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Authority record

Roffe, G. E. (George Edward) 1905-2000

  • Person
  • 1 February 1905-14 September 2000

George Edward "Ed" Roffe was born in Toronto on February 1, 1905. His father was A.W. Roffe, an influential pastor who served as superintendent of the District of Canada for the Christian and Missionary Alliance from 1919 to 1925.

After graduating from McMaster University and Nyack Missionary College, Roffe was appointed by the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) to serve as a missionary in French Indochina. In 1928, while studying in France in preparation for travel to Southeast Asia, he was directed by the C&MA to pioneer a new field among the tribal peoples of northern Laos. In 1929, he became the first resident Protestant missionary in north Laos, settling in the city of Luang Prabang. Soon after, Roffe brought his new bride, and recent Nyack graduate, Thelma Wilhelmine Mole (1907-1999) to live and serve there with him.

While on Furlough during World War II, Ed and Thelma Roffe attended two sessions of Wycliffe’s Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Ed Roffe also took advantage of the delay which the war posed to earn his wings, and upon returning to Laos in 1947 became the first missionary pilot in the area. In addition to their ongoing direct evangelistic efforts and administrative duties, the Roffes were also given the responsibility of running a Bible College tasked with raising up indigenous leaders. In 1950, a young student from this school by the name of Kheng was instrumental in sparking a mass movement among the mountain tribal people of northern Laos, which saw whole villages come to Christ in a matter of days. This revival precipitated the formal incorporation of the national church in northern Laos. The “Evangelical Church of Laos” held its first assembly in 1957, with pastor Saly (the first Laotian ordained by the Alliance) as the first president.

In 1951, the Roffes were transferred to the city of Vientiane. After returning to Laos in 1955 from an extended furlough, during which Ed Roffe was able to complete graduate studies in Linguistics at Cornell University, the Roffes were assigned to engage full time in the ministry of translation and literature. In a ten year period they were able to turn out approximately 100 titles, some of them original. Ed Roffe was eventually freed from his other duties to work exclusively on translating into Lao a new version of the New Testament, complete with cross-references, a glossary, a dictionary of unfamiliar terms and a limited concordance. The completed work was presented to the king of Laos in late 1973.

In 1975, the communists took control of the government in Laos, and the Roffes were forced to leave the country. In all, punctuated only by war and furlough, Ed and Thelma Roffe had labored faithfully in Laos for 47 years. Upon their return to North America (Orlando, FL) their ministry to the people of Laos did not come to an end. In addition to monitoring the situation in Laos, the Roffes actively cared for Laotian refugees in their area and helped many get adjusted to North American life. During his retirement years, Ed Roffe was also actively involved in correcting, editing, or translating various documents sent to him for comment.

Ed Roffe died on 14 September 2000. He was predeceased by Thelma, who died in 1999.

Roffe, Thelma Wilhelmine (1907-1999)

  • Person
  • 1907-1999

Thelma Wilhelmine Roffe was the wife and co-worker of Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary to Laos, G. E. Roffe.

George Edward "Ed" Roffe was born in Toronto on February 1, 1905. His father was A.W. Roffe, an influential pastor who served as superintendent of the District of Canada for the Christian and Missionary Alliance from 1919 to 1925.

After graduating from McMaster University and Nyack Missionary College, Roffe was appointed by the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) to serve as a missionary in French Indochina. In 1928, while studying in France in preparation for travel to Southeast Asia, he was directed by the C&MA to pioneer a new field among the tribal peoples of northern Laos. In 1929, he became the first resident Protestant missionary in north Laos, settling in the city of Luang Prabang. Soon after, Roffe brought his new bride, and recent Nyack graduate, Thelma Wilhelmine Mole (1907-1999) to live and serve there with him.

While on Furlough during World War II, Ed and Thelma Roffe attended two sessions of Wycliffe’s Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Ed Roffe also took advantage of the delay which the war posed to earn his wings, and upon returning to Laos in 1947 became the first missionary pilot in the area. In addition to their ongoing direct evangelistic efforts and administrative duties, the Roffes were also given the responsibility of running a Bible College tasked with raising up indigenous leaders. In 1950, a young student from this school by the name of Kheng was instrumental in sparking a mass movement among the mountain tribal people of northern Laos, which saw whole villages come to Christ in a matter of days. This revival precipitated the formal incorporation of the national church in northern Laos. The “Evangelical Church of Laos” held its first assembly in 1957, with pastor Saly (the first Laotian ordained by the Alliance) as the first president.

In 1951, the Roffes were transferred to the city of Vientiane. After returning to Laos in 1955 from an extended furlough, during which Ed Roffe was able to complete graduate studies in Linguistics at Cornell University, the Roffes were assigned to engage full time in the ministry of translation and literature. In a ten year period they were able to turn out approximately 100 titles, some of them original. Ed Roffe was eventually freed from his other duties to work exclusively on translating into Lao a new version of the New Testament, complete with cross-references, a glossary, a dictionary of unfamiliar terms and a limited concordance. The completed work was presented to the king of Laos in late 1973.

In 1975, the communists took control of the government in Laos, and the Roffes were forced to leave the country. In all, punctuated only by war and furlough, Ed and Thelma Roffe had labored faithfully in Laos for 47 years. Upon their return to North America (Orlando, FL) their ministry to the people of Laos did not come to an end. In addition to monitoring the situation in Laos, the Roffes actively cared for Laotian refugees in their area and helped many get adjusted to North American life. During his retirement years, Ed Roffe was also actively involved in correcting, editing, or translating various documents sent to him for comment.

Ed Roffe died on 14 September 2000. He was predeceased by Thelma, who died in 1999.

Sawin, John Staples (1915-2003)

  • Person
  • 1915-25 November 2003

Dr. John Staples Sawin was born in 1915 in Wakefield, Mass. Sawin graduated from the Missionary Training Institute (now Nyack College) in 1935. He went on to study at Gordon-Conwell College (formerly Gordon College) where he graduated from in 1938, the same year he married Woneta Forest. John Sawin proceeded to pastor churches in Marblehead, Mass., Muncie, Ind., and Cleveland, Ohio during which time he did graduate studies and earned his master of divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He began pastoring Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in 1942. In 1947, John and Woneta left for Vietnam, where they would spend the next 15 years as Alliance missionaries. John Sawin’s responsibilities in Vietnam included active participation in evangelism, church planting, pastoral training, seminary teaching, music, radio and literature. John Sawin also served as pastor of the International Church in Saigon and as an auxiliary chaplain to U.S. service personnel in Southeast Asia. Upon returning to the United States in 1962, Sawin served as professor of Bible and missions at Simpson Bible College in San Francisco (now Simpson College, Redding, Calif.). The Sawins went on from there to lead churches in Washington, D.C., Lombard, Ill., and San Jose, Calif. In 1976, Sawin began a six-year commitment to organize the A. B. Simpson Historical Library and Archives in Nyack, N.Y. He also co-authored All for Jesus: God at Work in the Christian and Missionary Alliance over One Hundred Years (1986), and compiled an extensive collection of the C&MA’s work in Vietnam from 1911 to 1975. From 1983 to 1992, John consulted with Canadian Bible College and Canadian Theological Seminary (CBC/CTS, now Ambrose University College and Canadian Theological Seminary in Calgary, Alta.) to lay the groundwork for the archive collection there. He donated his library and research work to the CBC/CTS archives. For his outstanding service for Christ in the ranks of the C&MA, and his generous and laborious efforts to preserve the history of the C&MA, John Sawin was honored with a doctor of divinity from CTS. He passed away on November 25, 2003.

Simpson, A. B. (Albert Benjamin) 1843-1919

  • Person
  • 15 December 1843-29 October 1919

A. B. Simpson was a pastor, hymn writer, author, educator, and magazine editor who founded The Christian and Missionary Alliance. He was born in Bay View, Prince Edward Island on 15 December 1843 and was baptized in 1844, in the Cavendish (P.E.I.) Presbyterian Church by John Geddie, a Presbyterian missionary. His family moved to Chatham, Ontario in 1847. He was converted in 1858, and in 1861 wrote a "covenant" in which he dedicated himself to God. From 1861 to 1865 he attended Knox College in Toronto. In 1865, after graduating from Knox, Simpson received a call to Knox Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Ont. He accepted the call, and that same year married Margaret Henry (1841-1924), with whom he had six children.

In 1873 he accepted a call to Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The following year he experienced "the baptism of the Holy Ghost" after reading W. E. Boardman's The Higher Christian Life. In 1879 he became pastor of Thirteenth Street Presbyterian Church in New York City. During this pastorate he began editing his own missionary magazine, The Gospel in All Lands, which lasted from February 1880 to October 1881. In 1881 he experienced physical healing from a heart condition and was baptized by immersion. That year, increasingly at odds with his upper-class congregation, he resigned his pastorate in order to devote his ministerial efforts to “the poor and neglected masses.”

His efforts led to the founding of the Gospel Tabernacle in 1882, the same year in which he began publishing The Word the Work and the World, a periodical for the promotion of missions and "the higher Christian life," that later became the official organ of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. By 1883, the newly-incorporated Gospel Tabernacle had grown to the point where it could launch its own missionary sending society, the Missionary Union for the Evangelization of the World. It also opened a "home for Faith and Physical Healing" ( renamed the Berachah Home in 1884) and began the New York Missionary Training College (now Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary) which graduated its first students in 1884. That year the Missionary Union sent out its first missionaries (to what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Simpson organized his first conference for the promotion of evangelism, the deeper life, and missions. The Friday evening services at the conference were dedicated to holiness and physical healing.

Simpson encapsulated his movement's teaching in the phrase "Christ our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King," which became known as "the Fourfold Gospel".

In 1887, he founded the Evangelical Missionary Alliance (EMA). Its major object was "to carry the Gospel 'to all nations', with special reference to the need of the destitute and unoccupied fields." It sought "to unite all Christians of evangelical denominations in its work." The organization’s name was changed to the International Missionary Alliance on its incorporation in November 1887 (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 52-55).

That year he also founded the Christian Alliance as a "fraternal union of believers in cordial harmony with evangelical Christians of every name." It was responsible to hold annual conventions and form local "branches". These were intended as fellowships, not as churches, for the purpose of bearing testimony to the Fourfold Gospel, diffusing its truths, providing community for those who believed them, and praying for the evangelization of the world. (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 48-51).

On 31 March 1897, the boards of the two organizations authorized a merger; it was made law on 1 April 1897 by a special act of the New York legislature and ratified by a special convention held 14-18 April at the Gospel Tabernacle. The aims of the newly-minted Christian and Missionary Alliance combined those of the original bodies: (as stated in the Fraternal Letter that resulted from the 1898 annual convention) the C&MA was "to preach a full Gospel at home and send missionaries; to carry the same glad tidings to the unevangelized regions beyond; to preserve our non-sectarian and interdenominational attitude; to study to confine the [administrative] machinery to that which is necessary…." (Pardington, George P. Twenty-five Wonderful Years, p. 74, 75).

In October 1897 the Missionary Training College relocated to Nyack New York, a town about 30 km. from New York City., and was renamed the Nyack Missionary Training Institute. Simpson and his family also moved to Nyack so that he could participate more fully in the activities of the school. He commuted daily to New York City to minister at the Gospel Tabernacle and to work at the C&MA's headquarters.

The C&MA encountered a major crisis in the decade following the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in 1906. Simpson believed that all of the charismatic gifts were available to believers, but he rejected the Pentecostal belief that glossolalia is the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To his great sadness, many Alliance folk disagreed with him and left the C&MA for Pentecostal churches. A significant number of those who left became leaders within the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups.

Despite these losses, the C&MA continued to expand, both in North America and overseas, and so the movement was strong enough to be saddened but not demoralized by Simpson's death when it came on 29 October 1919. The Alliance continued to grow under the leadership of Simpson's successor, Paul Rader (1879-1938), and subsequent leaders, so that today it numbers 6 million adherents worldwide (of whom about 600,000 are in North America).

Stoesz, Samuel J. (1922-2011)

  • Person
  • 30 January 1922-12 October 2011

Samuel J. Stoesz was born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota on January 30, 1922, and spent his childhood on the family farm there. While attending St. Paul Bible Institute (Crown College) he met and married Wanda Manee in 1945. Sam pastored and started a number of Christian and Missionary Alliance churches in several states. He also taught and prepared students for pastoral and full time Christian ministries at Nyack College, New York; and Canadian Bible College (CBC), Regina, Saskatchewan. In 1970, while at CBC, he co-founded Canadian Theological Seminary (now Ambrose Seminary, which is part of Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta). He wrote several books, notably All for Jesus (principal author), Life is For Growth, and Sanctification: An Alliance Distinctive. Stoesz passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at Shell Point, Ft. Myers, Florida, where he spent his retirement years He was predeceased by his wife Wanda in 1986, and by his second wife May Carlson in 2005.

From obituary in Regina Leader Post

The Christian and Missionary Alliance

  • Corporate body
  • 1 April 1897-

The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) is an evangelical Christian denomination dedicated to the promulgation of the fourfold Gospel. Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. It is 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 International Missionary Alliance (IMA) was founded in 1887 as the Evangelical Missionary Alliance (EMA). Its major object was "to carry the Gospel 'to all nations', with special reference to the need of the destitute and unoccupied fields." It sought "to unite all Christians of evangelical denominations in its work." The organization’s name was changed to the International Missionary Alliance on its incorporation in November 1887 (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 52-55).

The Christian Alliance, which was also founded in 1887, saw itself as a "fraternal union of believers in cordial harmony with evangelical Christians of every name." It was responsible to hold annual conventions and form local "branches". These were seen as fellowships, not as churches, for the purpose of bearing testimony to the Fourfold Gospel, diffusing its truths, providing community for those who believed them, and praying for the evangelization of the world. (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 48-51).

On 31 March, 1897, the boards of the two organizations authorized a merger; it was made law on 1 April 1897 by a special act of the New York legislature and ratified by a special convention held 14-18 April at the Gospel Tabernacle. The aims of the newly-minted Christian and Missionary Alliance combined those of the original bodies: (as stated by the Fraternal Letter that resulted from the 1898 annual convention) the C&MA was "to preach a full Gospel at home and send missionaries; to carry the same glad tidings to the unevangelized regions beyond; to preserve our non-sectarian and interdenominational attitude; to study to confine the [administrative] machinery to that which is necessary…." (Pardington, George P. Twenty-five Wonderful Years, p. 74, 75).

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. The C&MA officially became a denomination in 1974. Its missionary efforts have been quite successful: the Alliance now has around 6 million adherents worldwide, of whom only about 600,000 reside in Canada or the United States. The Alliance World Fellowship (AWF), a non-legislative body, was formed in 1975 "to facilitate cooperation among [these] churches as they work for the fulfillment of the Great Commission" (AWF website).

The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada

  • 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.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada--Canadian Midwest District

  • Corporate body
  • 1 January 1981-

The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Canadian Midwest District was created to accommodate the growth of The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Western Canadian District, which by 1960 had exceeded the capacity of one administrator to run. Unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain an assistant, district superintendent Roy McIntyre welcomed the decision of the Home Department to divide the district.

The new district encompassed Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and that part of Ontario and the Northwest Territories lying between the 88th and 110th meridians and included 39 churches. At the 1963 conference of the Western Canadian District, Rev. Alf H. Orthner was selected as its founding superintendent.

At its inception on 1 January 1964, the district had its office at Canadian Bible College. Soon thereafter, a house was purchased on Parliament Street and for the next eleven years it served as the district parsonage and office.

The first district conference was held in Morden, Manitoba in September 1964. It was attended by Home Secretary Leslie W. Pippert. At this meeting Melvin P. Sylvester was elected as district secretary and Clare Heagy as district treasurer.

In 1981, like the rest of its Canadian counterparts, the district came under the authority of the newly founded autonomous (independent from The Christian and Missionary Alliance (U.S.)) Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Canadian Midwest District now incorporates Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario west of the 90th meridian, and Nunavut.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada--Western Canadian District

  • Corporate body
  • 1 January 1981-

The Western Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance came into being in May of 1925. Previously, the whole of Canada (with the exception of British Columbia, which was included in the Pacific Northwest District) had been considered one district. During the administration of A. W. Roffe, superintendent of the Alliance District of Canada from 1919-1925, it became clear that the Canadian District was too large to be administered by one man. Roffe’s nervous breakdown in 1925, prompted Home Secretary E. J. Richards to divide Canada into three districts. The “Western Canadian District” was to embrace all of Canada west of Fort William, Ontario, including the North West Territories, with the exception of British Columbia. John H. Woodward was appointed the first district superintendent. In 1930, Woodward moved the district office from Edmonton to Winnipeg.

In the spring of 1931, Woodward stepped down, and a period of stagnation ensued. In 1933 the Home Department concluded that the struggling district should share the services of J. D. Williams, the district superintendent of the thriving Eastern and Central District. Williams became district superintendent of the Pacific Northwest District the following year but remained the titular head of the Western Canadian District until the end of 1936.

In September 1937, Gordon Skitch took over as leader, although the board did not officially instate Skitch as district superintendent until 1943. Skitch moved the district office to Calgary. In 1938, the bi-monthly Western Worker’s Bulletin was launched, and in 1941 Canadian Bible Institute (later renamed Canadian Bible College) was established in Regina.

In March 1936, the boundaries of the district were expanded to include all of British Columbia with the exception of the cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and New Westminster.

In 1949 Willis Brooks became district superintendent. The following May, the boundaries of the district were expanded again to include the remainder of British Columbia. Brooks was succeeded in 1953 by George Blackett. Roy McIntyre took over from Blackett in January 1960.

In March 1963 the district was divided once again after the creation of the Canadian Midwest District, which included Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and that part of Ontario and the Northwest Territories lying between the 88th and 110th meridians. A further division occurred in January 1979, when British Columbia was released to become the new Canadian Pacific District. In 1980, Harvey A. Town became superintendent of the reorganized Western Canadian District.

In 1981, like the rest of its Canadian counterparts, the district came under the authority of the newly founded autonomous (independent from the United States) Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. In 1990, Town was succeeded by Arnold Downey, who was followed by Ken Driedger in 1999. The Western Canadian District currently oversees 110 churches from Yellowknife to the US border, and the district office remains in Calgary.

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