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Authority record

Wiens, Evelyn R. (Evelyn Ruth) 1943-1998

  • Person
  • 12 November 1943-11 September 1998

Evelyn Ruth Wiens served as a missionary for the International Church of the Nazarene in South Africa (1970-1981) and Papua New Guinea (1987-1994). She was born November 12th 1943 and died on September 11th 1998. She received a Bachelor of Theology degree from Canadian Nazarene College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1965 and went on to graduate from the Royal Alexandra Hospital School of Nursing in 1968 with an R.N. degree.
Before beginning her missionary work Wiens worked as a nurse in Alberta with a First Nations community from 1968-1970, in order to fulfill requirements for the grant that covered her training expenses. After finishing that work, she applied to the World Mission Division of the Church of the Nazarene to work as a missionary nurse and was appointed to a position in Acornhoek, E. Transvaal, in the Republic of South Africa. She served in South Africa from 1970 until September of 1981, when mental health issues resulted in a doctor and the mission board recommending that she take a medical leave of absence. She returned home to Canada, where she stayed with her family. In 1982, after several episodes of distorted thinking and actions, she requested to be hospitalized.
In 1987, confident that God had healed her schizophrenia, Wiens reapplied to the Board of World Missions to be reappointed as a missionary nurse. After some deliberation, the board decided that the severity of her previous breakdown was due to extenuating circumstances and that she was healthy enough to serve again. She was appointed to a position in Papua New Guinea, where she helped to train nurses and establish a community based health care program. She served there until 1994, when she suffered a major seizure, which resulted in significant brain damage.
After hospitalization she was sent home to Canada, where she was placed in a rehabilitation program for brain damage in the Chedoke-McMaster Hospital in Hamilton. She was honored with a Distinguished Service award from Oakville Church of the Nazarene in 1996 for her work in missions. She passed away on September 11th 1998 of a brain seizure caused by her pre-existing brain damage.

Western Canadian Bible Institute

  • Corporate body
  • September 1945-10 April 1957

In July 1929 the Board of Managers of The Christian and Missionary Alliance decided to close six of the C&MA’s nine training schools, including Canadian Bible Institute (Toronto) and Great West Bible Institute (Edmonton) to offset a movement-wide decline in revenues.
All attempts to reopen CBI during the 1930’s were quashed by the leadership of the C&MA. Finally, pastors Willis Brooks (a CBI alumnus) and George Blackett (a former board member) took matters into their own hands. In October 1941, with the blessing of Gordon Skitch, superintendent of the Western Canadian District, they “re-established” Canadian Bible Institute in Regina, Saskatchewan. Convinced that the initiative would be rejected if they went through normal channels, they consulted neither the Eastern and Central Canadian District nor the Board of Managers. As a result, the school had to wait another four years for official recognition. It was also required to change its name to Western Canadian Bible Institute (WCBI). However the official publications of the Institute did not begin to use the new name until September 1945.
In 1944, the Eastern and Central District received approval to establish a school in Toronto, but the project foundered for lack of leadership and proper facilities. Two years later, the Glen Rocks estate came up for sale. The District concluded that it needed a Bible camp and conference centre more than it needed a training school, and so it sold off the Institute building to help pay for Glen Rocks. In 1956, WCBI was declared to be the national school for the C&MA in Canada. Western Canadian Bible Institute officially changed its name to Canadian Bible College on 10 April 1957.

Tozer, A. W. (Aiden Wilson) 1897-1963

  • Person
  • 21 April 1897-13 May 1963

A. W. (Aiden Wilson) Tozer is perhaps the most widely-known and influential member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA). He was born on 21 April 1897 in La Jose (now Newburg) Pa., and died in Toronto, Ont. on 13 May 1963. He was ordained as a minister in the C&MA in 1920 and served pastorates in Toledo, Oh. (1921-23); Indianapolis, Ind. (1923-1928); Chicago, Ill (1928-1959); and Toronto, Ont. (1959-1963). He also served as vice-president of the C&MA (1946-1950) and, most significantly, as editor of the denomination’s official organ The Alliance Weekly (1950-1957) and its successor The Alliance Witness (1958-1963).

Tozer was a convinced evangelical and a staunch supporter of the ideals of the C&MA. His first book, Wingspread: Albert B. Simpson, a Study in Spiritual Altitude (Harrisburg, Ps.: Christian Publications, 1943) was a spiritual biography of the founder of the Alliance. Although loyal to the Alliance, Tozer had an ecumenical spirit. He felt a sense of spiritual community with all true Christians, regardless of their denominational affiliation.

Regarded by many of his admirers as a prophet, Tozer exerted an influence that extended beyond evangelicalism and beyond North America through his insightful books and editorials on the spiritual life. His writings reveal a mystical approach to the Christian life that was founded on his love of the Christian spiritual classics. He was in great demand as a speaker, and during the 1950’s many of his sermons were broadcast over Chicago’s WMBI radio. Tozer wrote nine books during his lifetime, the most influential of which were The Pursuit of God (1948) and The Knowledge of the Holy (1961). An additional twenty volumes of his sermons and editorials have been published since his death. For further biographical information see Fant, David J. A. W. Tozer: A Twentieth Century Prophet (Harrisburg, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1964).

The Church of the Nazarene

  • Corporate body
  • 1908-

The Church of the Nazarene traces its anniversary date to 1908. Its organization was a marriage that, like every marriage, linked existing families and created a new one. As an expression of the holiness movement and its emphasis on the sanctified life, our founders came together to form one people. Utilizing evangelism, compassionate ministries, and education, their church went forth to become a people of many cultures and tongues.

Two central themes illuminate the Nazarene story.

The first is "unity in holiness."

The spiritual vision of early Nazarenes was derived from the doctrinal core of John Wesley's preaching. These affirmations include justification by grace through faith, sanctification likewise by grace through faith, entire sanctification as an inheritance available to every Christian, and the witness of the Spirit to God's work in human lives. The holiness movement arose in the 1830s to promote these doctrines, especially entire sanctification. By 1900, however, the movement had splintered.

P. F. Bresee, C. B. Jernigan, C. W. Ruth, and other committed leaders strove to unite holiness factions. The first and second general assemblies were like two bookends:

In October 1907, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America and the Church of the Nazarene merged in Chicago, Illinois, at the First General Assembly.

In April 1908, a congregation organized in Peniel, Texas, drew into the Nazarene movement the key officers of the Holiness Association of Texas.

The Pennsylvania Conference of the Holiness Christian Church united in September 1908. In October 1908, the Second General Assembly was held at Pilot Point, Texas, the headquarters of the Holiness Church of Christ. The "year of uniting" ended with the merger of this southern denomination with its northern counterpart.

With the Pentecostal Church of Scotland and Pentecostal Mission unions in 1915, the Church of the Nazarene embraced seven previous denominations and parts of two other groups.1 The Nazarenes and The Wesleyan Church emerged as the two denominations that eventually drew together a majority of the holiness movement's independent strands.

"A mission to the world" is the second primary theme in the Nazarene story.

In 1908 there were churches in Canada and organized work in India, Cape Verde, and Japan, soon followed by work in Africa, Mexico, and China. The 1915 mergers added congregations in the British Isles and work in Cuba, Central America, and South America. There were congregations in Syria and Palestine by 1922. As General Superintendent H. F. Reynolds advocated "a mission to the world," support for world evangelization became a distinguishing characteristic of Nazarene life. New technologies were utilized. The church began producing the "Showers of Blessing" radio program in the 1940s, followed by the Spanish broadcast "La Hora Nazarena" and later by broadcasts in other languages. Indigenous holiness churches in Australia and Italy united in the 1940s, others in Canada and Great Britain in the 1950s, and one in Nigeria in 1988.

As the church grew culturally and linguistically diverse, it committed itself in 1980 to internationalization—a deliberate policy of being one church of congregations and districts worldwide, rather than splitting into national churches like earlier Protestant denominations. By the 2001 General Assembly, 42 percent of delegates spoke English as their second language or did not speak it at all. Today 65 percent of Nazarenes and over 80 percent of the church's 439 districts are outside the United States. An early system of colleges in North America and the British Isles has become a global network of institutions. Nazarenes support 14 liberal arts institutions in Africa, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Korea, and the United States, as well as five graduate seminaries, 31 undergraduate Bible/theological colleges, 2 nurses training colleges, and one education college worldwide. From nazarene.org/history

The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Western Canadian District

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-1 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.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Eastern and Central Canadian District

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-1 January 1981

The Eastern and Central Canadian Districts of the Christian and Missionary Alliance came into existence in 1925 as two distinct entities. Prior to this date, the whole of Canada (with the exception of British Columbia) was considered and managed as one district. The newly created Central District would run from Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario to the Quebec – New Brunswick border. The Eastern District would comprise the Maritime Provinces. However, only a month after the new districts were formed, it was decided by the Home Department that the current missionary offerings from the Maritimes was not sufficient to justify the appointment of a separate superintendent for that area, and thus the work in the Maritimes would have to be carried out by the Central District. Therefore, the combined effort came to be known as the Eastern and Central Canadian District, and included the vast and diverse region of the whole of Canada east of Fort William, Ontario.

Home Secretary E. J. Richards became titular superintendent of the new district from New York, with Lionel Watson acting as resident assistant superintendent and administrator from Toronto. A year later, in May of 1926, Oswald J. Smith became superintendent of the combined districts, only to resign eight months later. Three months following Smith’s resignation, the annual district conference elected Lionel Watson to the position. Watson served as superintendent for one year, after which he was followed, in 1928, by the highly qualified and experienced J. D. Williams. After serving diligently for nearly six years (the last of those years as acting superintendent of the Western Canadian District as well), Williams was appointed superintendent of the Pacific Northwest District in May, 1934. James F. Brabazon, a long time missionary to India, was appointed temporary superintendent in his stead. A year later, Brabazon returned to India, and David Mason, a veteran missionary and co-secretary of the Foreign Department, was assigned to the vacant position. During Mason’s eleven-year superintendency, the Eastern and Central District remained essentially stagnant both numerically and financially. In 1946, Nathan Bailey took the reigns of the district. During his fourteen years at the helm, the Eastern and Central District experienced its highest ever growth rate over a fourteen-year period. In 1960, Bailey was elected president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. In his place, William J. Newell, associate pastor of Avenue Road Church, was selected. Newell provided leadership for the district until 1973 when he stepped down in order to become executive director of World Vision International of Canada. Long time Alliance pastor Melvin P. Sylvester was elected at the 1973 district conference to become the next superintendent. During Sylvester’s seven year term as district superintendent, he provided much of the leadership in the movement towards Canadian autonomy. In June of 1980, he resigned from the position in order to become the first president of the newly autonomous Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. Robert Gould, previously superintendent of the Canadian Midwest District, took Sylvester’s place beginning in March of 1981.

When the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada became an autonomous body on 1 January 1981, the official name of the district became The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada-Eastern and Central Canadian District.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance-Canadian Midwest District

  • Corporate body
  • 1 January 1964-1 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 in Canada-Canadian Midwest District now incorporates Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario west of the 90th meridian, and Nunavut.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Board of Managers

  • Corporate body
  • 1897-

The International Missionary Alliance was founded in 1887 by Rev. Albert Benjamin Simpson, as the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, its major object being "to carry the Gospel 'to all nations', with special reference to the need of the destitute and unoccupied fields," seeking "to unite all Christians of evangelical denominations in its work." The EMA was governed by a board of managers, which was comprised of a president, seven vice-presidents, four other executive officers and 22 members-at-large from seven states. The Board was responsible to appoint foreign missionaries and to exercise general supervision over all the interests of the Alliance. A smaller executive committee, consisting of 13 officers, was charged with carrying out the Board's business between meetings. The organization’s name was changed to the IMA, coinciding with its incorporation in November 1887 (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 52-55).

The Christian Alliance was also founded in 1887 as a "fraternal union of believers in cordial harmony with evangelical Christians of every name." It was responsible to hold annual conventions and in conjunction with the districts, form local branches. These were seen as fellowships, not as churches, with the purpose of bearing testimony to the Four-fold Gospel, promoting diffusion of these truths, providing community for those who believe them, and praying for the evangelization of the world. The Christian Alliance was governed by an executive committee, consisting of a president, 29 vice-presidents, four other executive officers and 41 members-at-large (Alliance Yearbook 1888, p. 48-51).

On Mar 31, 1897, the two respective boards authorized the merger; it was made law on Apr 1, 1897 by a special act of the New York legislature and ratified by a special convention held Apr 14-18 at the Gospel Tabernacle in New York. The aims of the new organization 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). The C&MA officially became a denomination in 1974.

The Board of Managers, elected by the annual General Council (the supreme governing body of the C&MA) provides general oversight and management and serves as the executive committee of General Council when General Council is not in session. The Board first met on Apr 17, 1897, with 18 members present. At this meeting it adopted a constitution and approved the sending of a number of missionaries. The Board of Managers currently consists of 28 members.

The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada-Eastern and Central Canadian District

  • Corporate body
  • 1 January 1981-1995

The Eastern and Central Canadian Districts of the Christian and Missionary Alliance came into existence in 1925 as two distinct entities. Prior to this date, the whole of Canada (with the exception of British Columbia) was considered and managed as one district. The newly created Central District would run from Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario to the Quebec – New Brunswick border. The Eastern District would comprise the Maritime Provinces. However, only a month after the new districts were formed, it was decided by the Home Department that the current missionary offerings from the Maritimes was not sufficient to justify the appointment of a separate superintendent for that area, and thus the work in the Maritimes would have to be carried out by the Central District. Therefore, the combined effort came to be known as the Eastern and Central District, and included the vast and diverse region of the whole of Canada east of Fort William, Ontario.

Home Secretary E. J. Richards became titular superintendent of the new district from New York, with Lionel Watson acting as resident assistant superintendent and administrator from Toronto. A year later, in May of 1926, O. J. Smith became superintendent of the combined districts only to resign eight months later. Three months following Smith’s resignation, the annual district conference elected Lionel Watson to the position. Watson served as superintendent for one year, after which he was followed in 1928 by the highly qualified and experienced J. D. Williams. After serving diligently for nearly six years (the last of those years as acting superintendent of the Western Canadian District as well), Williams was appointed superintendent of the Pacific Northwest District in May, 1934. James F. Brabazon, a long time missionary to India, was appointed temporary superintendent in his stead. A year later, Brabazon returned to India, and David Mason, a veteran missionary and co-secretary of the Foreign Department, was assigned to the vacant position. During Mason’s eleven-year superintendency, the Eastern and Central District remained essentially stagnant both numerically and financially. In 1946, Nathan Bailey took the reigns of the district. During his fourteen years at the helm, the Eastern and Central District experienced its highest ever growth rate over a fourteen-year period. In 1960, Bailey was elected president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. In his place, William J. Newell, associate pastor of Avenue Road Church, was selected. Newell provided leadership for the district until 1973 when he stepped down in order to become executive director of World Vision International of Canada. Long time Alliance pastor Melvin P. Sylvester was elected at the 1973 district conference to become the next superintendent. During Sylvester’s seven year term as district superintendent, he provided much of the leadership in the movement towards Canadian autonomy. In June of 1980, he resigned from the position in order to become the first president of the newly autonomous Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. Robert Gould, previously superintendent of the Canadian Midwest District, took Sylvester’s place beginning in March of 1981.

In May of 1983, a long standing dream among many became a reality when the Alliance community in Quebec broke off from the Eastern and Central District in order to form the St. Lawrence District. The newly created district would be headquartered Ste. Foy, Quebec, and Jesse D. Jespersen was elected as its first district superintendent.

In 1995, The Eastern District, first conceived of in 1925, finally separated from the Central District to became its own district. The Eastern District would include all of the Maritimes, and that part of Ontario which is east of Hwy 427/27 north from Lake Ontario to Hwy 89, east to Lake Simcoe, then along the southern shore of the lake to the 79th meridian, then north to the Quebec border. Douglas Wiebe was named superintendent of the new district, and remains so to this day (2006). The same year, David Lewis replaced Robert Gould as district superintendent for the Central District, and Yvan Fournier replaced Jespersen for the St. Lawrence District.

As of 2006, Fournier remains the superintendent of the St. Lawrence District, while Dr. Ron Bonar has replaced Lewis as the superintendent of the Central District. As of 2005, The Central District had 56 churches within its boundaries, the Eastern District included 72 churches, and the St. Lawrence District had 30.

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