We often talk about church union in reference to the 1925 creation of The United Church of Canada but did you know that there was another big union before that ? The Presbyterian Church in Canada was formed in 1875 from the union of the Canada Presbyterian Church; the Presbyterian Church of Canada in connection with the Church of Scotland; the Presbyterian Church of the Lower Provinces; and the Synod of the Maritime Provinces of British North America in connection with the Church of Scotland. Try saying that sentence 10 times fast! The first General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church of Canada was held in June 1875 in Montreal with Rev. Dr. John Cook elected as moderator. One of the Maritimers in attendance was Rev. Lewis Jack. He served in Springfield, NB from 1853-1884. The following is a letter he wrote to his daughter Anna Sterling Jack about the event. If you haven’t heard the song mentioned in the letter before, you can search online for “There is a Happy Land Far Far Away.” A transcription of the letter follows the image.
Montreal 15 June 1875
My Dear Anna,
This is Tuesday morning when the great union is to be effected. We are to meet in the skating rink the largest building in Montreal. I was in the rink last Sabbath witnessing a beautiful sight for the whole of the Sabbath School children of Montreal belonging to the Presbyterian Churches met together and I know you would like to be there, it would gladden the heart of Anna Sterling to unite her voice with teachers and children in singing “There is a happy land”-for I am sure there were more than ten thousand present.
We are to meet today in the same place and I am safe to say there will be many thousand present today.
I wrote Saturday that I expected to be at Belle Isle by Wednesday the 23rd. I then apprehended that the train would be stopped on the 19th but I find that in only on the Intercolonial line the road to St. John from the west will be open so then I prefer [illegible] to leave Montreal on Friday 18th and to be at St. John Saturday evening and return to Springfield on Monday the 21st. This is my present purpose and if I should not go that day do not be disappointed. Meet me on Monday at Belle Isle if convenient. That is to say if this reaches you in proper season.
Wanting to meet with you all in the course of a week and with affectionate regards to Jane and dear Mother.
Your affect. Father
Miss A.S. Jack, Springfield