When Jacques Cartier landed on the Gaspé coast in July, 1534, he hurried to erect a thirty-foot cross, while bewildered Indians watched. This significant act by Cartier presaged things to come, for Canada’s growth since that time has been inextricably connected with the lifting up of the Cross of Jesus Christ—first in Canada, as the nation took root, and then abroad as Canadians rallied in an expanding missionary outreach.
For the first three hundred years of its development, Canada was a receiving country for missionary enterprise. It was a mission field into which a stream of dedicated men and money emptied from abroad. As the young country grew in awareness of its resource potential in agriculture, forests, fisheries, and mines, and as new communities took shape, expanding into towns and cities, so the Church grew throughout the land.
The Years Of Outreach
Not until the middle of the nineteenth century did the Canadian church begin to enlarge its vision and take up the challenging task of outreach. In these years the Canadian church became a sending church. Although there were still vast territories of the Canadian Northwest where the Indians and the Eskimos had never heard the Gospel, and although for many years the Canadian church continued to receive aid from the great British missionary societies, nevertheless the days of sending had begun. It was as if the new responsibilities assumed by Canada in becoming an independent nation were adopted by the Church also as it took on new stature and began to initiate constructive work abroad. The ensuing story bristles with dramatic accounts of vision, determination, courage, and sacrifice. It reflects a growing conviction that there could be no real participation in Christ without ...1
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