A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the by Phyllis D. Airhart

By Phyllis D. Airhart

"As Canadian because the maple leaf" is how one observer summed up the United Church of Canada after its founding in 1925. yet was once this Canadian-made church incorrect in its layout, as critics have charged? A Church with the Soul of a kingdom explores this question through weaving jointly the historical past of the United Church with a provocative research of faith and cultural swap. the tale starts off within the aftermath of Confederation, whilst the customers of establishing a Christian country persuaded a gaggle of Congregationalist, Methodist, and Presbyterian leaders to put aside denominational modifications and concentration as a substitute on shared ideals. Phyllis Airhart lines the recent church's fight to avoid wasting its recognition in the course of a sour controversy with dissenting Presbyterians who refused to hitch what they thought of a "creedless" church. Surviving the organizational and theological demanding situations of monetary melancholy and conflict, the way forward for the church appeared vibrant. however the ties among own religion and civic lifestyles that the founders took with no consideration have been quickly tattered by means of the secular cultural hurricane sweeping via western Christendom. The United Church's remaking got here with the belief that making a Christian social order in Canada was once not likely - maybe even bad - in a pluralistic global. A Church with the Soul of a kingdom sheds gentle at the United Church's earlier controversies and current dilemmas through exhibiting how its founding imaginative and prescient either laid the foundation for its accomplishments and intricate its model to the recent global taking shape.

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They would reverse the divisive tendencies of the past by blending inherited insights. They would be united by a common cause and a common faith. With “assimilation” used so positively to describe nation-building, they had little difficulty thinking in similar terms about what they expected to set in motion with church union. Little did they know that their notions of mutual assimilation would someday look as quixotic in hindsight as the seemingly arcane theological quarrels that had once divided them.

W. Sparling of Wesley College in Winnipeg wanted to leave no doubt in young readers’ minds about the enormity of the task facing the churches. S. Woodsworth’s Strangers within Our Gates, a study text for the youth department of the Methodist Missionary Society, he wrote in 1909: “I can with confidence commend this pioneering Canadian work on the subject to the careful consideration of those who are desirous of understanding and grappling with this great national danger. For there is a danger and it is national!

Continuing a trend in the census figures issued ten years earlier was a startling increase in the number of immigrants, many of them speaking neither French nor English. S. 44 1 The strength of the Presbyterian numbers came as a surprise, since the final vote on church union would have projected a lower number relative to the size of the United Church. E. , and an analysis of what he called the “lost battalion,” see Silcox, Church Union in Canada, 438–43. Source: Census of Canada (1931), Table 36.

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A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the by Phyllis D. Airhart
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