Revised March 22, 2017
1891: Faith Mission Expands into Ireland
1896: Wm. Irvine Sent to Southwestern Ireland
1896: Dora Holland - FIRST Person to Profess
1898: Wm. Irvine Becomes Superintendent of South Ireland
Appendix H for 1991 Letter from Rev. Colin Peckham re Wm Irvine's time with Faith Mission
View Photo of Faith Mission Headquarters, Edinburgh, Scotland
1891: FAITH MISSION EXPANDS INTO IRELAND: From its beginning in 1886, the Faith Mission limited its work to Scotland, but after J. G. Govan made his first visit to Belfast, Ireland on May 27, 1891, they began working missions in Co. Antrim, Ire. "Before long revival fires began to burn," and "By 1894 the work was firmly established and on 12th of July, 1895, conferences were held in a tent at Ballymena [N. Ireland] which was packed with more than 1,500 people present" (Heritage of Revival by Colin Peckham, p. 38).
1896, MAY: William Irvine joined the Faith Mission in l895, and after working in Scotland, came across to Ireland, probably around May of 1896 (letter by Rev C. N. Peckham, May 29, 1991). Bright Words reported: "Ireland: For long we have been praying and hoping to go to the more neglected parts of this island. At length we have made a start, and Pilgrims Irvine and Deathe have gone to the southwest. At present their work is mostly pioneering" (BW, Feb. 15, 1897 p. 39).
From January 1 to November, 1897, Irvine preached in the southern Irish counties of Clare, Trim, Kerry, Tipperary and Meath, except for the time he spent with his seriously ill mother in the Spring (letter to Kerrs, Dec. 4, 1921). Wm. Irvine wrote: "In November 1896, I was sent to the West of Ireland to the hottest Roman Catholic spot in the world....After 6 or 7 months there, I got to where the Carrolls were in Nenagh; and there BEGAN the work that has spread so far...that stirred the whole of that country for years to come, as I did in Southwest Ireland and finally all over Ireland" (letter to Dunbars, Oct. 13, 1920).
1897, APRIL-MAY: Faith Mission reported that Wm. Irvine and Pilgrim Taberner were working a mission in Kilrush,
Co. Clare: "Kilrush is a very Roman Catholic town.
Pilgrim Irvine, joined recently by Pilgrim Taberner, is working away
quietly. They have had one or two interesting lantern meetings. Those in such stiff fields specially need our prayers" (BW, May 15, 1897, p. 113).
About this time, a Methodist colporteur named John Long who had heard of Wm Irvine traveled to Kilrush, specifically to meet him.
Irvine had planned to give a sermon using a magic lantern in Kilrush, but the lantern failed to work. The magic lantern was essentially a slide projector--a very modern concept for 1897, perhaps similar to a Power Point presentation would be in the year 2000+. It would have been a most ingenious way to arouse curiosity and interest in an evangelistic mission. John Long wrote:
"He had announced for a Magic Lantern address, in order to influence the Roman Catholic people to come into the little Methodist Chapel, to hear singing, and the Gospel message. The lantern refused to work that night for something had went wrong with it, and...so he turned it into a sermon. Some Romans were in the meeting and the Evangelist [Wm. Irvine] spoke with great vehemence, love and power; placing Catholic and Protestants on the same natural condition, namely all are sinners, all need Salvation or Regeneration...After the meeting I was introduced to him; then he took me down a street, where he put tracts under doors in the homes, and dropped them on the footpath...Next day being the Sabbath, he took me where we had private prayer together...On Monday, I left Kilrush..." (Journal, March 1897).
1896: DORATHY (Dora/Dot) HOLLAND attended Irvine's mission in Kilrush and may have been present at a Magic Lantern service. She was born in January 1, 1876, in Annival, Co. Galway, Ireland and died August 1, 1968. It is generally accepted that Dora was Irvine's FIRST convert to profess. However, the year in which she professed differs according to the narrative; e.g. 1895, 1896 or 1897. Dora wrote:
"I...was a governess and lived with a lady in Kilrush, Co. Clare, a Mrs. Wm. Peacocke. It was while I was there that two preachers came along and held meetings in the town. I attended the services. They were held by a Mr. Wm. Irvine from Scotland, and his companion. It was at that time that I made the choice I would yield my life fully to God’s control. I decided then that I would give my life to gospel work sometime, but continued teaching for a few years...I can say that after being over seventeen years in touch with the work...that I have always found that everything in connection with it is in keeping with the highest conceptions of morality..." (letter to Dear Brother, Aug. 11, 1913). (1896)
However, the 1901 Irish Census confirms that Dorathy Holland, age 24, was a Methodist and a Governess living in the household of Mary E. M. Peacocke in Kilrush, Co. Clare.
Dora's brother Harry Holland stated "My sister, Dora, was 90 on January 1st. She was the FIRST PERSON TO PROFESS in Ireland, but that was before the Gills and the Carrolls decided and before George Walker decided. That was some years before I left Ireland...in 1899" (letter by Harry Holland, 1966).
Sydney Holt, a nephew of Dora and also the late Overseer of the State of Washington USA, visited Ireland on a convention tour in 1985. He wrote several letters to the American friends and workers about his visit. He stated that according to the memories of his three aunts who were in their nineties, Wm. Irvine held a mission in Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1896:
"...Mother's three sisters in their nineties...filled me in on more family history dating back to Aunt Dora Holland hearing the gospel in 1896 in Kilrush in the western part of Ireland. It was 1902 when she went into the work...then 1905 to Canada" (letter by Sydney Holt, May 1, 1985).
Another narrative gives the date for Dora's profession as 1895: "Dora Holland had heard it before that in 1895 in Tipperary; there was no fellowship. She never was in a fellowship meeting for five years" (Hazel Hughes, 1971 Transcript). Some points that differ in her account and others mentioned above are: Wm Irvine didn't arrive in Ireland until May, 1896 (not 1895); Kilrush is not in Co. Tipperary; and fellowship meetings were not started until 1902 and thereafter. Therefore, the Author believes the year 1895 is an error. The Author personally visited the city of Kilrush on August 1, 2004.
The following sources affirm that Dora professed in 1896: Dora in her 1913 handwritten letter, Dora's funeral notes, and her nephew Syd Holt's conversation with Dora's sisters. Her brother Harry stated she was "the first to profess." FM records show Wm Irvine was preaching in the vicinity where Dora lived at that time.
It should be noted that Wm. Irvine was
preaching with The Faith Mission when Dora Holland professed in his mission. This was before he organized a group of workers in Ireland. Some have attempted to use Dora's profession in 1896 as evidence that the 2x2
began before 1897. While Irvine was preaching in the South of Ireland, there were many others who also professed in his FM missions. Some of those went in the work immediately, some went later while others never entered it. Some were grandfathered into the fellowship and ministry that Irvine later organized after he left FM. Details to follow in later chapters.
Dora Holland entered the work in 1902. She arrived in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on the SS Virginian on August 11, 1905, along with 16 other workers (The list of Arrival of Workers in North America). Her brother Henry (Harry) was born February 6, 1877 at Annival, Co. Galway and died May 3, 1967. Harry preached in North and South Dakota. The two are buried beside each other in Graceland Cemetery, Madison, South Dakota. Four other Holland siblings became workers: Maud, Kathleen, Mable and Muriel.
Faith Mission reported: "Our brothers in the southwest, after closing the mission at Kilrush, spent a week or two itinerating--visiting farms, selling literature, distributing tracts, singing, praying and talking with the people, and continually holding a meeting. Now they have begun a mission at Tarbert in Co. Kerry. Pilgrim Irvine has had to go home for a little on account of the serious illness of his mother, and Pilgrim Taberner is alone meanwhile" (BW, June 15, 1897 p. 146).
1898, AUGUST 15: WM. IRVINE BECOMES SUPERINTENDENT OVER SOUTH of IRELAND: The first time Irvine's name appears in Bright Words Location of Pilgrims as Superintendent for the Faith Mission work in the South of Ireland was August, 1898, and the last time was in December 1900. Wm. Irvine was sent to the South of Ireland, where very little if any evangelization had been worked by FM workers.
"Irvine went to the south of Ireland in 1897 and his superintendency must be understood in the light of the conditions there then. His work, and that of the few workers in that area, was merely that of holding pioneer missions. He was not a 'superintendent' in the sense that we know that term to mean today....He was separated from the main flow of Christian work in the north, and from the burgeoning Faith Mission work in Scotland. Because he worked in such isolation in an extremely Roman Catholic county not enjoying fellowship in any great measure with other members of the Faith Mission, he was able to deviate from the normal practices, methods and teachings of the Faith Mission" (letter by Rev. C. N. Peckham, May 29, 1991).
The booklet "Faith Triumphant - A Review of the Work of The Faith Mission 1886-1936, contains a chapter titled "Farther Afield--Southern Ireland." It is interesting that there is no mention of Wm. Irvine, who was the first Superintendent of S. Ireland (J. G. Eberstein, p. 70).
WORKERS LISTS - The Faith Mission Annual "Staff of Workers" List provided two details about each worker: (1) the worker's name, and (2) the date they entered the work. The founder, of course, was listed first; e.g. J. G. Govan - 1886, and the other Workers were listed under the founder's name in order by the date they entered FM. CLICK HERE to go to Faith Mission Annual Workers Lists.
The first and earliest 2x2 Workers List discovered to date is the List of First Workers at July 1905. Following the same format as the Faith Mission, the name of the founder, William Irvine is listed first; e.g. Wm Irvine -18--". (The exact year is left blank on many copies of this list.) Names of the other workers follow under the founder's name in order by the date they entered the work.
Read 1991 letter by Rev C. N. Peckham, Principal Faith Mission Bible College relative to Wm Irvine's service with FM in Appendix I.
Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted.
Go to Chapter 6
Go to Top of Page