- Corporate body
- 29 May 1972
The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (CMAC) is an evangelical denomination rooted in the vision of a Canadian Presbyterian minister, A. B. (Albert Benjamin) Simpson (1843-1919). After serving prestigious pastorates in Louisville KY (1874-1879) and New York City (1879-1881) Simpson left the Presbyterian Church to found a ministry in New York City to “the poor and neglected masses.” The fruit of these labors was the Gospel Tabernacle. Out of the Gospel Tabernacle emerged two fraternal organizations for the promotion of evangelism and “the higher Christian life”: The Christian Alliance, for North American initiatives, and the Evangelical Missionary Alliance (later the International Missionary Alliance) for mission work—both of which began in 1887. That same year, John Salmon founded Bethany Chapel, an independent work along the same lines, in Toronto. Shortly thereafter it became affiliated with the Christian Alliance. By 1889 other what became the first Alliance church in Canada, Bethany Tabernacle, in Toronto. By the 1920s the C&MA had taken root in both the United States and Canada. The best-known figure in the C&MA in the post-Simpson era was A. W. (Aiden Wilson) Tozer (1898-1963), whose devotional writings had an influence far beyond the Alliance.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Canadian C&MA churches began to advocate for autonomy from the American church. At the same time, The Christian and Missionary Alliance wanted its Canadian churches to have a national identity, so it proposed that they be incorporated as a national body. The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada was officially incorporated in Canada on 29 May 1972. It became known as the "Canadian Corporation," and its chief role was to serve as a liaison for Canadian affairs with the Division of North American Ministries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The movement for self-government continued to gain momentum, and autonomy was finally achieved on 1 January 1981. The CMAC established its own missionary sending agency in 1998. The presidents of the denomination to date have been, Melvin P. Sylvester (1981-1992), Arnold Cook (1992-2000), Franklin Pyles (2000-2012), and David Hearn (2012-present). The American C&MA and the CMAC continue to maintain a close collaborative relationship.
The CMAC is committed to: the glory of the triune God, the authority of the Bible, Christ-centred living, the Church, evangelization (both at home and abroad) leadership, strategic cooperation, social responsibility, stewardship, and prayer.
From the beginning, the organization has been fervent about ministry and mission work, both overseas and at home. In the early years, saddle-bag preachers visited homesteads in Western Canada, while evangelists conducted large-scale campaigns in the East. By 1926, there were 23 churches in Canada, and by 2013 at least 430 (including many multicultural congregations), with more than 106,000 adherents. These local churches are organized by geographic region: the Canadian Pacific District (CPD), covering British Columbia and the Yukon; the Western Canadian District (WCD), encompassing Alberta and the Northwest Territories; the Canadian Midwest District (CMD), serving Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the portion of Ontario west of the 90th meridian, and Nunavut; the Central Canadian District (CCD) for Western Ontario; the St. Lawrence District (SLD) for Quebec; and the Eastern Canadian District (ECD), covering eastern Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces. The District Superintendent for each region works with a team to provide churches with resources and guidance “in the areas of church growth, leadership, Christian education, missions conferences, multicultural ministries, pastoral care, and church planting. The district office also oversees the licensing, ordination and supervision of its workers.” Canadian ministries highlight the needs of men, women, youth, children, and multicultural congregations. The CMAC is involved in justice and compassion work in Canada and in dozens of countries around the world.
The need for trained workers led to the establishment of the Western Canadian Bible Institute in Regina in 1941. Currently, most CMAC leaders are trained at one of two affiliated institutions: Ambrose University College, The Christian and Missionary Alliance Bible College and Seminary, in Calgary; or or ÉTEQ (École de théologie évangélique du Québec) a Montreal-based Bible college (a joint venture with the Mennonite Brethren) for workers going into French-speaking communities. In 2004, the international ministries were organized into the Four “S” Ventures: Asian Spice; Caribbean Sun (Central and South America); Desert Sand (the arid Muslim countries of North Africa); and Silk Road (from Turkey to Iran and Tajikistan to northwest China). Canadian Alliance churches are actively involved in supporting their missionaries and ministries both financially and in prayer, aiming to empower all members as emissaries of Christ. The head office of the CMAC is in Toronto.