Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Bio Truth?

Chapter 8
Revised January 31, 2018


1899: John Long Begins to Preach Independently
Finances - Donations - Collections
Beginning of the Building of Wooden Halls/Tents/Baches
1899: October - Bicycle Expedition to Scotland
1899: December 26 - St. Stephen's Day Special Meeting

1899, JANUARY 1 - JOHN LONG BEGAN TO PREACH INDEPENDENTLY:  Beginning January 1899 John Long travelled around Ireland on his bicycle “on independent lines” also called Faith Lines.  He was not associated with any type of missionary group or society.  He had no human superior or supervisor.  He prayed for guidance and made his Mission plans accordingly.  He remained in close association with Irvine.  From his Journal account up until the 1903 Convention at Rathmolyon, John seemed to "work with" Wm. Irvine, but not "for him." 

"On the first of January, 1899, I started on the new Lines of Faith in God; that morning one pound came to me by post" 
(Journal, Jan. 1899).  Faith Lines was a concept that Irvine, John Long and Ed Cooney took from Matthew Ten. JOHN LONG was the FIRST to go preach independently on Faith Lines--before Wm. Irvine, Ed Cooney, George Walker or any other worker. John carefully explained what the term "Faith Lines" meant to them:

"Faith Lines is a preacher going forth without any fixed or stated salary, neither any public collections at meetings, but just trusting in God to put it into the hearts of God's people to give to the support of them who ministered in Spiritual things. If more came in than necessary, learning to abound; if less, learning to suffer lack…" (Journal, Jan. 1899).

"Faith Lines is not free from its defects and misunderstandings; therefore, I have avoided boasting or rashly making little or despising ministers with a salary. Persons sometimes gave when they thought the Evangelist was in need; and persons sometimes withheld because the Evangelist abounded; therefore, I would commend anyone on Faith Lines to let their financial side be a secret between God and themselves.  The man who has courage and faith enough to go forth in dependence upon God; can be trusted with the stewardship of what he receives. It is good for the workers not to depend on man, or put too much trust in a friend. 'But in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,' Phil. 4:6 (Journal, July 1900).

Years later, in 1942, George Walker described their Faith Line method to the U.S. Selective Service: 

"We take this opportunity to state that during the closing years of the last century and the first years of this century, a number of people in the British Isles and in America were exercised in heart and mind, through their study of the Scriptures, in regard to the methods of preaching and worship in the several churches of which they were then members. They were deeply concerned about spiritual things, and became fully convinced that there should be a return to the methods and purposes taught and carried out by Christ and His first disciples. This conviction led to frequent earnest conversations and studies on the subject, which in turn led to religious meetings, and in due time a number of these people went forth to devote their lives to the preaching of the Gospel according to the teaching and example of Christ as given in the New Testament, i.e., 'two by two' and without salary or making appeals for financial assistance, putting implicit trust in God and His promise that as they 'sought first the Kingdom of God,' their natural needs of food and raiment would be added to them' " (Statement, 1942).

FINANCES - DONATIONS - COLLECTIONS:  Following Jesus instructions in Matt. 10:8 "freely have ye received, freely give," the Workers did not ask for money or take up collections in their Missions. However, John Long wrote: "By experience we learned that it was not inconsistent with Faith Lines to have a box at the door of our tent for free will offerings; so as that the poor widow could give her mite, as well as the rich their abundance. 'But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar on the right side, as one cometh into the house of the Lord,' 2 Kings 12:9. Nearly all Christians are agreed that this should be the case on the Lord’s Day, 1 Cor. 16:1-2" (Journal, Jan. 1901).

The Impartial Reporter stated: "It is as much ‘begging’ to place a to send round a plate. People give only as they will" (IR, Sept 10, 1908, p.5). "There is a lot of ‘rot’ spoken about ‘no collections’ at Tramp meetings...The Tramps do receive donations from their own people, (not from the general public) and generous gifts, too. The bag which they place in the houses of their people ‘collects’ the donations, and the ‘brethren’ give freely" (IR, Sept. 30, 1909, 5th article). The practice of providing a receptacle for donations at Missions was discontinued sometime after 1909.

"Surely, we are not all fools. These men are themselves paid or rewarded, as well as the clergy...the difference is only one of degree. And while it is possible that there are cases where the minister may receive more than his deserts, it is pretty certain that some of the Tramps receive more than their deserts also. In both cases, however, the donors give voluntarily; whether a man subscribes to a church fund, or entertains a Tramp and puts his donation in a bag, the donations are given by the free will of the donors; and the difference is...of order and organisation" (IR, Sept. 23, 1909; 4th article).

Many years later, John Long commented: "…in condemning salary lines and defending preaching without money, is a mistake to condemn others who may not have stepped out in obedience on the same line. Satan can get in on this point, and we become as proud Pharisees, condemning others who follow not us. There are as many Scriptures to prove Salary Lines as there are to prove Gratis Lines; as the words "Wages" and "Hire" occur attached to the maintenance of preachers. See John 4:36." (Journal 1947*)

1899 APRIL - BEGINNING OF THE BUILDING WOODEN HALLS/TENTS/BACHES:  It became more and more difficult to obtain facilities for Gospel Missions. At that time, workers did a lot of open-air or street preaching, preaching on the town square or diamond (an open area in the heart of a town used for community gatherings or speeches), marches through towns singing hymns, door to door witnessing, etc., which were subject to the weather.  So the workers began to build and use portable wooden halls, sometimes called "baches," which could be easily moved in sections from mission to mission. The word "bach" is derived from the word "bachelor," and means to live alone and keep house as a bachelor; to share living quarters with someone of the same sex, usually doing one's own housework, cooking, laundry, etc. They were nicknamed the Wooden Hall Preachers.

Regarding the wooden halls, John Long wrote: "They were a splendid invention to preach the gospel in districts where it was hard to get Mission halls or houses, Etc. There are many buildings...and churches idle during weeks nights which would not be given to Evangelists because of ecclesiastical rules” (Journal, Sept. 1900). " one year there were at least dozen built in the British Isles. They were very laborious but a great invention and the mission work done in them was very successful and fruitful as persons came to them who would not attend any place of worship" (Journal, April 1899). However, the downside was that the wooden halls were not easy to move about. "The labour attached to it was heavy for Evangelists. It took one day for two men to take it down; one day to remove it; and it took two days to put it up, and one day to clean it, then there was occasional repairs, painting, Etc., to be done" (Journal, April 1903). Goodhand Pattison explained:

"It would probably be in the second year after the Cloughjordan Mission when the Methodist ministers and leaders having taken great offense at the turn things had taken were now refusing admission to chapels, schoolrooms or other buildings over which they had control, and while as yet there were pretty large numbers interested and accessible outside Methodism... So the idea of moveable wooden halls took hold of a few...

"We all thought the Irish Evangelistic Societies' halls too big and too elaborate, and Mr. Buckley gave some useful hints, which together with some plans of Mr. Irvine's own, were principally acted on, and the first hall was built in our yard mostly by amateur labor, including, I think John Cavanagh, W. Williams, John Sullivan, Henry Culbert and others and cost in all, outside the labor, about 30 pounds. Its first move for service was Finnoe...Not long after building the first hall, a second was built in Mr. Cooke's premises in Moneygall, engineered and superintended by John Sullivan, who doubtless took a full share of workmanship also, being even then more than half a carpenter, although teaching his school most successfully." (G. P., Accounts of Early Days).

Wm Irvine appeared to be supervisor of the building as well as being in charge of the movement of the wooden halls. Bright Words reported: "Pilgrim Irvine is in the south of Ireland. We have not had regular reports from him lately, but he has been building two movable wooden Halls, and has also had meetings at Cloughjordan, Roscrea, Moneygall, Kildare...he writes of them as a great success..." (BW, 1900).  Description by the Impartial Reporter:

"The customary sleepiness of the village of Ballinamallard was awakened on Sunday afternoon by a party of religious enthusiasts variously called Cooneyites, Tramps, or Pilgrims, who entered the village on brakes and cars singing hymns. The occasion was the opening of a wooden hall erected on what is known as ‘The Commons.’ It is a comfortable building possessing four windows, lighted by two lamps, and heated with a suitable stove. Seating accommodation is commensurate with the intended requirements, and the hall is nicely boarded inside, but the entire structure is unadorned with paint, the principal thing which enhances it being the clean entrance thereto and the ample ventilation" (IR, Feb. 16, 1905).

The special correspondent of the Morning Leader writing from Ipswich commented on the wooden hall used by Wilson McClung and his wife Annie to hold meetings: "Chapels and schoolrooms having been denied them, they appealed to headquarters in Belfast, with the result that Belfast sent them a collapsible, portable chapel big enough to hold 60 souls. That chapel now stands on a waste corner of ground near the Dery Road Station. It is a black shed, with a tin roof, and its doors are ornamented with big posters announcing that: JESUS Will be preached in THIS HALL NIGHTLY. COME, HEAR, AND THINK! The chief missioner is a bearded Irishman named McClung, who is assisted by his wife and one or two newly-made Tramps" (IR, June 21, 1906).

The wooden halls were not appreciated by all the workers--Edward Cooney objected to their use. He thought using them showed a lack of faith in God (Selected Letters of Fred Wood, Edited by Patricia Roberts, p. 57).

The wooden halls gave way to tents and as recently as the 1960's, some workers in the Southern USA and perhaps elsewhere occasionally used portable tent baches to hold gospel meetings and to live in. See Photo of a portable tent/bach. 

1899, SEPTEMBER - FAITH MISSION ANNUAL CONFERENCE was held for a week at their headquarters in Rothesay, Scotland. "The whole staff of Pilgrims, and Prayer Union representatives, auxiliary workers, etc. gathered together and spent a week in prayer, praise, and preaching, together with setting and arranging for future service, companions and districts" (Journal, Sept. 1899). Wm. Irvine, John Long, Miss Falkiner and possibly May Carroll attended. John Long does not mention the annual Rothesay Conventions for 1898 or 1900.

1898 & 1899 - INCREASE IN FAITH MISSION WORKERS:  During the years 1898 and 1899, Faith Mission had thirty (30) new workers join them as Pilgrims (15 per year).  There were only 2 new workers each year for the two years before and after 1898 and 1899.

1899 - ELIZABETH PENDREIGH resigned from the Faith Mission in 1899. She had been a FM Pilgrim for seven years, since April 20, 1892. Her name and work was often mentioned in Bright Words, preaching in the South of Ireland where Wm. Irvine was her Superintendent.  She and Ms. M'Lean helped with the Nenagh Revival and other Co. Tipperary Missions that were so successful. Between 1899 and 1901, she married and gave birth to a son. The 1901 Irish Census shows her to be from Scotland; married to Thomas A. Betty, a Co. Fermanagh farmer, and with a son named Moore (no age given--perhaps under 1 yr?). Tom Betty was a long-time friend of Edward Cooney.  On the 1905 Workers List, Tom is shown as entering the work in 1905; Elizabeth's name is not on the list.  However, she joined him later and they worked as a married worker couple in Wm. Irvine's movement, and are both shown on the 1921 Staffordshire Workers Convention Photo/List. Impartial Reporter reported their preaching in Enniskillen in Jan. 1903.

1899, OCTOBER 11 - MAY CARROLL BECOMES FAITH MISSION PILGRIM.  May Carroll spent about four years preaching for the Faith Mission, beginning on October 11, 1899 (Bright Words, Nov/Dec 1900).  May was probably the first of Irvine's female converts to become a sister worker. May was not credited on the 1905 Workers List for the four years she spent in Faith Mission, although some brother workers were credited with years they spent in Todd's Mission or Faith Mission. The 1905 Workers List shows the first three females to enter the work were sisters Emma and Jennie Gill and Sara Rogers in 1900. May left Faith Mission in Nov. 1903 and is shown on the 1905 Workers List as entering the work in 1903.

Miss Tillie Thompson, Secretary for The Faith Mission, wrote: "Mae Carroll joined The Faith Mission on October 11, 1899, and it is intimated in our magazine that she left in November, 1903, and 'joined Mr. Irvine's band of workers.' We can find no record that any other members of the Carroll family were in The Faith Mission" (letter to Cherie Kropp dated Oct. 30, 1991*). View Photo of May Carroll.

Thomas Turner and Alex Given/Givan entered the work in 1899 and together went to pioneer the West Cork area which produced some highly successful missions, as well as more converts who wanted to go in the work on Faith Lines.  G. Pattison wrote: "Tom [Turner] and Alex [Givan] went to my old home at Inchinadreen, Dunmanway, [Co. Cork, Ire.] very soon after, where in a sense they may be called the pioneer apostles to West Cork, opening up and having meetings all around Dunmanway, Lisbealid, Drinagh, Kilmeen, etc." (G. P. Account of the Early Days).

Wm. Irvine experimented with the concept of solely using Faith Lines and some of his converts were moved to do likewise.  In Oct. 1899 Irvine led a group of eight or nine young men to Scotland with their bicycles on an experimental preaching tour, putting into practice the Matthew 10 instructions insofar as they could. These men were not Faith Mission Pilgrims and this mission trip was independent of the FM.  Reportedly, these men accepted the hospitality of FM supporters. They were successful in winning some converts (Secret Sect, by Parker p. 6).

Some view this trip as the beginning of Irvine's independent movement. Irvine well knew that Faith Mission would not approve of him encouraging, young untrained, unapproved recruits to preach independently, outside of FM supervision. Govan's position was:"No workers can be said truly to belong to the Faith Mission, unless they acknowledge our direction and adhere to the aims and principles set forth in our official pamphlet." (BW, Dec. 1903).  Official Faith Mission pamphlets left their Pilgrims with no doubt about what was expected of them. "Aims & Principles" and "Pilgrim Life" were to be read at least once a quarter.

John Long wrote: "After the convention, [FM Rothesay Conv.] William Irvine invited me over to his sister's home in Queenzieburn, Kilsyth. At the same time, he went to meet some young men that came over from Ireland, with the intention of going fully on the Lord’s work" (Journal, Oct. 1899). This expedition is known as the "1899 Bicycle Boys Trip to Scotland."

The familiar picture of eight young brother workers with their bicycles was most likely taken on this 1899 trial expedition. Someone added a notation on the picture: "Picture taken in Ireland before these men professed." The dates they entered the work, and the names of the men are given on some photo copies. They were, L to R: 1. Jack Douglas (no date given); 2. William (Willie) Gill-1900; 3. George Walker-1899; 4. John Hardie-1900; 5. William (Bill) Irvine pre-1899 ("Wm. Ervin"); 6. William (Bill) Carroll-1903; 7. Irvine Weir-1900; 8. Warren Hastings (no date given).  Neither Warren Hastings nor Jack Douglas entered the work. Some sources state that Sam Boyd also travelled on this trip (Secret Sect by Parker, p. 90).

1899, DECEMBER 26 - ST. STEPHEN'S DAY SPECIAL MEETING:  After their successful Mission in Scotland, the group returned to Nenagh where Irvine held an all-day Special Meeting on St. Stephen's Day (December 26 in Ireland, the day after Christmas). It was celebrated in honor of the life of Stephen, the first recorded Christian martyr who was stoned to death (Acts 6 & 7).

There are four times a year when Faith Mission has special meetings or conferences in Ireland: Christmas and New Year, Easter, June in Co. Donegal and on the 12th of July in various places. If this was not a Faith Mission meeting, then Irvine was going rogue by holding it.  Some view this meeting as the initial coalescing of Irvine's Movement.

Goodhand Pattison wrote about the all-day meeting held in Nenagh on December 26, 1899, and he did not describe the meeting as anything more than a large all-day Special Meeting.  He wrote:

"I remember very distinctly seeing and hearing Tom [Turner] at an all-day meeting in Nenagh Methodist Chapel on a St. Stephen's Day…Mr. and Mrs. Bailey...were also there that day and a whole crowd from Cloughjordan, Borrisokane and Finnoe, etc., as well as those belonging to Nenagh; and I believe the two Faith Mission workers were also present and spoke, viz. Miss Pendreigh who is now Mrs. Tom Betty, and a Miss McLean…of course, John Long was present and also our evangelist Mr. Gilbert, so you see the preaching side of things was well represented, although we did not call it by the high sounding name "Convention"... where also, if I mistake not, we had some from Rathmolyon for the first time (G. P. Account of the Early Days).

From the Nenagh Revival Mission in August 1897 through the early months in 1898, Irvine had been instrumental in the conversion of over 100 individuals, and many of them went into the Work then or later. His converts were busy converting more converts.  He was still preaching for the Faith Mission while many converts were looking up to him for guidance and direction, who considered him their leader and “spiritual Adam.”

JOHN LONG IS BAPTIZED:  John was raised in the Episcopal church and most likely was baptized by sprinkling as an infant.  John decided to be baptized by immersion. "I got baptized by immersion in a stream by George Grubb in Rathmolyon, May, 1900" (Journal, Jan. 1925).  He wrote: "Desiring to consecrate my life forever to God, as an act of ordinance and sanctification with the burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I got baptized by immersion, believing it to be a personal act, with personal responsibility; also leaving others to the liberty of their own conscience" (Journal, May 1900). John had a great deal of respect for Rev. George Grubb, who was a Church of Ireland evangelist and an author. Irvine's movement had not yet been organized, so they had not yet started baptisms; and the Faith Mission did not baptize converts.

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