A Century in Retrospect - James Gunn
- 1 Title
- 2 Forward by Donald B. Moffatt
- 3 Acknowledgments (by the author)
- 4 Index
- 5 Psalm 100
- 6 Chapter One - "My Name Shall Be There"
- 7 Chapter Two - "In My Name"
- 8 Chapter Three - "Abounding in the Work"
- 9 Chapter Four - "Feed My Sheep"
- 10 Chapter Five- "Sent Forth"
- 11 Chapter Six - "Hazarded Lives"
- 12 Chapter Seven - "Messengers of the Churches"
- 13 Chapter Eight - "Gather Together"
(The Stone of Help)"Hitherto hath the Lord Helped us" - 1 Samuel 7:12
Forward by Donald B. Moffatt
Twenty-five years ago (1949) James Gunn was responsible for the preparation of a booklet celebrating the Seventh-Fifth Anniversary of the founding of the MacNab Street Assembly. It is most fitting that, in this book, he has undertaken the task of recording the history of this Assembly during the last one hundred years.
Over a year has been spent in research and in writing. The gratifying results are evident in the pages which follow. That he has been able to accomplish this while recovering his strength from a serious operation and while engaged in a busy schedule of meetings is remarkable.
James Gunn has given over fifty years to the service of his Lord. First as a missionary to Venezuela, then in most of the major centres in Canada and the United States. He has authored a number of books. Since its inception he has been the editor of Ministry in Focus, a monthly magazine devoted to the edifying of God's people.
The Assembly, now meeting in the West Fifth Bible Chapel, wishes to express to our brother our deep appreciation. We recognize that he has spent hundreds of hours in preparing this book. We are grateful to him and to the Lord for enabling grace.
The Assembly, now meeting in the West Fifth Bible Chapel, wishes to express to our brother our deep appreciation. We recognize that he has spent hundreds of hours in preparing this book. We are grateful to him and to the Lord for enabling grace.
The cover design is by Ruth Ter Smitte who also did the layout and prepared all the material up to the printing stage. Our sister expended much time and labour in this project and her efforts are greatly appreciated. Acknowledgement is also due to Janice Agnew, Sharon Grant, Liz Johnson and Janice Kirk who helped prepare the copy and assisted in proof reading. We are confidence that this record of the Lord's faithfulness to one of His Churches is for His glory.
"Jehovah is good; His loving kindness is forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."
It must be apparent to the reader that in a work of this kind materials have been gathered from many sources. It is therefore fitting that credit be given to these, and that sincere gratitude be expressed to all who have contributed information or suggestions.
We are grateful for the records found in the former Hamilton Herald, the Hamilton Spectator, The Witness, The Barley Cake, and Our Record. Quotations have been taken also from the biographies of Donald Munro, Donald Ross and T.D.W. Muir. Help has been received from the offices of Echoes of Service, Bath, England, and Food for the Flock Inc., Toronto, Canada.
Thanks are due to: Mrs. George Bentley, Fred Cameron, Mrs. Guy Cesar, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Grant, Mrs. W. Joyce, David Kirk, Mr. E. Little, Donald Moffatt, Mrs. A. Petrie, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Price, Mrs. Louise taylor, Mrs. Thomas Telfer, and Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Thomson. Should inadvertently some be forgotten to whom credit is due, we ask their indulgence and pardon.
- Chapter One - "My Name Shall Be There" - An Introduction
- Chapter Two - "In My Name" - The beginning of the MacNab Assembly
- Chapter Three - "Abounding in the Work" - Developments and the occupancy at 140 MacNab St. North
- Chapter Four - "Feed My Sheep" - Deacons, Elders and Spiritual gifts.
- Chapter Five - "Sent Forth" - Home workers commended by MacNab Assembly.
- Chapter Six - "Hazarded Lives" - Missionaries commended by MacNab Assembly.
- Chapter Seven - "Messengers of the Churches" - Spiritual gifts from elsewhere.
- Chapter Eight - "Gather Together" - History of annual conferences.
- Chapter Nine - "The Little Children" - A survey of the Sunday School.
- Chapter Ten - "The Word of God Prevailed" - New assemblies arising from MacNab.
- Chapter Eleven - "Women of Stirred Hearts" - The Sewing Class.
- Chapter Twelve - "Divinely Led" - The entire property is finally secured.
- Chapter Thirteen - "They Strengthened Their Hands" - West Fifth Chapel is completed.
- Chapter Fourteen - "Doing the Will of God" - Assembly activities resume and expanded.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
Chapter One - "My Name Shall Be There"
"That Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which Thou hast said, My name shall be there; that Thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant shall make toward this place". (1 Kings 8:29).
The City of Hamilton, called the Pittsburgh of Canada, throughout former years contributed much to the advancement of "Upper Canada", that area now known as Southern Ontario. This it certainly did for the development of the Niagara Peninsula. The City derived its name from the son of a Presbyterian minister, Robert Hamilton of Dumfries, Scotland. This son, Robert, came to Canada about 1770. He settled first at Carlton and Kingston, but in 1784 he moved to the Niagara district. There he established a business.
In those early days there was a trading post for the Indians at what is known as Dundurn Park (home to Dundurn Castle). Robert Hamilton supplied the manager with the goods that were used in trading. In 1813 George, Robert's son, purchased land nearby, part of which was a farm that lay between what at present are called James and Wellington Streets. Later he had all this property surveyed as a township and gave it his name, Hamilton. About 1820 a young lawyer, Allen Napier MacNab, purchased a large tract of land. Here he built the distinguished castle, and called it after his ancestral home, Dundurn on Loch Earn, Perthshire, Scotland.
In the early years of expansion two names of this illustrious Scotsman were given to streets in Hamilton, Napier and MacNab Streets. To many of God's people scattered over Canada, the United States and, in fact, over the world, the names Hamilton and MacNab came to bear a spiritual import as well as a historical significance.
Since the beginning of this century there has stood on MacNab Street, Hamilton, a testimony to the Lord Jesus. The assembly there was to many a place of spiritual fellowship and edification. For many years, at annual conference time, the question frequently asked among the saints of God who gathered in Christian simplicity was, "Are you going to the MacNab conference at Hamilton this year?"
One of our poets wrote, "Change and decay in all around I see". While most changes do arise from deterioration, many result in progressive improvement. This has happened to the assembly on MacNab Street. In most large cities residential areas either deteriorate or move to the perimeter, urban areas being reserved more for commercial and professional buildings. Eventually it became necessary for the assembly on MacNab Street to move elsewhere. Spiritual roots had penetrated deeply. There had been so many sacred, precious experiences in that Gospel Hall. To move seemed sacrilegious, but with time, the move became imperative.
In spite of fears and doubts, after deep exercise of heart and much prayer, it became obvious that the Lord was directing. To some it was clear that a move to a more suitable neighborhood would be for the furtherance of the work of the Lord. They also felt that God's glory should be the only objective in such a move.
Naturally the assembly wanted to locate in a congenial residential community. Consequently they searched over the mountain district, the summit of the Niagara escarpment. Some of the Christians in fellowship were already living there. In a miraculous way the property on West Fifth Street was made available. Here the new spacious building was erected, and on Wednesday, March 4, 1970, the assembly took possession. It was soon apparent that God, who had been with the work in the Gospel Hall, MacNab Street, was still with His beloved people in the Gospel Chapel, 440 West Fifth Street. The presence of the Lord is not in anywise localized.
Because of the better facilities in the new premises, new activities were instituted and old ones continued. God's power was manifested in numerous ways. The saints were encouraged, and their progressive program is bearing fruit.
Chapter Two - "In My Name"
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
The name Fenton is probably not known by most of the Christians in this generation in Hamilton. Nevertheless all the assemblies in this highly industrialized area have received from William Fenton and his wife a rich spiritual heritage. We do not know much about this brother but apparently he was a business man. T.D.W. Muir makes reference in his "Reminiscences" to being in Mr. Fenton's office.
This beloved brother and his wife frequently conducted evangelistic services in the Gore Park, a beauty spot in the centre of the city planned and donated by George Hamilton.
During the rebellion led by William Lyon MacKenzie in 1837, Col. MacNab mustered in Hamilton a force of 100 men known in history as the Men of Gore. These brave men helped to crush the insurrection. Mr. and Mrs. Fenton were the Christians of Gore who preached the work of peace, the blessings offered to man through the work of Christ on the cross. Mrs. Fenton had a sweet singing voice with which she attracted the people and Mr. Fenton preached the gospel.
It was their usual custom to invite any who were interested in spiritual matters to come to their home. There they would show them the way of life or teach them the ways of the Lord for His beloved people.
One night a young man, John Carnie, recently arrived from Aberdeen, Scotland, accepted the invitation. It was soon evident that the guest had a deeper knowledge of the things of God than did his hosts. He taught them "Church Truths" as he had learned them from God in the Old Land.
Whether before or after he arrived it is difficult to sy, but on June 14, 1874, a few Christians met in the Fenton home, Catharine Street North, to partake of the Lord's Supper. On the suggestion of John Carnie two evangelists were invited to come to Hamilton for a special effort in the gospel. Soon two brethren, Donald Munro and John Smith arrived. They immediately began preaching on street corners and in homes. Later a hall was rented which was located on the north side of King near MacNab Street.
After several weeks without seeing any evident results, the evangelists decided to leave. Notwithstanding, God had other intentions, for before their last meeting ended, three young men were saved. We shall allow the first of these, T.D.W. Muir, to tell the whole story here.
"Two nights later (that is, after the first meeting he had attended), I faced the same question (The question was a large sign behind the platform: 'Friend, Thou art traveling to Eternity: To an everlasting Heaven or, to an endless Hell! WHICH?'), this time to acknowledge that I was a sinner, and dying as I was would perish forever, but John 3:36 was being quoted from the platform, so I looked away from self and sin, and found peace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who on Calvary died for my sins according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3).
Seated by my side was a young man with whom I was slightly acquainted, William L. Faulknor. Like myself he had been invited to come and hear these men and their plain, decisive way of preaching the gospel. Turning to him, I asked, 'William, have you everlasting life?' 'No' was his reply, 'but I want it. Have you got it?' 'Yes,' I gladly answered, 'I received Christ as my Saviour a few minutes ago, and I know I have everlasting life, for His word has said it!' A few minutes later dear William Faulknor also trusted Christ. On a seat behind us sat my brother (Kenneth Muir) who unknown to us was also in soul anxiety. he too closed in with God's offer of salvation, and became a child of God through faith in Christ."
The preachers who had intended leaving the city promptly unpacked their valises.
The tiny assembly that had been meeting in Mr. Fenton's home eventually moved into a small rented hall on the second story of a building on King Street West. The saints remained in this location for approximately two years (1874-1876).
Here they saw much blessing, but they likewise experienced troubles. When God is at work one might well expect the evil one to oppose. There is an entry in Mr. Muir's diary dated Wednesday, April 19th, 1876, which reads: "Left Stratford for home. Arrived at noon, somewhat tired and with a sore throat. Saw Fenton at night and had a talk with him. The believers have had a sore trial here. Satan is trying to cause division among them."
From the first little hall the assembly moved into a larger one on the second story of a building which stood at the corner of Merrick and MacNab Streets.
Fourteen years of happy fellowship and service were spent there. Once more because of God's blessing in the growth of the assembly, it became necessary to find more spacious premises. The Treble Hall, known to many as the Larkin Hall, was rented. This hall was situated on the third story of a building at the corner of John Street near King East.
It has been said that the growth of a church, generally speaking, is in proportion to its missionary outreach. During the years spent in this hall the MacNab Street assembly proved itself to be a modern Thessalonica. Of her it could be said, "From you sounded out the Word of the Lord." In this, the Larkin Hall, the Duffs of China were married, and from it, they and Anne Lucas went forth to serve the Lord in the needy Orient.
Chapter Three - "Abounding in the Work"
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58)."
A hall three stories above street level is not the most attractive centre for evangelistic efforts. The elderly find it difficult to climb so many stairs, and the unconverted usually refuse.
The growth of the assembly and its various activities in the gospel required a more suitable location. It was under these conditions that the assembly first became interested in a vacant (African/Caribbean-American) Baptist Church that stood on MacNab Street.
The congregation in the Baptist Church had experienced reverses and difficulties which sadly impaired its financial status. It had been unable for many months to pay on either the principal or the interest of the mortgage upon its property.
Just when and under what agreement the assembly moved into this building is not on record, but as will be seen they were occupying these premises before the mortgage company assumed the right to secure its equity in the property. A comparison of dates leads to the conclusion, whether correct or otherwise, that this was a period of nearly four years.
On January 14, 1904, the land and building were sold to Mr. W.A. Wilson, one of the elders in the Hamilton assembly. He was declared the highest bidder at the auction, and thereby because the purchaser at the price of $1635.00.
There seems to be a discrepancy between the document submitted by the auctioneer and the agreement made later between brother Wilson and the brethren representing the assembly. According to this latter document the property was purchased for the sum of $1400.00. $400.00 was paid in cash and a mortgage of $1000.00 covered the balance.
Brother Wilson's worthy act led to a very agreeable and generous arrangement with the assembly. The agreement in part reads: "Whereas the Lessor purchased the property herein after mentioned, known as Gospel Hall, on his own behalf and for his own use, but his intention in buying was that the said premises should be rented to said Lessees for a meeting house for the congregation of Christians commonly known as Open Brethren, who have for a short time prior to the purchase by the Lessor of the said premises, and subsequently thereto, been occupying the said premises as such a meeting house: The Lessees to hold the said terms and premises for the use of the said congregation, but the said Lessees are to be personally and individually liable to the Lessor for the Covenants and stipulations hereinafter contained."
Another paragraph of this interesting document reads: "Yielding and paying therefore, yearly and every year during the said term granted, unto the said Lessor the clear yearly rental or sum of One Hundred and Twenty Dollars ($120.00) to be payable on the following days of each month in each and every year during the continuance of the said term, without any deduction, defalcation or abatement whatsoever; the first of such payments to be made on the first day of July, A.D. 1904."
the representatives of the Hamilton assembly who entered into this agreement with brother Wilson were as follows: Peter Carroll, William Duncan, George Nunn, C. Maddison, Albert Marks, Arthur Thomas, Robert Patterson, Charles Carter, and Edgar Mortimer.
It should be added that brother Wilson was himself an elder in the assembly.
On January 12, 1912, brother Wilson prepared his will and testament, part of which reads: "It is my wish and desire notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained that the property now owned by me, and commony known as Gospel Hall, Number 140 MacNab Street North, and now leased to me as a place of worship to the congregation or assembly of Christians now occupying the same, and of which I am a member, shall not be disposed of during the lifetime of my wife, unless it shall be absolutely necessary to do so for her support and maintenance."
"In the event of said Gospel Hall not being disposed of during the lifetime of my said wife, I direct my said Trustees after her death to convey and assure the same to the following persons: William Duncan, Peter Carroll, John Moreland, James Saynor, Arthur Thomas, Albert Marks, Angus Munro, Robert Patterson, John Anderson and Alfred Best in trust for the said assembly or congregation of Christians, upon terms and conditions usually set forth in Trust Deeds of church property. But I expressly will and declare that such Trust Deed shall contain a provision to the effect that if at any time the said assembly or congregation of Christians shall be dissolved or cease to meet together for the purpose of worship, or to maintain the doctrines now held by them, the said property shall be disposed of, and the proceeds paid over to the Christian Missions whose head office is at Bath, England, and who are the publishers of a pamphlet known as "Echoes of Service".
Both Mr. and Mrs. Wilson survived the demolition of the old church building and the erection of the more attractive and commodious Gospel Hall which occupied the site, 140 MacNab Street, for many years. It is certain that an arrangement must have been made between brother Wilson and the representatives of the assembly in regard to the ownership of the property. It is regretted that no such recorded transaction has been found.
It is quite evident that Mr. Wilson was willing and ready to make whatever agreement was considered necessary to sustain the assembly in Hamilton and to further the testimony for God there.
"To do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (Heb. 13:16).
Chapter Four - "Feed My Sheep"
"Feed the flock of God which is among you taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind" (1 Peter 5:2).
From the inception of the MacNab Street Assembly, it has maintained the biblical autonomy of a local church gathered in the name of the Lord Jesus. The elders have always believed that they were responsible only to the Risen Head of the Church, Christ, and that they had to be submissive to His absolute Lordship.
The Lord's people soon learned that for the proper functioning and the perpetuation of the testimony, God had fitted two groups of men. The first group was for administrative purposes; the second, especially for the ministry of the Word of God. Those for the administration are called in the New Testament elders and deacons; those for the ministry of the Word, gifts of the Holy Spirit. It should be noted that in Scripture there are synonymous terms for elders; namely, overseers, presbyters and bishops. It should be also noted that there are both deacons and deaconesses in the local church (1 Tim. 3:8-13, Rom. 16:1-4). It is generally believed that the elders actually care for the spiritual welfare of the people of God, the deacons and the deaconesses, the temporal requirements of the congregation.
God has throughout the years graciously provided MacNab Street Assembly with both splendid leadership by overseers and excellent ministry by spiritual gifts.
Many names could be added to the list of elders given in the preceding chapter, bringing it up to recent times. There always have been spiritual men who have manifested a deep interest in the progress of the assembly, men who willingly have given their time and talents for God's people. It would be difficult to single out any elder during the century who had been more dutiful and sacrificial than the others. Many many hours have been expended shepherding the sheep of Christ's pastures. These have ascended to God the Father as offerings of a sweet savour.
Many are the activities fo the elders. Among these is the very essential work embraced by the familiar name "The Correspondent of the Assembly". From a purely technical point this is the work of a secretary, but in the assembly of God it is not a matter of filling an office but rather a work demanding fidelity, reliability, and ability both spiritual and secular.
Surely brethren engaged in such services deserve the love, esteem and co-operation of everyone in the assembly.
In His vigilant care for the saints at MacNab Street Assembly, Hamilton, Ontario, God has provided from the earliest days men, who according to the measure of grace divinely given, have accomplished this particular duty. Some of these brethren have fallen asleep. Their names are remembered and revered by many. Some of these are still with us, and we love them for their works' sake.
The first Correspondent and Treasurer was Mr. James Muir, father of T.D.W. Muir. He was followed by Mr. Fenton in whose home the assembly had first gathered for its meetings. A little later Mr. Abraham Mullings fulfilled this ministry. He was succeeded by Mr. John E. Taylor. Mr. William Wilson continued this work and acted as correspondent for a number of years and then turned this work over to Mr. William Duncan who acted in this capacity for about twenty years, Mr. Albert Marks then carried on the work for another twenty years, until in broken health he was forced to discontinue. Our brother John Moreland then assumed the ministry of Correspondent, but enlisted the service of brother Guy Cesar as Treasurer. After several years brother Moreland gave his share of the work over to Mr. John Anderson. Brother Anderson filled the post for a few months until brother Guy Cesar undertook the service of Correspondent in the year 1945. He continued to serve in this capacity until he became ill in 1966. At the present (1974) Mr. Gordon Thomson is the assembly Correspondent.
In 1939 a special Correspondent-Treasurer was chosen to forward funds to the Lord's servants in foreign countries. Brother Anthony Price was the one selected for the first year; after all this time, he is still fulfilling this Epaphroditus assignment.
Chapter Five- "Sent Forth"
"When they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed" (Acts 13:3-4).
Not only was the MacNab Street assembly supported by capable elders and ministers of the Word of God, but the Lord raised up through it gifted men who preached the gospel and taught the truth of God in a much wider sphere, a sphere continental and worldwide.
Since there are several who merit honorable mention, it might be better to consider first of all those who were called to serve the Lord here at home, in English-speaking countries.
The earliest of such gifted men was T.D.W. Muir. It will be remembered that he was the first convert in connection with this history that we are tracing. He was saved under the preaching of Donald Munro and John Smith.
Mr. Muir at the early age of 29 was giving his whole time to making the gospel known. Shortly after his conversion, he began preaching the gospel throughout southern Ontario and rural parts of Michigan.
God used brother Muir to establish assemblies at Straffordville, Ontario; Detroit, Michigan and other places. However, he eventually settled in Detroit. In that city he spent the major part of his life in building a work for God. He labored incessantly to establish the testimonies in his adopted city and throughout the surrounding rural district. He traveled extensively teaching the ways of the Lord. In spite of his many activities in preaching, teaching, writing and counseling, he occasionally returned to Hamilton where he was always welcome. When here he worked for the edification of the people of God.
Another beloved brother commended by the MacNab Assembly to the ministry of the gospel here at home was T.G. Wilkie. A Memorial Booklet prepared at the time of his home going in 1965 contains a comment by one who really appreciated him, "Only God would mould a Thomas G. Wilkie".
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he immigrated to Canada in 1910. At the first he settled in Toronto, but eventually moved to Hamilton. Here in 1912, God reached and saved him. Through the influence of a Christian fellow-workman he was brought to the assembly. There the practical simplicity toward Christ deeply impressed him, and shortly after this observation he was received into the full fellowship of the saints. His zeal, loyalty and Christian piety soon endeared him to all the believers.
It finally became apparent that the Lord was entrusting to him abilities for extensive duties. This not only deeply exercised him but the elders as well. In 1919 it became obvious to the assembly that the Lord was indicating, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me." He therefore was commended to the grace of God and went forth to his life of service and sacrifice. From that time on he expended himself in the work of the Lord. Early in his experience he went with brother Albert Joyce to Grand Bend. There the Lord blessed their labors in a singular manner. Many were saved and guided in the believers' pathway. Eventually a hall was built and the assembly formed.
Tom Wilkie was primarily an evangelist and he used effectively the wonderful gift he had received from the Risen Head of the Church among both adults and children. his activities took him from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the West Coast. When he, by the grace of God, had served his own generation, on March 16, 1965, he fell asleep in Jesus. He is now among the blessed who rest from their labors and whose works follow them.
Harold Greene who is devoting his life to the Best of Masters was commended to the grace of God and the ministry of the gospel jointly by the MacNab Street Assembly, Hamilton, Ontario and the 86th Street Assembly, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. (The latter assembly in Chicago is presently (2021) known as the Palos Hills Christian Assembly).
His first sphere of service was at Nashville, Tennessee, where he spent a number of years preaching the gospel and seeking to edify the people of God. More recently our brother has been conducting a radio ministry and doing pastoral work in Missouri as well as considerable itinerant preaching farther afield. Harold Greene, his wife and family live in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. (Note: Harold, alongside John Phelan, founded the Nashville Gospel Chapel, which is honored as one that is multi-ethnic, with dozens of nationalities therein. He later founded an assembly in Cape Girardeau that presently functions as an independent church, Hal's son has served in pastoral ministry here for many years as well).
Chapter Six - "Hazarded Lives"
"Chosen men... that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:25-26).
One of the first converts during the gospel effort by Donald Munro and John Smith, in the very early days, was William L. Faulknor. He was saved the same night as T.D.W. Muir, and like brother Muir, he dedicated his enitre life to the work of the Lord on both the home and foreign fields.
In the spring of 1887, just a few years after the assembly in Hamilton had been founded, brother Faulknor sailed for Africa, and in May of that year he joined brother Swan in Bihe. Brother Swan had left England in 1886, but it was Dec. 16th of 1887 before the young recruits reached Fredrick Arnot in Garenganze. Bro. Arnot had been living alone for some considerable time so, needless to say, the two younger brethren were very welcome indeed. Early the following year, brother Arnot left brother Swan and brother Faulknor to carry on the work while he returned to Britain for a much needed change and rest. For them it was a time of sowing, not reaping; that came later.
Humanly speaking it was a disappointment to all that during this time brother Faulknor took ill, an illness that weakened him and made him susceptible to one of the native diseases. From this malady he suffered greately but was tenderly nursed by his co-worker. Finally, deplorable as it may seem to man, he was forced to leave Africa. How difficult under such circumstances to say, "The will of the Lord be done."
After some recuperation in the Old Land, he sailed for America and settled at Pomona, California. He continued for a number of years to give himself wholeheartedly to the service of the gospel, particularly on the West Coast, but on May 30, 1908, the Lord called him home. The immediate cause of his death was a tumor on the brain. It is recorded by some of his colleagues that his beloved and esteemed servant of the Lord left behind him in Britain, Canada, Africa and the United States, a very sweet savor of Christ. How true! Man proposes, but God disposes!
While the assembly was still meeting in the Larkin Hall at the corner of John and King Streets, the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Duff was performed. It is regrettable that the date of this happy occasion is not known. Shortly after their marriage this young couple felt called of God to go to China with the gospel. The records available of the period of time they spent there are very scanty, but it is known that they arrived in that needy country some time late in 1891. There is also published evidence that Miss Annie L. Lucas went with them. Probably here exercise was stimulated by the example of Mr. and Mrs. Duff.
There are difficulties in tracing any communication from them back to friends in Hamilton. Notwithstanding, there are a few letters from them in the only assembly missionary magazine of that time, Echoes of Service.
Henry Fletcher was born in Hamilton in 1895. His mother was a devout Christian and brought him and the other members of her family up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a result of her prayers and influence, he was saved when he was 13 years of age.
Henry grew up in the MacNab Street Assembly where he enjoyed the fellowship of saints and joined in the many activities. He taught a Sunday School class, distributed Christian literature and engaged in open-air work in the small towns and villages surrounding Hamilton.
In later years he used to relate how he responded to the urgings of the Lord in regard to Christian service in the foreign field:
"I had much interest in Venezuela for I knew of the labors of such brethren as Mitchell, Crane, Adams, Johnston and others." He also used to assert quite forcefully: "A point in life was eventually reached when in my bedroom before the Lord a complete surrender was made. Although I felt poor, weak and worthless in myself, I was ready for any service He might indicate."
In 1916 Henry was commended to the work of the Lord by the assembly on MacNab Street. He went immediately to Venezuela and four years later married Miss Agnes Renwick of Galt, Ontario. Together they labored to spread the gospel and founded assemblies in Duaca and Valencia.
About 1929 our brother became exercised about the deep spiritual need of Puerto Rico. Consequently the Fletchers moved there in 1930. Through their effort the assembly in San Turce was established and a small hall was built. The Fletchers remained there until 1941 when because of health they were forced to return to Canada, brother Fletcher continued to serve the Lord and the beloved people in Canada and the United States until he was called to higher service on May 17, 1968.
The appropriateness making mention of Donald Cox in this section of the assembly history must be obvious to all. True, he has not gone abroad to a distant land, but he and his family had to learn another language, French. They had also to master, at least to a considerable degree, another culture; this can be very difficult for some. While [[Quebec] is neighbor to Ontario, it presents some of the problems of a foreign country to one who knows only the English language and culture.
In 1958 Donald Cox was commended to the work of the Lord in Quebec jointly by the assemblies in MacNab Street, Hamilton, Ontario, and 86th Street, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. For fourteen years our brother has diligently served the Lord in Drummondville. After these many years in that city, our brother became exercised before the Lord to move to the Gaspe Peninsula. He now lives in Ste-Anne-des-Monts, Gaspe Nord, Quebec. This is some four hundred miles north of his former home. In this northern area there is ample scope for pioneering. There are numerous towns and villages surrounding Ste-Anne-des-Monts, and in these some contacts have been made through radio and television ministry. A deep concern of our brother is that there are no French assemblies throughout the Gaspe Peninsula.
Chapter Seven - "Messengers of the Churches"
"They are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love" (II Cor. 8:23-24).
That the Lord has sustained the MacNab assembly by efficient administration and by the ministry of spiritual gifts, which he has developed locally, has been fully demonstrated. He also has supplemented these services and ministries by using other servants of Christ who, from elsewhere, have taken up residence in the Hamilton area. These beloved brethren, although establishing their homes in the City, continued their itinerant ministry among the assemblies in Canada and the United States.
One of the earliest of these, if not the earliest, was Joseph Douglas. This brother was born in Limivady, Ireland, on July 13, 1869. In youth, before God saved him, he was pursuing the necessary education to become an attorney at law, but he eventually dismissed this objective and immigrated to the United States where he took up residence in Detroit, Michigan. There he learned from T.D.W. Muir the ways of the Lord more perfectly and some years later was commended to full time work for God by the Central Assembly, Detroit. He was not very robust, but when cautioned by the doctor to take things more easily, he replied, "How can I when there is so much to do?" he literally wore himself out in the service of the Lord.
From Detroit he moved to Newbury, Ontario, and from there to Hamilton where his presence and ministry were a benefit to the MacNab Assembly. Because of the condition of Mrs. Douglas' health, he was forced to move back to Detroit so that his wife, who suffered from severe paralysis, might be with her sisters. Although he was probably only two years in Hamilton, he became well known and greatly loved and highly respected.
While visiting back in Newbury, he contracted pneumonia and passed home to be with the Lord on November 28, 1904, at 36 years of age. In the copy of Our Record for the month that followed, T.D.W. Muir wrote in the obituary: "Another of those who can be so ill be spared has gone from us, to be with the Lord... The family took the remains to Hamilton for burial, where brethren D. Munro and W.P. Douglas (no relative) spoke the word."
Among the church notices in the Hamilton Herald, April 18, 1914, a newspaper long since discontinued, there is an insertion which reads: "Christians gathered unto the name of the Lord Jesus Christ meet at the Gospel Hall, 140 MacNab Street North. Lord's Day: Breaking of Bread, 11:00 a.m., Sunday School and Bible Class, 2:45 p.m. Mr. Robert McCrory from Ulster and Mr. George Duncan from Cleveland will preach at 3:45 and 7:00 p.m."
This apparently was the announcement of brother McCrory's first visit to the City, he later adopted as his home. He had immigrated to Canada in 1910, but in 1914 moved from the Maritime Provinces to Hamilton. There he resided until 1961 when, after the passing of his wife, he returned to Ireland. There he went home to be with the Lord in October, 1964.
It was written of him: "He was a man of the Book and ever sought to expound its meaning. When conflicting influences would have divided, and in some parts did, the assemblies, he firmly attested to the supreme authority of the Holy Scriptures in ALL MATTERS OF church administration. When amillenarian doctrine was being propagated among some of the assemblies, distressing the minds of God's people, his clear teaching on the doctrine of the imminent return of the Lord preserved in many hearts the living hope of the soon return of the heavenly bridgegroom."
Brother David Kirk a fellow-countryman of Robert McCrory, also started his service in Canada in the Maritime Provinces, but eventually moved to Hamilton, Ontario. He was on a visit to Ireland at the time of brother McCrory's final illness and death. Brother Kirk was able to visit him and along with Robert Wright formerly of Japan, he conducted the funeral services.
Brother Kirk was reared in Belfast, Ireland, and as a youth found all the needs of his heart in the Ebenezer Assembly of that City. In it he was saved, baptized, received into church fellowship, and from that assembly in August of 1931, he was commended, in a full time capacity to the work of the Lord in Canada. He lived and labored from the time of his arrival until 1942 principally in the Maritime Provinces, but that year he moved to Stirling, Ontario. During the years he lived there his service for the Lord expanded to a wider sphere of ministry. Finally, in 1948, our brother came and settled in Hamilton, and ever since has been in intimate fellowship in the MacNab, now the West Fifth Assembly. His presence and his ministry are a blessing to the saints in the assembly.
It is appropriate that brother Donald Moffatt be mentioned in this chapter. He has given many years of his life to the dissemination of the truth of God. He labored for years in Newfoundland, Canada, and while there founded the radio broadcast, Family bible Hour. This broadcast, of which he is still a director, today is heard in many parts of the world. It has brought life and instruction to large numbers of listeners, both saved and unsaved.
After brother Moffatt left Newfoundland, he spent some years on the Pacific Coast preaching the gospel and ministering God's Word among the assemblies. Eventually he returned east and settled in Hamilton, making MacNab Assembly his home. Although now engaged in secular business, he still spends much time in ministry among assemblies and at conferences. He faithfully serves the West Fifth Assembly with other elders seeking to shepherd the flock of God within which he has located.