Many of the people who emigrated to Canada and the Northern US from Devon and Cornwall from the early 1830's onward, espoused the Bible Christian faith.
The Bible Christian movement was founded in Shebbear, Devon in 1815. It quickly took root and over the next 10 years many Bible Christian preachers went out to spread the word. Its main strength in England was in Devon and Northern Cornwall, but it formed missions all over England. In 1831 it started sending ministers to Prince Edward Island and Ontario
The Bible Christian Church in England was eventually assimilated into the United Methodist movement. In Canada, a union of the various Methodist sects was tried in 1875, but due to lack of enthusiasm only the Wesleyan Methodist and New Connexion Methodist sects merged into the Methodist Church. But the Methodists were once again after a union in a few short years, and either voluntarily, or by coercion, all branches of Methodism joined the union by 1884. These included Methodist Church, Episcopal Methodists, Primitive Methodists, and Bible Christians. This union was now called United Methodists, and by some, Canada Methodists. By 1925 a few Presbyterian and Congregational congregations had joined this union, and so the name was once again changed to reflect this addition and was now United Church of Canada.
Many important names have been associated with the Bible Christians down through the years, and the Bible Christian Project is all about finding these people and telling their story, and the story of the people of their various congregations.
Where did these people come from? Where did they settle? Why did they leave their homes in England to come to an unknown new land?
We want to acquaint you with your roots in Devon and Cornwall, and we want to take your ancestors' stories back to Devon and Cornwall to the extended families and their descendants to show them what became of their relatives who emigrated all those long years ago.
The project will be in the form of a "Road Show" and will have three parts:
- a static photo display showing villages in Devon, Cornwall, PEI and Ontario. It will include photos of the various ports from which our ancestors left their homelands.
- a video and slide presentation about Devon, Cornwall, PEI and Ontario with commentary.
- a book combining both of the above, plus loads more!
Right now there is a team in England gathering information, and a team in Ontario gathering information from this side of the Atlantic. It is one of the most interesting projects with which I have been involved in many years, and becomes more so every day. One of the reasons I became involved is because I too wanted to know more about these people. I'm sure my questions have been echoed all across the country, and so I have an idea what sort of information will assist you too to know your ancestors just a little better.
If any readers have information about Bible Christian ancestors, or photos, or chapel locations in your ancestor's areas, please get in touch. We want this project to portray ALL sorts of people, not just the preachers and missionaries. Tell us about YOUR Bible Christian ancestors.
You can contact either
Sher Leetooze or
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