The way it was…

Published March 1, 2000

100 years ago: March 1900

Canadian Churchman reported that the Season of Lent is with us again with its solemn, earnest, yet hope- inspiring voices when the Church calls her children to special self-examination, confession of sin and earnest resolve. In the Anglican Church no special rules are issued by authority, and individual members are left to the dictates of their own conscience, and their own experience, guided and helped by the counsels of their pastors. It is possible that such a method (or lack of method) leads in some cases to an over-rigid observance of the Season, and in other cases to a keeping of it which savours of laxity. Yet, on the whole, perhaps it answers as well as any other plan. But it may be well for us all, in a general way, to make up our minds to do something for ourselves, something for the Church, something for the world…

In an English church, about a century ago, the clerk one day read the following notice: “The prayers of this congregation are earnestly requested for a young man who has just fallen heir to a large fortune.” Now it is not often, even today, that it comes to us to pray for the ones who possess great wealth.

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50 years ago: March 1950

Canadian Churchman reported that two Christianities confront each other in our modern world. The one is ultimately rooted in a Bible and a creed, in theology, and in a confession of faith. The other is a Christianity of moral ideals – ideals deriving from the Christian past but now freed from the swaddling clothes of dogma and doctrine, of fear of God and of the ultimate realities of eternity. A further tragic circumstance is the fact the two Christianities are not differentiated clearly in popular comprehension. One is largely unknown. Hence the other has occupied the vacuum created by ignorance. What is left is in fact a new religion. It goes by the name of Christianity, and unquestionably derives from the Christian tradition, but it is no longer the classical Christianity of the New Testament or of the Church of history.

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25 years ago: March 1975

Canadian Churchman reported that meeting in what some members described as “a crisis situation,” National Executive Council last month rejected Plan of Union as a basis for merging the United Church of Canada and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and authorized a poll of Anglican membership on the whole question of church union before further steps are taken in that direction. And while NEC affirmed the search for a “true and lasting union” it committed itself to “ongoing negotiations on church union” only if the nation-wide poll shows Anglicans share that commitment.


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