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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
The Missionary

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The dynamic intellectual environment of the 1800s encouraged theological debate. One saw an increased development of colleges and education of clergy, both in England and in the eastern regions of North America. Towards the end of the century, however, a new movement emerged. Poverty and class contrasts confronted people with issues of social responsibility. A renewed spiritual hunger questioned philosophical rhetoric and called for a recovering of the religiously lived life - the experiential emphasis which was once the hallmark of Wesley and the Methodists. As a departure from Wesley, however, the new movement valued social action over inner pietism. Theologians and philosophers found themselves more and more isolated in colleges and universities, severed from the lives of the rank and file church going Christians. The latter found spiritual satisfaction in a renewed effort of evangelism and social outreach both at home and abroad.

The Methodist church in Canada felt a responsibility towards Aboriginal people as well as towards newcomers, many of which were Eastern European peasants who brought an Orthodox Christian tradition which was foreign to the British oriented Protestants. The Women's Missionary Society offered outreach programs for immigrant women, who were often isolated through culture and language. Sewing and language meetings, as well as bible study and protestant worship were on the program.

 

 

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