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History of the Adventist Church in Canada

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A Juryman Calls for Religious Freedom, Summer 1844

Hamilton, Canada West, August 15, 1844


We cut the following from the Journal and Express, published at Hamilton, Canada West. It would seem that in that section of the world to believe in the Advent is a crime sufficient to withdraw from them the protection of the law. Ceasar will recognize no King but himself.

To the Editor of the Journal and Express.

Sir, --- Allow me through the medium of your journal, to call public attention to an important case which came before the Court of Quarter Sessions on Saturday last. It was an appeal from a conviction before the local magistrates at Oakville, by parties who had been fined for interrupting, and pelting eggs and other missiles, one of those itinerant preachers, known as Millerites. It was fully proved on the appeal that the conduct of the persons who had been convicted was of a most outrageous and unprovoked character. The case having gone to the Jury, they were locked up ten hours, and then dismissed, as there was no likelihood of an agreement as to a verdict. I think the matter involves the great question whether we are to have religious freedom in Canada or not.

A small body of persons designated Millerites met together for religious worship: they commenced by prayer and singing. It was proved by the most conclusive evidence that they were shamefully interrupted. Whether their opinions are right or wrong, is no part of the question. Are they under the protection of the law? If so, the defendants ought to have been convicted. Let any sober-minded man read the statute, and then form his own judgment whether I, as a juryman, had not both reason and justice on my side in wishing to confirm the conviction. The 31st section of the act declares "that if any person shall wilfully disturb, interrupt or disquiet any assemblage of persons met for religious worship by profance discourse, by rude behavior, or by making a noise, either within the place of worship, or so near as to disturb the order or solumnity of the meeting, such person shall upon conviction thereof before any Justice of the Peace, on the oath of one or more credible witness or witnesses, forfeit and pay such sum of money not exceeding four pounds."

Now, Mr. Editor, I cannot help thinking that the judge, who I admire for his general humane conduct on the Bench, overstept the rules of justice in allowing his charity to yield to expediency in dismissing the jury before they came to a verdict on such an important case. The flimsy argument got up by Simon No-Brains to endeavor to shew that their doctrine was dangerous, and therefore ought to be put down, would lead to the destruction of all who did not agree with him in opinion.

The most effectual way to put those men down, if they really deserve it, is to let them alone, and it is not unlikely but that in a short time they will perceive themselves to be mistaken, and confess they have erred. Having, I am afraid, trespassed too much on your time, I remain, Sir, a lover of Fair Play.

Wm. Taylor, King Street.

The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, August 15, 1844, Boston. J.V. Himes, publisher, page 3



1. A nicely worded call for religious freedom by one of the jurors.

2. Disrupting a religious meeting remains a criminal offence, even today.

3. Notice the diplomatic language toward the Judge but not toward Simon No-Brains.

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Alberta's Second Camp Meeting (1905)


THE second annual camp-meeting for the Alberta mission field was held at Wetoskiwin (sic), July 4-10, 1905, Brethren R. A. Underwood and J. S. James, of the Northern Union Conference, with the laborers in this field, were present. The camp was pleasantly located in the suburbs of Wetoskiwin, which is a place of about three thousand people. The weather was good, and conditions were favorable to the meeting. There were about ninety persons encamped on the ground; this was nearly double the number of last year.

The Word was spoken with freedom and power, and while there was no excitement, the Spirit of God came near to convince of sin, and to instruct in the way of righteousness.

Last year, we had only two family tents, and one meeting tent, twenty-four by thirty-six feet in size, besides a few tents brought in by the campers. This year, we had a new meeting tent, thirty by fifty-two feet, four new family tents, and a book tent, besides the tents brought by the campers. Services were conducted in the English, Scandinavian, and German languages. While the outside attendance was not large, it kept increasing, and some seemed much interested.

On Sabbath Brother Henry Block was ordained to the gospel ministry, and on Sunday eight willing souls were buried with Christ in baptism, and some others who desired baptism had to return home, on account of sickness, before it could be administered.

The following items from the secretary's report will be of interest, as it shows something of the work for the past year: Tithe received from the field, $1,128.71; tithe received from the Northern Union Conference, $773.15. To pay the last audit of the laborers in the field will require about three hundred dollars, more from the union conference. The retail value of books, tracts, and periodicals sold during the year was $1,296.47; total amount of offerings to various funds outside of the mission field, $245.28." The tract society has a stock of books on hand valued at $232.06 (wholesale), with bills payable $123.72, and bills receivable $202.86, making the present worth of the society $311.20.

This may not seem large to some, but when we remember that it is less than two years since we organized our society, with no capital to start with, and only about one hundred and seventy- five Sabbath-keepers in the field, and all poor in this world's goods, we feel to thank God that so much has been accomplished.

The General Conference kindly gave us two hundred and fifty dollars this spring, which has supplied us with a good typewriter, and helped to pay for our tents, so that we are out of debt, and have tents enough for present needs.

The mission field officers remain the same as last year, with the addition of two lay members to the committee. Elder A. C. Anderson and Brother Shelstead remained to follow up the interest. After the camp-meeting I accompanied Brethren Underwood and James to Edmonton, to inspect the sanitarium that is being started by Brother Hommel. It is small, but neat, and in a good part of the city, and is receiving a fair patronage ; we hope they will be able to keep things moving without incurring debt.

July 14-17 we held meetings at Leavings, where we had the pleasure of organizing a church of twenty-five members, ordaining an elder and a deacon, also baptizing nine of the youth and children; several others will follow soon.

We feel to thank and praise God for his continued love, and take courage to go forward in the work.


J. W. Boynton. “Alberta”. Review and Herald. August 3, 1905. V82-31. P. 16



1. The Alberta Mission came under the Northern Union Conference in the first few years of the work there.

2. Wetoskiwin is now spelled Wetaskiwin. Did the spelling change or was this a mistake? Seems to be a mistake, though not without precedent.

3. Conviction without excitement.

4. Services conducted in three languages: English, Scandinavian, and German. What is Scandinavian?

5. Henry Block is ordained. Alberta's first SDA minister?

6. A sanitarium started in Edmonton. What became of this?

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Alberta's First Camp Meeting (1904)


THE first camp-meeting for this territory was held at Leduc, July 12-17, and was indeed a blessed occasion.(1) This field had only two workers—Brother J. W. Boynton for the English, and the writer (H. Block) for the Germans; so the Lord sent Brother A. C. Anderson for the Scandinavian work.(2) Brother R. A. Underwood, president of the Northern Union Conference, and Brother C. J. Kunkel were also present at the meeting.

Different nationalities were in attendance, and some of them expressed themselves as Peter did on the Mount of Transfiguration, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." At the close of the meeting four candidates were baptized, the first fruit of this occasion.(3)

On the 1st of August I took the train south to Calgary, where I had labored before. The Lord still works in the hearts of the people there. August 21 was set as the date for baptism. Now these Germans from Russia never had seen baptism, and they had different ideas about it. Some thought we would let the candidates down from the bridge into the water by a rope; others supposed that I would take water out of the river, and sprinkle it on their heads; and some thought I would baptize three times under. But they were all anxious to see the position of the godfather and godmother. I placed a little table on the river bank, near the bridge, and took for a text Matt. 10:32-38.(4)

The Lord blessed the sermon, so much that some gave up the sprinkling of their children, and took their stand for the truth right there. Some of them had designed to have children christened the next Sunday, but did not appear with them. Three dear souls were baptized, two of them between sixty and seventy years old, and one thirty-seven. There were more than four hundred people present.(5) After the baptism, we celebrated the ordinances of feet-washing and the Lord's Supper.(6) Some of the German leaders wanted to see us celebrate these ordinances, so they went with us, and there the Lord blessed again. They went home very much pleased, and said to their brethren, "This is the truth, and we have to follow this way just the same, if we want to be saved."(7)


(1) I wonder where the meeting site was.

(2) Note the need of workers who speak the language. Today we would point this out for French and the languages of the North, the Inuit.

(3) Four people baptized at this first camp meeting.

(4) Interesting summary of baptismal practices or expectations.

(5) Four hundred people present: This would have been quite an event for the Calgary area.

(6) I wonder how common this practice was; of having the ordinances at a baptism.

(7) What do you think of the theology of this? Is it necessary for salvation to practice the ordinances a certain way?

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