 1944, p. 24; March 1944, p. 38; December 1955, p. 15

Questionnaire Responses

 

 


New Brunswick

 

New Brunswick is situated on the east coast of Canada. It is bordered on the west by Maine, on the south by Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy, on the east by the Northumberland Strait and on the north by Quebec. Approximately 40% of the population is French-speaking, and most of its young people are bilingual.

 

Brethren pioneers from Ireland and Scotland reached New Brunswick in the mid 1880s. John Knox McEwen was perhaps the first. John Grimason, in a report written from Baie Verte, New Brunswick in 1886 to the Barley Cake magazine stated: “A whole province here to myself, all strangers to me, but they are the kind God saves – the poor.”

 

Mr. and Mrs. John Martin (not John M. Martin from Ontario) came to New Brunswick from Kilmarnock, Scotland in the mid 1880s and settled on a farm near New Scotland, a community northeast of Moncton. Mr. Martin had previously preached in the Boston area, Maine, and California. He reported the following in  the Barley Cake in 1887:   “...Brother Mitchell and I left Nova Scotia on July 1st for Tidnish, New Brunswick where Brother Grimason had labored a year ago and a few souls got saved and gathered out according to Matthew 18:20. We had two weeks meetings in Timber River 8 miles north of Tidnish. Before we left, we had the pleasure of baptizing two brethren. Then we went to Buctouche, 62 miles north on the coast (quite a French settlement) with several Scotch settlements in that neighbourhood... The people came out well, some from far distances. We had a schoolhouse at Mill Creek (6 miles from Buctouche)...” Mr. Martin describes many other preaching experiences in the Maritimes in subsequent letters.

 

Ansley Goodwin, a native of Timber River, was saved in 1886 when Mr. Grimason and Mr. McEwen visited there. The Tidnish Bridge Assembly was started at that time, and is the one referred to by Mr. Martin. This was apparently the first brethren assembly in New Brunswick. An assembly was also planted shortly at Bayside. Ada King wrote that she had been at the opening of the Bayside Gospel Hall in January 1889.

 

David Scott was born in Ireland in 1867, according to his grandson Gaius Goff. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the USA. While in fellowship in the Cliff Street Gospel Hall in Boston, he became interested in taking the Gospel to the Maritimes. He came in the summer of 1891 to New Brunswick on his vacation and preached in Coates Mills, Kent County, where several were saved. He was then commended by the Cliff Street Assembly, left his employment in Boston, and came to the Coates Mills area the next year, accompanied by John Blair. Many were saved in the Coates Mills/Dundas/New Scotland area while Mr. Scott was preaching there.

 

Many people from Scotland emigrated to Canada in the 1890s and obtained land grants in New Brunswick. One of these families were the Donald Macdonalds. Mr. and Mrs. J. Harris Bears and their family moved to New Brunswick in 1897 and joined with the assembly in New Scotland.

 

The New Scotland Assembly was formed around 1896. After the Donald Macdonalds arrived, the Christians met in their home for the morning meetings; other meetings were held in the local schoolhouse. Later, after the Macdonalds moved to Moncton, the assembly met in John Martin’s house. J. Harris Bears and Donald Macdonald were Sunday School teachers in the New Scotland Assembly and also preached the Gospel along with John Martin.

 

Others in the New Scotland Assembly were Mrs. Gourley, Mr. and Mrs. Cary Brown, and Mr. and Mrs. Hugh MacLean of MacLean Settlement. As the older Christians died and the younger ones left the area, the meeting in New Scotland slowly diminished, and discontinued after the death of John Martin in 1924.

* * * * * * *

 

When Ansley Goodwin of Timber River became exercised about the Lord’s work, he left his employment and joined David Scott in preaching the Gospel. He subsequently preached with Robert Milnes, William Brennan, and Isaac McMullen in Kent County and also in Moncton.

 

Isaac McMullen came to Moncton in 1921, having been  commended from the Central Gospel Hall in Toronto. When he was in Boston, he was told of the need for workers in New Brunswick to preach the Gospel, so he went there in 1921 and had Gospel meetings with Robert Milnes. In July 1922, he married Miss MacNeil in Moncton, and they established a home there.

 

Robert McCracken was commended to the work in the Maritimes by the Bloomfield Assembly in Belfast and arrived in Moncton in the spring of 1938. That fall, his brother John joined Robert in meetings in Scotch Settlement. When they couldn’t use the school, they held the Gospel meetings in the Gospel Hall, then on St. George Street in Moncton. Many were saved at these meetings.

 

 Reginald Jordan from Ireland lived and preached in New Brunswick from 1948 to 1951; he was one of the full-time workers in Moncton and also preached with Isaac McMullen at Dorn Ridge, Dundas, and other places.. Others among the many who preached the Gospel in New Brunswick were George Heidman, Wade LeBlanc, David Kember, Murray McCandless, Gerard Roy, Leslie Wells, and Jonathan Procoppio.

* * * * * * *

 

Moncton is the second largest city in New Brunswick. In the early years it was known for ship building, and for many years was the home of the Canadian National Railway.

 

J. Harris Bears moved into Moncton from New Scotland in 1916 and was instrumental in seeing the Moncton assembly formed. It was through him that the preachers came to preach the Gospel in Moncton. The preachers often held meetings in the open air and in the shops of the Canadian National Railroad. In 1919 a tent was pitched in Moncton, and all summer William Brennan and Robert Milnes labored, going from door to door with tracts and preaching in the open air and in the tent.  A number were saved. In November 1919, seven met to Remember the Lord, the beginning of the Moncton Assembly. These were Mr. and Mrs. J. Harris Bears, Mr. Norman MacNeil, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Nichols, Kate MacLeod, and Mrs. Carr.

 

The Christians met first in a little room above a grocery store on St. George Street in Moncton. They later moved across the street and again were upstairs over a grocery store located between Highfield and Weldon Streets. Some of the men who preached there called it a ‘sweat box’ as the room was so small and contained so many cooking odors. The assembly was using Moncton Gospel Hall as the name of their meeting place by that time.

 

In 1938 Robert McCracken moved to Moncton from Ireland to preach the Gospel. So many were saved when John and Robert McCracken preached in 1938 and 1939 that the assembly had to move to larger quarters, which was a room on the third floor of the Orange Hall at 124 Archibald Street. Mr. MacNeil had started an Assembly Roll Book in the 1920s and listed 21 adults as being in the assembly. He added 109 more names in the Roll Book for the 1930s and 1940s.

 

When the Christians moved into the Orange Hall on Archibald Street, they found it was possible to hold Bible Conferences. The first one was held on New Year’s day, 1938.  Usually, the men of the assembly were the teachers for this Conference and they were held on New Year’s day for many years.

 

As the number of people in the assembly in Moncton increased in the 1940s, a building fund was started and land was purchased at the corner of Mountain Road and Lutz Street in 1946. Plans for a new hall were drawn up, and construction began in 1950. The new hall was made of tile and brick. Over 100 were in fellowship then.

 

Seating was purchased from a local theater and consisted of row seats with wooden seats and backs. These were anchored to the hardwood floors on iron legs in the main auditorium and in the balcony. Moveable chairs were used at the front of the hall on Sunday mornings for the Remembrance meeting. Some years later, the row seats in the auditorium were replaced by more comfortable chrome chairs, and the hardwood floors were all carpeted. 

 

When the adjoining lot on Lutz Street was up for sale in 1955, the assembly bought it for an addition to the building and space for parking. In 1997, a new addition was constructed to the front of the building.

 

After the move to 195 Mountain Road, a Conference was held in October of 1950 to mark the opening of the building. The Gospel was preached each evening of the Conference; the balcony was filled as well as the auditorium necessitating that chairs be placed in the aisles on the main floor to accommodate all who came.

 

About 50 students were in the Sunday Schools in 1950. The attendance seemed to peak during the late 1960s and early 1970s when classes were held in every available space in the Moncton Gospel Hall. Fred Ward was a Sunday School Superintendent for many years and was dearly loved by all the children. When he died, money was given in his memory for the building of six Sunday School classrooms in the basement.

 

Special Sunday School programs have been held in December or January for many years. Children’s Meetings were held on Friday nights from September to April, attracting about 50 children. Meetings for the children of the Lewis Street area on Victoria Street were also conducted under the leadership of Eric Adsett and Harold Horseman. Forty to fifty children attended these meetings each night.

 

The Tract Band in Moncton had its start in the early days of the assembly, when some of the younger sisters met in homes to address envelopes. They obtained lists from the Post Office and mailed the envelopes with tracts. Later, they met in the Orange Hall for this work, and then in the basement of the Gospel Hall on Mountain Road. They now send out the Seed Sower’s package, which contains a bilingual text as well as tracts and offers of a New Testament to anyone who writes in to request one.

 

In the early 1950s, some of the sisters were exercised to help assembly missionaries. This effort began in homes but soon moved into the Hall where they could store their supplies. They made quilts, bandages, children’s clothing, and stuffed animals. Calendars were made and sent out Spanish-speaking countries. At Christmas time, many boxes were made up for needy families of Sunday School children.

 

Street meetings were held in Moncton for many years. On Saturday nights, Christians would preach on the corner of Oak and Main Streets. On Sunday evenings, the open-air meetings were held in the Lewis Street area and in Bore Park and Victoria Park.

 

In 1962, the elders of the Moncton assembly applied to the Government of Canada for Incorporation, as ‘Christians gathered in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ The name given by the government was ‘Christian Brethren.’

 

Elders in the Moncton assembly over the years include Donald Macdonald, Ernest Morton, Fred Ward, Eric Adsett, Lawrence Adsett, Fred Nichols, and Norman MacNeil. The latter was one of the founders of the Moncton assembly. His spiritual influence was not limited to just his home assembly but was felt throughout the assemblies of the Maritimes. A bilingualist who spoke fluent French, he worked almost singlehandedly in bringing the Gospel to the French community.

 

Another stalwart in the assembly later was Raj Manuel, a Christian who had immigrated with his family to the area. When he learned of Gospel meetings at the Moncton Gospel Hall, he went and was so impressed with the Gospel message being preached so plainly that he and his wife Patrima joined the fellowship. Mr. Manuel was a great personal worker.

 

Rick Pardy was saved through Mr. Manuel’s testimony. He and his wife Pauline joined the fellowship at the Gospel Hall, and through them, others were saved and joined with the assembly. Rick Pardy, with the help of Mark MacPherson, held home Bible readings. Later the Bible studies moved to another home, with Bill Swan and Bob Budd as the leaders. Among those who accepted Christ at these studies were Frank LeBlanc, Alton Stevenson, Jim Harper, and David McQuinn.

 

In 1988, the general offices and repair shops of the Canadian National Railway were closed and 1300 jobs were lost, the work being transferred to Montreal and Winnipeg. Two of the leading families in the Moncton assembly had to leave because of the closure – those of Raj and Patrima Manuel, and Rick and Pauline Pardy. By the early 1990s, the hall was renamed to Mountain Road Gospel Hall. The Moncton assembly is the largest in New Brunswick, with about 95 in fellowship at this time.

 

Of the travelling preachers who have come to Moncton, J. Boyd Nicholson and Douglas Howard have had the longest continuing association with the Moncton assembly, continuing more than 50 years in both cases.

* * * * * * *

 

In 1914, Miss Margaret Betts from Kent County was nursing in Boston and was concerned that no Gospel preachers had come to the area of her home. She made her concern known to the Christians in Boston. They contacted W. N. Brennan and Robert Milnes, then working in Nova Scotia, and a short time later these preachers came to Main River. The preachers traveled the dusty country roads on their bicycles inquiring if any Christians lived nearby. They were told to go and see Mrs. Charity MacPherson in Smiths Corner, which they did and invited the family to Gospel meetings in the tent in Main River. During 1914 and 1915, several were saved, including four of the MacPherson family. At intervals from 1917 to 1921, Messrs. Brennan, Milnes, and Goodwin preached in the Main River area.

 

Early in the spring of 1921, Isaac McMullen arrived in Bryants Corner near Moncton and got permission to preach the Gospel in the schoolhouse even though there was some opposition. He labored alone for weeks with the schoolhouse filled to capacity each night, and still no one got saved. He wondered at times if God had really called him to this work as there seemed no strength to bring forth new birth.  He went to the meeting on Easter Sunday, and had the thought in his mind that if no one got saved that night, he would go back to Toronto to the shoemaking business. But that night, a number were saved, and at the close of the series of meetings, 26 souls had been saved.

 

During the summer of 1921, others preached the Gospel in the area and more souls were saved. Through their preaching, the Bryants Corner Assembly was planted that summer, with 22 being gathered to His name. The new Christians started a Sunday School and a prayer meeting. Later that year, Mr. McMullen and co-workers baptized twenty at one time in the river, with 500 people observing.

 

The Christians were exercised about buying land on which a building was to be erected for the preaching of the Gospel and for a burying ground. The land was purchased but a building was not erected. The Christians met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ward for their Rembrance Meetings. The deed for the land was registered in August 1921. The trustees were Joseph Ward, Sylvanus Chapman, Wilkinson Ward, and Robert Lynds.

 

Several of the younger Christians saved during the early years left the area around Bryants Corner to work in Moncton and joined the fellowship in the Moncton assembly. Mr. Fred Ward, Mrs. Angus MacPherson and Robert and Ella Lynds all moved to Moncton and were in the assembly there for many years.

 

In 1935, only seven persons were left. The assembly in Bryants Corner continued until shortly before Joseph Ward died in November 1937.

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Mr. and Mrs. Norman Kion of Ontario were missionaries in the West Indies before they moved to Campbellton on the northern edge of New Brunswick in the 1940s. An assembly in Campbellton was going on in the 1940s and 1950s, which was in fellowship with the English assemblies on the Gaspé coast of Quebec, the nearest assemblies to them. 

 

In 1949, Mr. Kion started a radio program called ‘Echoes of Grace’ that reached out 300 miles around Campbellton. Over a period of time the program was broadcast on many other stations, starting with Quito, Equador and then to many other countries. 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Chard lived in Campbellton at that time and helped in the Gospel work.  Alice (Johnson) Harvie was a school teacher there and helped Mr. Kion prepare the radio messages. A small assembly occupies the Campbellton Gospel Hall today.

* * * * * * *

 

Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick, situated on the Saint John River. The University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University are both located in Fredericton.

 

In 1938, Isaac McMullen moved his family to Fredericton. For several years, he preached on street corners in the city. William Glasgow from New Jersey came to Fredericton to work with Mr. McMullen. He and others also worked in nearby Williamsburg, Lincoln, and Dorne Ridge. Although some were saved at that time, no assemblies were formed at that time. In 1944, the McMullens moved back to Moncton.

 

In 1948, at the invitation of the Fredericton Christians, Mr. and Mrs. A. Christie moved to the Fredericton area from the U.S. Eight Fredericton believers commenced that year to Break Bread on Sunday mornings, the beginning of the Fredericton Gospel Hall. Their first meeting was held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Christie.

 

That same year, the Christians bought a property that had been a garage and gas station, and renovated it for their Gospel Hall. The assembly occupied that building on Gibson Street until 1963, when they purchased land on McAdam Avenue and sold their old building. While they were building the new Gospel Hall, they met in a room in the County  Municipal Home.

George Heidman moved his family to Fredericton in 1963 and ministered at the assembly. Hiel and Margaret Patterson of Oxford then moved to Fredericton. They helped at the small assembly and also kept a Christian book store called Seaside Scripture Supplies. This business was carried on later by Gordon Swan when the Pattersons moved back to Oxford in 1965. Others in the assembly are Annie Haines, Mr. and Mrs. Reg Brewer, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Stairs, and Mr. and Mrs. Irving Brooks.

* * * * * * *

 

In 1982, a group from the Fredericton Gospel Hall on McAdam Avenue started to meet in Keswick Ridge where they gathered together as the Fredericton Assembly of Christians. After meeting for three years, they bought land on the MacLeod Hill Road and constructed a hall for the assembly. During this time of building, several brethren from the Moncton assembly helped them in their work. The Fredericton Assembly of Christians have a good testimony in the neighborhood and have seen some saved and added to the assembly. They have good outreach to the children in the neighborhood with their children’s programs. Ernest Adsett is an elder in this assembly.

* * * * * * *

 

In the 1950s, Tom Wilkie and James Blackwood held meetings in the city of Sussex, which lies about midway between Moncton and Saint Johns. Later, Sam Cairns and Bill Swan of Moncton preached the Gospel at Sussex. These also held Gospel meetings in a building in nearby Waterford, going there on Sunday afternoons to make a fire in an old oil barrel which served as a stove to warm the building before the evening meetings.

 

In the 1960s, Grace Craig, later Mrs. Allison Morton, Jr. led a classmate to the Lord. This led to the Lord working in her family’s lives and some were saved. As a consequence of this, Murray McCandless came from Ontario to preach the Gospel in the St. Martins and Sussex areas of New Brunswick. Murray and Shirley McCandless then made their home in Sussex.

 

David Kember of Ontario moved to Sussex for about two years to assist in the work there. When he returned to Ontario, he left his trailer, so Sam Cairns and Bill Swan carried on Bible readings in the trailer one night a week for some who had professed salvation. Ken and Doris Taylor also lived in Sussex and helped in this new work.

 

At that time, these Sussex-area Christians were driving to Moncton to Remember the Lord on Sundays. An assembly was started near the town of St. Martins in a rented hall in April 1978. The Christians later moved to the Fire Hall in St. Martins. Then a new Sussex Gospel Hall was built near Sussex and opened in July 1980, with 15 in fellowship.

 

Christians from the Atlantic Provinces, Ontario, and the United States helped in the building of the new hall. Gaius Goff and Albert Ramsay held Gospel meetings there soon after its opening.

* * * * * * *

 

 

In 1979, George Hicks was holding Bible studies in the home of John and Grace Vanderlaans in Mercer Settlement, three miles east of Avonmore, about 50 miles west of Moncton. Several local people attended these meetings, among whom were Eric Huggard and David and Connie Cripps.

 

In June 1980, John M. Martin of Tavistock, Ontario, came to this community and held Gospel meetings in the Community Church in Mercer Settlement. That fall, the Bible studies continued on Sunday evenings at the Vanderlaans’ home. In October, George Hicks held more Bible studies in the home of Doug and Sandy Hall.

 

When the Hicks and Cripps heard of meetings in Riverview with J. B. Nicholson, Jr., they attended several meetings in the series. During this week, Eric Huggard, the Hicks, and the Cripps met with Mr. Nicholson regarding establishing a New Testament Church in Avonmore. After that, they studied the Emmaus Course Christ Loved The Church by William MacDonald.

 

John Martin and his wife came to the area again in the spring. The Christians then commenced a regular Remembrance Meeting on Sunday mornings. Those attending the first meeting of the Avonmore Christian Fellowship were John and Melissa Martin, Gerald and Lois MacLellan, Eric Huggard, Connie and David Cripps and George and Amy Hicks. Evening Bible studies were held at the Cripps’ home. The new assembly acquired a portable building and placed it on land made available by David Cripps.

 

After much prayer and discussion, it was decided that the time was right for a new building.  Construction started in the fall of 1993 with the men of the assembly helping out with their individual expertise. Faithful servants of God proclaiming the Gospel and building the saints up have been John Martin, Harold Smith, George Heidman, Wade LeBlanc, Alex Stevenson, Joe Sherlock, J. B. Nicholson, Jr., and Bruce Toye. About 20 adults and children regularly attend the meetings of the assembly.

* * * * * * *

 

Dundas is a small rural community 15 miles north of Moncton.  Many preachers have visited this area and many meetings have been held in tents and schoolhouses dating back to the late 1800s. 

 

In the late 1940s, some Christians purchased a lot from Mary (Bears) Graves for the construction of the Dundas Gospel Hall. Those on the deed as trustees in 1949, the date of the construction, were Russell Morton, Harry Hannah, Arthur Bears and Wilfred Budd.

 

A Conference was held at the opening of the Hall in October 1949 and Douglas Howard, Isaac McMullen and Reg Jordan all spoke at that time. After the opening of the Dundas Hall, Reg Jordan and Isaac McMullen held Gospel meetings.

 

A Sunday School was started in about 1950; Ralph and Austin Morton taught on Sunday afternoons until Ralph left for British Columbia. Austin Morton carried on with Cecil Budd until he too left for British Columbia. This work continued  in the Dundas Gospel Hall for many years by Cecil Budd with help from the brethren from Moncton. More land was obtained later from Mrs. Graves when the hall was enlarged. The assembly seems to have discontinued in the 1980s.

 

Some in the Dundas area were going to the Moncton assembly meetings and decided to reform the assembly in Dundas. The first meeting to Remember the Lord was held at Robert and Linda Budd’s house in February 1983. Eighteen were present, plus children. These were Cecil Budd, Bob and Linda Budd, Wendell and Suzanne Budd, Wallace and Anita Coates, Clarence and Eleanor Budd, Jim and Dora Melanson, Mary Graves, Ida Budd, Don and Sharon Cormier, Daryll Budd, and Brian and Debbie Budd.

 

The old Gospel Hall, which was over 30 years old, was raised and a basement put under it; an addition was constructed at the front of the building, and other improvements were made.

 

Many series of Gospel meetings were held through the years mostly with Harold Smith and Wade LeBlanc who visited faithfully in the area surrounding the Hall. In 1969, Albert Ramsay and David Oliver had Gospel meetings at the Dundas Gospel Hall. David Hunt, Floyd Stewart, and Alec Stephenson were others involved in Gospel work in Dundas.

* * * * * * *

 

In November 1968, several young couples from the Mountain Road Gospel Hall in Moncton left and commenced to meet in the Riverview High School. In February 1970, the building formerly occupied by the Gunningsville Baptist Church, situated on Coverdale Road in Gunningsville/Riverview, was purchased by these believers for their meetings. Repairs were made and the main auditorium redecorated in preparation for the official opening of Faith Bible Chapel in March 1970. The trustees at the time of the purchase of the building were Jack Briggins, Reginald Burge, Allison Morton and David Tipper.

 

The believers carried on an active Sunday School, and many children had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel as did their parents when they attended special programs of the Sunday School. However, after about a dozen years of meeting, many of the couples originating this work moved from the metropolitan area of Moncton to different parts of Canada and the United States. Some of the Christians returned once again into fellowship at the Mountain Road Gospel Hall in Moncton, and the meeting disbanded in the mid 1980s.

* * * * * * *

 

Saint John is the largest of the four cities in New Brunswick. It is situated at the mouth of the Saint John River.

 

George Heidman was commended from Dominion Gospel Hall in Orillia, Ontario in August 1950 and moved to New Brunswick in 1952. In May 1953, he felt led to preach the Gospel in Saint John. He and his wife Frances moved there, renting an apartment from Mrs. Murray, the sister of Mrs. Russell Morton of Moncton.

 

Mr. Heidman immediately began preaching in King Square. Soon he was leading a well-attended Bible study in the home of James O’Neil, the brother of Mrs. Murray. Later, Don Murray, son of Mrs. Murray, offered the use of their home two nights a week for meetings. Mr. Heidman borrowed chairs from the YMCA and took them to the Murray’s home each week and then carted them back again. A good number of people attended these meetings each week.

 

On Sunday mornings, the Heidmans would travel to Moncton or Fredericton for the  Remembrance Meeting. After a time, they felt they should stay in Saint John and start a Sunday School and a Bible class on Sunday mornings. Frances taught Sunday School in the kitchen while George had Bible studies in the living room. Gospel meetings began on Sunday nights in the large living room of the McCavours. Tract distribution was done regularly at both the City Hospital and sanatorium.

 

In 1954, the first Remembrance Meeting of the Saint John assembly was held in the Heidman’s living room, with Mr. and Mrs. Donovan, Mr. McCavour, Fred Comley and the Heidmans meeting together to Remember the Lord.

 

In June 1954, Joe Donovan gave the assembly  two lots of land next to his home on Courtenay Avenue on which to construct a building for meetings. The men of the Moncton assembly were very faithful; Burton McMullen and Fred Ward would bring a carload down on Saturdays and they would work all day on the building. Others from Moncton and other assemblies came to work on the hall. The Brock Avenue Gospel Hall in Toronto donated light fixtures. Another assembly donated all the chairs that were needed and shipped them to Saint John. Thus the Saint John Gospel Hall was finished.

 

The Gospel Hall was opened in February 1955. George Heidman’s father, August Heidman, preached the first message. Mr. Henry Fletcher of Toronto was at the opening and held Gospel meetings afterwards; a number professed to be saved. Mr. McNeil came often from Moncton and was a valuable mentor for George Heidman. Eric Adsett and Fred Ward as well as Burton McMullen and Lawrence Adsett came many times for the weekend to support the work and offer their assistance in the preaching. Clark McClelland often came to conduct series of meetings at the hall.

 

People from the Mispec area made up a great part of the Saint John meeting. Men in the assembly would drive to Mispec to pick up children for Sunday School. Members of the large Harold Eastwood family were always eager to come. The assembly grew as Christians from assemblies in Scotland came over to work in the Drydock. They were a help in the assembly both preaching the Gospel and ministering the word of God. Two of these men were Ian Adair and Duncan Maxwell.

 

In 1980, Wade LeBlanc heard the Gospel and trusted the Lord as his Saviour. He soon began preaching at Kings Square and became exercised about going out full-time preaching the Word of God. The Saint John assembly was happy to give him a commendation.

* * * * * * *

 

In the early part of 1979, the first French-speaking assembly in New Brunswick was planted in the small village of Green River, near Edmundston, the Green River chrétienne reunis.

 

Larry Buote, who had been commended to the Lord’s work in Quebec, attended the Moncton Conference in 1978 and visited some new converts on the Acadian Peninsula on the northeast tip of New Brunswick. A man from Tracadie, Leon Comeau, had been saved through reading a New Testament received in the mail, and his wife soon followed. Larry Buote found out about him and soon Leon came in contact with others who shared the same salvation he had found.

 

The work progressed and meetings were held in Leon’s basement. Several more professed.  These new converts met regularly for Bible study. Then the tent went up for public declaration of the Gospel. Much opposition developed, and the town council, who had given them permission to erect the tent, advised them to take it down. Another tentative effort to erect the tent somewhere else also failed, so the meetings were held in different homes in Tracadie. God was working and five souls more were saved. Soon sixteen believers were gathered for the first time in local capacity to Remember their Lord, and called their assembly Tracadie chrétienne reunis.

 

Mr. Vincent Davey who spent most of his life in the work of God in Quebec, made many trips to the area. Leslie Wells, a French language professor from Northern Ireland, came to  New Brunswick for a short visit in 1981 and returned to help in the Gospel in the summer of 1983.  He was later commended to the French work in New Brunswick in 1985. He settled in Tracadie and has endeavored to help in the Gospel and in the teaching of God’s Word. He proved to be a great help in translating hymns from the Believer’s Hymn Book to add to the new hymn book for the French speaking assemblies. He has been a source of encouragement in writing different articles in La Banni re de la V rit, published four times a year.

 

A few souls have been saved in the village of Neguac and received in the assembly in Tracadie.  A weekly Gospel meeting has been held in the home of one of the believers. ‘Kember texts’ are assembled there. This great work has been used of God to spread the message through many parts of the world, and the brethren in Neguac had the privilege to be part of that work which began with Walter Kember from Sarnia, Ontario.

* * * * * * *

 

Pigeon Hill is a small coastal village situated on Ile Lamèque, northeast of Tracadie. The Gospel came to this area through a young man, Serge, who was studying at the university in Moncton in 1981. He heard the way of salvation through other students who were having meetings on the campus connected with the French Baptists. Serge was eager to bring this message to his  parents. They, his sister, and other relatives came to know Christ as Savior. In the spring of 1984, Serge came in contact with the assembly in Tracadie. He was received in the assembly in December of that year.

 

There were several other villages to reach in those parts of the Acadian peninsula. With the encouragement of the brethren, weekly meetings were held. In June 1992 a new testimony was planted in the area with 15 in fellowship. More than 30 now meet in their new Pigeon Hill Gospel Hall which was built in 1996.

 

The assembly in Tracadie holds a monthly meeting for the ministry of God’s Word through the winter months in conjunction with Pigeon Hill, alternating between assemblies from November through March.

* * * * * * *

 

Shediac is on the coast of Northumberland Strait, 15 miles northeast of Moncton. The assembly in Shediac – Shediac chrétienne reunis – has its roots at the Canadian National Railway shops in Moncton in May 1982 when Luc Bergeron heard the Gospel and was saved through Raj Manuel, a fellow worker. Another young man, Denis Bourgeois, was saved in September of that year, followed by others. A group started meeting in Luc Bergeron’s home in Robichaud, near Shediac for Bible studies.

 

Raj Manuel invited them to attend a series of Gospel meetings with Albert Hull and Doug Howard. Luc Bergeron had already seen the way of gathering according to the Scriptures and the truth of the Lord’s supper, and wanted to know more because those things were not practiced where he was going since the time he had been saved.

 

That summer of 1982, Clarence and Robert Budd had a few Bible studies with these new Christians, but seeing that their interest was to have something in French, Clarence Budd contacted Larry Buote who was labouring in Quebec. With his teaching, they were soon in fellowship with the believers in Moncton.

 

In the fall of 1982, Larry Buote came to the community of Robichaud, near Shediac, for Gospel meetings in the basement of Maurice Gaudet’s home. Bible readings were held on Saturday evenings because the men were working at the shops on week nights. Gerard Roy and Larry Buote had several meetings on a weekend on assembly truths. Mr. Berney from Quebec was also invited by the Moncton brethren to come for ministry. Mr. Davey made several trips to Shediac and the other French assemblies to encourage the young assemblies. In January 1983, Gospel meetings were held to reach others in these parts.

 

The new believers developed a desire to meet as an assembly in Robichaud. In April 1983, the brethren sought the fellowship of their brethren from Moncton. Soon, 16 believers met for the first time as Shediac chrétienne reunis to Remember the Lord.

 

A year later, the hall was built and the first series of Gospel meetings were held that summer.  Gerard Roy, who had just been commended to the work, joined Mr. Grainger from Ontario for these meetings. Fourteen people professed salvation in those meetings.

 

The assembly has sought to continue to spread the Gospel in other areas.  There are now 50 believers in fellowship. An annual Conference is held in the fall in the Shediac High School; the monthly ministry meetings throughout the winter months have been a blessing for the assembly.

Visitation is done on a regular basis to surrounding communities near Shediac. An outreach through the province is also made regularly with the help of the other assemblies who help distribute Seed Sowers texts to villages beyond. A weekly Gospel meeting is held in a portable hall in the village of St-Louis, an hour’s drive north. Two families from St-Louis drive to Shediac for the regular assembly meetings.

 

Brethren from the Shediac assembly have labored faithfully to spread the Gospel to students at the University of Moncton. They visit weekly and distribute over 100 texts each Monday night, inviting students to come and hear the truth about eternal matters. Each Saturday night, the Gospel message is proclaimed.

 

There are now four French speaking assemblies in New Brunswick and two commended workers  – Mr. Leslie Wells from Northern Ireland and Gerard Roy of Green River. Larry Buote continues to labor there and in Quebec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Remember the Days of Old, by Betty McMullen, Gospel Folio Press, 2000

Letters of Interest, February 1944, p. 24; March 1944, p. 38; December 1955, p. 15

 


Prince Edward Island

 

Prince Edward Island is the smallest of the Canadian Provinces. Assembly history on Prince Edward Island actually has its beginning far from there in Brandon, Manitoba, where a Presbyterian minister, Mr. Rae, left his position and joined with the assembly in that city. In 1890, he held Gospel meetings in a schoolhouse in North Dakota. Among those attending were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Keyes, and through Mr. Rae’s preaching, both were saved in that year.

 

In 1914, the Keyes moved to Edmonton, Alberta, where they were neighbors of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Ramsay. Through the witness of the Keyes, both Ramsays were brought to the Lord. Later, three other couples who lived in the same block as the Ramsays were also saved through Mrs. Keyes’ testimony, and all gathered with the assembly in Edmonton.

 

Gordon Ramsay was a native of Prince Edward Island, and each summer he returned there with his family to help on the farm near Mill River. The Gordon Ramsays later moved to Boston, Massachusetts, and joined with the Christians in the Cliff Street Gospel Hall, but continued to visit Prince Edward Island regularly. On one of Mr. Ramsay’s visits, his interest in seeing a Gospel work established there was aroused, and in 1932 he and Joe Pearson of Massachusetts held two weeks of open-air meetings in the Square in Charlottetown, the capital of the Province.

 

Mr. Pearson wrote to American Pioneer, an assembly magazine, that  “...The door is open for the gospel, and there is not an assembly on the entire Island 150 miles long and 30 miles wide, sometimes called the ‘Million Acre Farm,’ and not a scriptural assembly on it! ... The woman with whom we are staying is over 70 and got saved at a Pugwash Junction conference.”

 

When in Ontario, Mr. Pearson had met Russell Harris, who had worked with John Spreeman in Quebec. In November 1933, the two men went to Prince Edward Island for Gospel work. Their first meeting was in the Lady Fane schoolhouse near Gambles Corner, where Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Thorpe had previously held meetings. On June 1934, a tent was pitched across from the Lady Fane school, and nightly meetings began.

 

Albert Joyce moved his family to the Island to help in tent meetings with Herbert Harris. As the crowds at the meeting grew, so did the opposition. Mr. Harris said things in his preaching that stirred the anger of the audience, and Mr. Joyce followed with a touching Gospel message while they were aroused. The whole countryside was stirred and many were saved.

 

The preachers commenced open-air meetings in the Square in Charlottetown every Saturday night. The Gospel meetings continued until the beginning of September 1934. Then a date was set for the baptism of about thirty who had been saved that summer. Eight hundred onlookers came to watch. Mr. Joyce and the two Harris brothers, Herb and Russell, stood on an upturned fishing boat and preached the Gospel.

 

The Lord opened the way for an assembly to meet, and the Public Hall was rented in the town of Crapaud, a dozen miles west of Charlottetown. On October 7, 1934, the Lord’s Supper was observed for the first time. Thus the first assembly on Prince Edward Island came into being, the origin of the Crapaud Gospel Hall.

* * * * * * *

 

Commended by the assemblies at Regina and Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan, Stanley Wells went to Prince Edward Island in 1943. Arriving in Summerside, about 40 miles west of Charlottetown, where there was neither assembly nor aggressive Gospel work, he began a weekly radio broadcast to reach young people. About 100 children responded to the offer of a New Testament. He then arranged Bible schools in various places and rented a room in Summerside for chil­dren’s meetings. Several souls were saved in this work. In 1945 the Christians purchased an old hatchery building and had it moved to Arcona Street. They converted it into a meeting place, soon to be known as Glad Tidings Chapel.

 

In 1946 William Rae of Portland came to the Island for tent meetings. During his visit the believers at Summerside first met as an assembly. Stanley Wells was assisted by Gordon Warnholtz and Allan Weber in initiating the assembly.

 

Others in leadership over the years have been Joseph Sherlock, who was a full-time worker, and Spurgeon Robbins, a leading brother. In 1960, the assembly moved to a new building on Arcona Street and changed the name to Summerside Bible Chapel. In 1987 a new building was erected at Granville Street North and Sherbrooke Road, its present location. The assembly has about 90 adults and children in attendance.

* * * * * * *

 

Svend Christensen was a native of Prince Edward Island and lived at Dundas Centre. The St. Peters/Upton/Dundas area is 40 miles east of Charlottetown. In 1948, the Upton Gospel Chapel was established by Svend Christensen and Allan Weber. Meetings had been held in different schools prior to then, but in that year, the assembly occupied the building constructed in the late 1800s by the Church of Scotland. The chapel was enlarged in 1983. Elders over the years include Henry MacDougall, Tim Christensen, George Knox, Wesley Stead, and in earlier days Allan Weber. The assembly, which has about 50 adults and children, has commended workers to Africa.

* * * * * * *

 

Stanley and Marjorie Streight began la­boring on Prince Edward Island in about 1945. They lived at Cardigan, near Montague, and were resident workers at the Montague Bible Chapel assembly. In the late 1980s, a second assembly was formed in Montague and called Emmanuel Bible Chapel under the leadership of Robert MacGregor.

* * * * * * *

 

Charlottetown Bible Chapel has its roots in a few meetings held in 1954 and 1955 in the Sons of England Hall. In 1954, Emmanuel Bible Camp, a summer Bible camp for boys and girls, was opened. The Prince Edward Island Evan­gelical Association was formed for ownership and operation of the camp and for other activities.

 

Svend Christensen was concerned about the development of an aggressive testimony in Charlottetown, and so in 1955, through the Prince Edward Island Evangelical Associa­tion, purchased a property at 235 Cumberland Street, Charlottetown, and the chapel was constructed. The first official meeting of the assembly was in January 1956. The assembly presently occupies its own chapel at 35 Lincolnwood Drive.

 

Among the very many people (37) identified as starting the assembly and leading it subsequently, we mention Svend Christensen, Joe Wootton, Art Small, and Ron Harris up to 1958. James and Betty Stahr moved to Charlottetown in 1958, remaining until 1971, making it possible for Mr. Christensen to move to Halifax. Harold Ellis, Claude Lewis, Ron Jones, and John Phillips among others served as elders after 1958. Charlottetown Bible Chapel has commended three full-time workers over the years. Today, about 200 adults and youngsters attend the assembly.

* * * * * * *

 

Lou Harris and Svend Christensen worked among the fishing villages on the Island in the 1950s, which led to the formation of the Beach Point Assembly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Questionnaire Responses

Sowing and Reaping in the Garden of the Gulf, by G. Albert Ramsay, 1983

Letters of Interest, February 1944, p. 24; March 1944, p. 38; December 1955, p. 15

 

 


Newfoundland and Labrador

 

Newfoundland is a large island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. To it belongs Labrador, which lies on the eastern side of Quebec. The Province now has the name ‘Newfoundland and Labrador.’ It is the eastern most Province of Canada.

 

Prior to 1947, there were no assem­blies in Newfoundland. In 1955 there were five, and 22 are listed for the Province at this writing.

 

In the 1920s, William Brennan of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, and Isaac McMullen of Moncton, New Brunswick, spent a number of weeks each summer working around Carbonear, Fresh Water, and Harbour Grace. Some professions of salvation were made, but these did not establish an assembly testimony. Among the converts was “Aunt Jessie Snow,” a poor laboring woman, a prayer warrior, and an outstanding witness for Christ, with whom Messrs. Brennan and McMullen kept contact.

 

Herbert Harris came to Newfoundland in 1942 for tent meetings. Not finding a suitable place in the capital city of St. John’s, he went to Carbonear, across Conception Bay from St. John’s, and pitched the tent close to where Aunt Jessie Snow lived. Douglas Howard joined him there. Many souls were saved in those tent meetings, and soon they needed to find a building in which to hold the meetings. A Mr. Frampton, a Christian man, helped them build such a hall amid much opposition. A Sunday School was started there, with Gospel meetings. However, the local people got up a petition which forced the leading workers in this effort out of the area.

 

Christians from St. John’s then drove to Carbonear to keep the work going. In 1947, an assembly was finally formed, meeting at the Carbonear Gospel Hall. Opposition continued and many were afraid to join with the assembly for fear of losing their jobs. The assembly has remained small. G. Albert Ramsey and Wallace Cudmore were among those who have ministered at Carbonear.

* * * * * * *

 

The work of Messrs. Harris, Howard, and Ramsey also resulted in the planting of an assembly in St. John’s soon after, meeting at St. John’s Gospel Hall.

* * * * * * *

 

Also in St. John’s is Faith Bible Chapel. The beginnings of the assembly can be traced to a Gospel work among children begun by Jack and Allegra McBirney, who came to Newfoundland from California in 1964. In association with the Canadian Sunday School Mission, children’s Bible Clubs, Day Camps, Sunday School, and teen activities were started. Some evening Gospel Services were held in a hall on Casey Street and a number of adults began to meet weekly. The work increased with the coming of James and Alice Campbell and Robert and Sharon Johnston in 1968. The Johnstons were commended workers from Laurel Bible Chapel in San Diego, California. Encouragement and support were provided by Marie Thomson, an assembly children’s worker from California, and by Charlottetown Bible Chapel on Prince Edward Island. Various Home Bible Studies for men and women were started and regular Sunday Services were carried on. The name by which the fellowship was initially known was The Bible Chapel.

 

Increasing numbers trusted the Lord and were added to the church. In the early part of 1969 a camp was purchased in Paradise; week-long camps for boys and girls and teens were held there for some years. Also in 1969, a house on Kenmount Road was purchased and permission was given from St. John’s City Council to renovate and rebuild it for a suitable meeting place. Services at Faith Bible Chapel in St. John’s were begun in 1970. The congregation continued to grow and many church-related activities were markedly increased. The assembly has always had an effective outreach to nearby Memorial University of Newfoundland.

 

Those who had been active in the early days gradually left; the McBirneys in 1970, the Campbells in 1972 and the Johnstons in 1975; but the work was carried on well by local elders, of which there are five at present. In 1980 the Campbells returned for several years. A new addition, the present main chapel, was completed in 1983. The original goals are still paramount – the preaching of the Gospel and the building up of believers.

* * * * * * *

 

Stanley Beasley labored along the eastern shore about 120 miles north of St. John’s. He had done evangelistic work there while in the Navy from 1942 to 1946, and when he left the Navy he returned to the area to labor. Mr. Beasley was joined by others at various times. Bob and Helen McLaren worked in the area from 1950 to 1952. James Booker from Ontario and his wife worked from 1952 to 1954. James and Betty Stahr, commended from New Jersey, joined forces with Mr. Beasley from about 1954 to 1958. Bob and Sharon Johnson came from 1966 to 1968, and Alex and Jean Stephenson, commended from Ontario, worked from 1969 to 1979. Jim and Elizabeth Paul came from Scotland to work from 1980 to 1981.

 

By 1955, three assemblies were functioning about 18 miles apart. They met in the Burnt Point Gospel Hall, Old Perlican Gospel Hall, and Western Bay Gospel Hall. Each hall could seat about 100 and had self-con­tained apartments for workers. In each village the assemblies had their own cemetery. Through giving out tons of cloth­ing and helping in all possible ways, including suturing up people, horses, and cows, the brethren broke down much of the violence and bitterness against the Gospel.

 

In the 1980s, the three assemblies merged, meeting in Burnt Point and led by Andrew Pottle. The Burnt Point Gospel Hall continues today. The building in Western Bay was sold, and the building in Old Perlican was closed.

* * * * * * *

 

Alex and Jean Stephenson moved to Bloomfield, midway between St. John’s and Gander, in 1979. Mr. Stephenson had come the previous summer and held tent meetings from July to September, not knowing anyone in the area. Thus began a work that resulted in the Bloomfield Gospel Hall. By 1983, nine sat down to Remember the Lord for the first time as an assembly. Only one of these – a nine year old girl  – had ever witnessed the Lord’s Supper before that.

Lack of employment in the area has kept the assembly small, the young men moving away to find work. About 20 adults and youngsters are in the assembly at this time.

* * * * * * *

 

In about 1970, Brian Funston and Carl Payne were spreading the Gospel on Fogo Island, 18 miles off the coast from Carmanville. These men had built a portable hall in which to have meetings. G. Albert Ramsey came there in 1972 and ministered the Word, with fruit, and a year later assembly was planted at the Fogo Island Gospel Hall, which continues today.

* * * * * * *

 

Main Point Gospel Hall in the small town of Main Point near Gander Bay and Carmanville began in 1974, founded by George Campbell and Gaius Goff. Leadership has been shared by Alvin Blake, Robert Harbin, Herbert Harris, Ernest Harris, and Frank Simms. About 50 adults and youngsters attend Main Point Gospel Hall, which is one of the larger assemblies on the Island.

* * * * * * *

 

Brian and Elizabeth Funston rented a small cottage in Sandy Cove in 1976, near Sandringham and Eastport, and were instrumental in the salvation of their neighbors, Jim and Angela Matchem. G. Albert Ramsey came for Gospel meetings, with souls saved, and this led to the establishment of the Eastport Gospel Hall in 1977, which continues today.

* * * * * * *

 

An assembly at Corner Brook near the west shore of Newfoundland was established where Albert Joyce and George Campbell labored. It meets at the Corner Brook Gospel Hall. These brethren and others also built small halls for Gospel work in two other places near Carbonear in the east. They met with much church opposition and saw numbers in one hall dwindle from 200 in Sunday School and Gospel meetings to a handful through pressure by the established church, which controlled not only the educational system, but also the social and political life.

* * * * * * *

 

Cox’s Cove Gospel Hall near Corner Brook, began in 1982, the result of efforts by Jim Jarvis, Melvin Flynn, and Frank Loder. The assembly hived off from Corner Brook Gospel Hall. Since about 1987, it has been known as McIvers Gospel Hall. Jim Jarvis, Frank Loder, and Floyd Park have been the elders. About 25 adults and youngsters attend the assembly. Dale Gallagher in association with the Canadian Sunday School Mission was active in the beginning of the work at McIvers.

* * * * * * *

 

The boat “M.G.M.” (Missionary Gospel Messenger) stopped at the harbor town of Parsons Pond on the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the early summer of 1961. Its crew consisted of Herbert Harris, George Campbell, J. Albert Joyce, Gaius Goff, T. Hilton, and Wallace Buckle. Open-air meetings and visitations by these men resulted in the formation of Parsons Pond Gospel Hall in 1961. Those in leadership in the assembly over the years include Robbert Goosney, Harvey Parsons, Oscar House, Sam Payne, and Harley Payne. Parsons Pond Gospel Hall has commended a worker to the Lord’s service. It has a weekly attendance of about 100.

* * * * * * *

 

While the boat “M.G.M.” was in Parsons Pond, the men were invited to visit Rocky Harbour, some 40 miles down the coast. This they did in the late summer of 1961. The boat entered the harbor with hymns playing from the loudspeaker mounted on the mast, and a crowd soon gathered on the wharf. The crew held an open-air meeting and visited afterward among the crowd. The interest shown encouraged them to stay and hold more meetings. An unused garage was found; the grease pit was floored over, the walls were painted, and benches were made for seating.

 

As fall came, the boat had to move on, but most of the crew stayed on in Rocky Harbour, living in a rented house. When cold weather moved in, a more suitable building for the meetings was found in the lane then called Parson’s Parlour. Interest and attendance increased and the building was usually filled. By springtime of 1962, some 70 people had professed salvation. At the first baptism held that summer in Rocky Harbour Pond, 25 were baptized before a large crowd that had gathered.

 

Later that summer, construction was begun on a permanent hall – Rocky Harbour Gospel Hall    which was officially opened in October with meetings by Doug Howard and George Campbell. The assembly was formed in January 1963 with 17 in fellowship. Wallace Buckle, Cliff Nicholle, and Steve Joyce have been in active leadership over the years. Peter Mathews has been a resident worker for the assembly. The assembly conducts a monthly meeting at the Senior’s Home in Norris Point. It has an average Sunday attendance of a little over 20, with 15 in fellowship.

* * * * * * *

 

On the south shore of Labrador, L’anse Au Loup Gospel Hall began in 1958. Initiated by Herbert Harris, Albert Joyce, and George Campbell, the assembly is the first of five now in Labrador. The traveling preachers provided the initial leadership, but now elders have been raised up. L’anse Au Loup Gospel Hall has commended full-time workers, and has about 200 adults and youngsters in attendance. The assembly holds a three-day Conference each October.

* * * * * * *

 

Two other assemblies are in area of L’anse Au Loup, and all started at about the same time. Red Bay is about 25 miles up the coast, and is the location of the Red Bay Gospel Hall. In the opposite direction is Forteau, the location of English Point Gospel Hall. These three assemblies have monthly interactions.

* * * * * * *

 

Charlottetown Gospel Hall in the town of Charlottetown, about 125 miles north of L’anse Au Loup, and not to be confused with the capital city of Prince Edward Island, began in 1968. The assembly was started by Albert Joyce and George Campbell. Elders have been John Kippenhuck, Lewis Powell, Carl Kippenhuck, and Roy Freaul. About 25 are in the assembly. Typical transportation from the L’anse Au Loup area is by plane, although boat trips can be made in the summer, and people have been known to make the trip by ski in the winter.

* * * * * * *

 

The Goose Bay Assembly in the town of Goose Bay about 200 miles northwest of L’anse Au Loup in Labrador, was begun in the late 1980s. Wallace Buckle and Save Swan were commended workers who lived there. The New Harbour Gospel Hall was started in the late 1970s following tent work with George Campbell and Gaius Goff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Questionnaire Responses

John Knox McEwen and Pioneer Work in the Maritimes, by John T. Dickson, Good News Publishers, Westchester, IL (1968)

Sowing and Reaping In the Garden of the Gulf, G. Albert Ramsay, 1983

Remember the Days of Old, by Betty McMullen, New Brunswick, 1999

Letters of Interest, February 1944, p. 24; March 1944, p. 38; December 1955, p. 15

 


Index

 

Amherst Assembly, NS................................................................................................................................................................... 4

Armdale Bible Chapel, Halifax, NS................................................................................................................................................. 5

Avonmore Christian Fellowship, NB........................................................................................................................................... 15

Bayside Gospel Hall, NB.................................................................................................................................................................. 8

Beach Point Assembly, PEI........................................................................................................................................................... 23

Bloomfield Gospel Hall, NF........................................................................................................................................................... 25

Blues Mills Gospel Hall, NS............................................................................................................................................................ 4

Brock Avenue Gospel Hall in Toronto........................................................................................................................................ 17

Bryants Corner Assembly, NB..................................................................................................................................................... 12

Burnt Point Gospel Hall, NF.......................................................................................................................................................... 25

Cambridge Gospel Hall, NS............................................................................................................................................................. 3

Campbellton Gospel Hall, NB........................................................................................................................................................ 13

Carbonear Gospel Hall, NF............................................................................................................................................................ 24

Central Gospel Hall in Toronto....................................................................................................................................................... 9

Charlottetown Bible Chapel, PEI............................................................................................................................................ 22, 24

Charlottetown Gospel Hall, NF..................................................................................................................................................... 27

Christian Assembly of Greenland, NS........................................................................................................................................... 6

Clementsvale Gospel Hall, NS......................................................................................................................................................... 3

Cliff Street Gospel Hall in Boston............................................................................................................................................. 8, 21

Colby Drive Bible Chapel, Dartmouth, NS.................................................................................................................................... 6

Corner Brook Gospel Hall, NF....................................................................................................................................................... 26

Cox’s Cove Gospel Hall, NF.......................................................................................................................................................... 26

Crapaud Gospel Hall, PEI............................................................................................................................................................... 22

Debert Gospel Hall, NS.................................................................................................................................................................... 3

Dominion Gospel Hall, Orillia, ON................................................................................................................................................ 16

Dundas Gospel Hall, NB................................................................................................................................................................ 15

Eastport Gospel Hall, NF............................................................................................................................................................... 26

Emmanuel Bible Chapel, Montague, PEI..................................................................................................................................... 22

English Point Gospel Hall, NF....................................................................................................................................................... 27

Fairview Bible Chapel, Halifax, NS................................................................................................................................................. 6

Faith Bible Chapel, Gunningsville, NB........................................................................................................................................ 16

Faith Bible Chapel, St. John’s, NF.......................................................................................................................................... 24, 25

Fall River Assembly, NS.................................................................................................................................................................. 6

Fogo Island Gospel Hall, NF......................................................................................................................................................... 26

Fredericton Assembly of Christians, NB.................................................................................................................................... 14

Fredericton Gospel Hall, NB.......................................................................................................................................................... 13

Glad Tidings Chapel, Summerside, PEI........................................................................................................................................ 22

Good News Bible Chapel, Truro, NS.............................................................................................................................................. 2

Goose Bay Assembly, NF............................................................................................................................................................. 28

Grace Chapel, Halifax, NS................................................................................................................................................................ 6

Green River chrétienne reunis, NB............................................................................................................................................... 18

Greenland Bible Chapel, NS............................................................................................................................................................ 6

Halifax Gospel Hall, NS.................................................................................................................................................................... 5

Lower Argyle Gospel Hall, NS........................................................................................................................................................ 7

L’anse Au Loup Gospel Hall, NF................................................................................................................................................. 27

Main Point Gospel Hall (Gander Bay), NF.................................................................................................................................. 26

Manganese Mines Assembly, NS................................................................................................................................................. 5

McIvers Gospel Hall, Corner Brook, NF...................................................................................................................................... 26

Moncton Gospel Hall, NB....................................................................................................................................................... 10, 11

Montague Bible Chapel, PEI......................................................................................................................................................... 22

Mountain Road Gospel Hall, Moncton, NB......................................................................................................................... 12, 16

New Glasgow Gospel Hall, NS........................................................................................................................................................ 3

New Harbour Gospel Hall, NF....................................................................................................................................................... 28

New Scotland Assembly, NB.......................................................................................................................................................... 9

Nineveh Assembly, NS.................................................................................................................................................................... 3

Northbrook Bible Chapel, Dartmouth, NS..................................................................................................................................... 6

Old Perlican Gospel Hall, NF......................................................................................................................................................... 25

Oxford Gospel Hall, NS.................................................................................................................................................................... 4

Parsons Pond Gospel Hall, NF...................................................................................................................................................... 26

Pigeon Hill Gospel Hall, NB........................................................................................................................................................... 19

Port Bickerton Gospel Hall, NS....................................................................................................................................................... 5

Port Howe Gospel Hall, NS.......................................................................................................................................................... 1, 4

Pugwash Junction Gospel Hall, NS............................................................................................................................................ 2, 4

Red Bay Gospel Hall, NF............................................................................................................................................................... 27

River Denys Gospel Hall, NS.......................................................................................................................................................... 5

River Hebert Gospel Hall, NS.......................................................................................................................................................... 4

Rocky Harbour Gospel Hall, NF................................................................................................................................................... 27

Saint John Gospel Hall, NB........................................................................................................................................................... 17

Shediac chrétienne reunis, NB...................................................................................................................................................... 19

St. John’s Gospel Hall, NF............................................................................................................................................................. 24

Summerside Bible Chapel, PEI...................................................................................................................................................... 22

Sussex Gospel Hall, NB.................................................................................................................................................................. 14

Sydney Gospel Hall, NS................................................................................................................................................................... 5

Sydney Mines Gospel Hall, NS...................................................................................................................................................... 5

Tatamagouche Assembly, NS........................................................................................................................................................ 4

Tidnish Bridge Assembly, NB........................................................................................................................................................ 8

Tracadie chrétienne reunis, NB.................................................................................................................................................... 18

Truro Gospel Hall, NS...................................................................................................................................................................... 2

Upton Gospel Chapel, PEI............................................................................................................................................................. 22

West Clifford Assembly, NS........................................................................................................................................................... 3

Western Bay Gospel Hall, NF....................................................................................................................................................... 25

Weymouth Assembly, NS............................................................................................................................................................... 3

Young Street Gospel Hall, Truro, NS............................................................................................................................................. 3

 

(13,066)

 

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