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

Introduction Index of Chapters
Chapter Links
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Bio Truth?

Chapter 15
Revised April 19, 2018


Wm. Irvine and Others Leave Faith Mission
The Oldest Workers List, July, 1905
Breaking Away
Alfred Magowan

Workers & Saints
1902-03: Change is in the Air
1902-03: FIRST Baptisms and Rebaptisms
1902-03: FIRST Sunday Meetings in Homes

WM. IRVINE AND OTHERS LEAVE FAITH MISSION: A reporter stated the reasons Irvine left the Faith Mission:

Wm. Irvine gave up his connection with that sect for two reasons, according to my information--1st, because the leader was alleged to have been a 'hypocrite,' in that while teaching Pilgrims to live by faith he himself had over hundreds of pounds. 2nd, because Mr. Irvine's converts always lapsed and were lost among the clergy by going back to their own congregation or what is known as the churches. Consequently a small number of preachers and some from the Faith Mission, along with one named John Long (who was rejected three years ago, because he would not maintain that John Wesley had gone to hell) and about a dozen stood by Wm. Irvine" (Impartial Reporter, Aug. 25, 1910 , p. 8).

It is sometimes said that Irvine took several FM workers with him when he left FM. It has also been claimed that a split occurred between FM and Irvine and a number of disgruntled workers walked out with him. Some viewed Irvine’s movement as a spin-off, offshoot, breakaway or splinter group from the Faith Mission. 

The truth is there were NO Faith Mission Workers who left when Irvine did. Another reporter for Lloyd's Weekly quoted Irvine's reason for leaving FM in 1898 as "It was whilst I was working in the South of Ireland that I came to the conclusion that my position was still inconsistent with the example set by Christ, and I left the mission to preach alone" (Feb. 3, 1907).

The first Pilgrim who left Faith Mission and later become aligned with Wm. Irvine was John Kelly, who left AFTER Irvine–not simultaneously with Irvine. Faith Mission reported: "During the year, several have dropped out of our list of workers. Pilgrim Irvine has been working on independent lines chiefly in Ireland. Then quite recently Pilgrim Kelly has resigned, and also aligned himself with these independent workers" (BW, Sept. 1901).

The Official List of All Faith Mission Workers shows Wm. Irvine left in Jan. 1901, with the notation: “founded Cooneyites in S. Ireland,” and shows John Kelly left in Sept. 1901 with the notation: “joined Cooneyites.” A disclaimer by Faith Mission General Director Keith H. Percival states: "This list was compiled by Mr. John Eberstein, former president of Faith Mission, who through research has produced a list of the early workers in the Faith Mission; giving details of when they joined the Mission, the date they left, and giving notes as to what happened to them after that."  In other words, this list wasn't maintained and updated over the years as the events took place, but rather it was compiled by someone looking back through the old FM records.

WHO WERE THE FAITH MISSION WORKERS WHO JOINED IRVINE?  Altogether, there were six Faith Mission pilgrim workers who joined Irvine's group over a span of two to six years. They were: John Kelly, Harry McNeary, May Carroll, Alexander "Sandy" Hinds, Joe Burns and Elizabeth (Pendreigh) Betty.

Left 1901 - 1 left 9 months AFTER Irvine; and joined him in 1901 or 1902 (Kelly)
Left 1900 - 1 left 1 month  AFTER Irvine; and joined him in 1905 (Burns-4 years later)
Left 1903 - 1 left 3 years   AFTER Irvine; and joined him in 1903 (May Carroll)
Left 1903 - 1 left 3 years   AFTER Irvine; and joined him in 1903 (Sandy Hinds–not on the 1905 Workers List)

Left 1900 - 1 left 1 year BEFORE Irvine; and joined him in 1903 (McNeary-4 years later)
Left 1899 - 1 left 2 years BEFORE Irvine ( Elizabeth Pendreigh married Tom Betty and they became a married worker pair in 1905)

As can be seen above, Irvine left alone. 


Elizabeth (Pendreigh) Betty:
  Elizabeth entered the FM in 1892 and left Aug. 8, 1899. For her last two years at FM, she was working in the South of Ireland and Irvine was her Superintendent. She married Thomas (Tom) Andrew Betty in 1899. Tom was a Methodist farmer in Belnaleck, Co. Fermanagh when he heard the gospel.  The 1905 Workers List does not show her name; however, her husband Tom is shown as entering the work in 1905.  She is quoted in the Impartial Reporter newspaper in Jan. 15, 1903. The February 16, 1905 Impartial Reporter mentions Mr. & Mrs. Betty. They preached as a married worker couple. They had three sons named Moore, John and Thomas. They are shown on the 1921 Staffordshire Worker Convention photograph as Nos. 73, 101.  He is buried in Arbory, Isle of Man, Ireland in 1939, aged 76. She died Jan. 9, 1952 in Welland, Ontario, Canada. She and Tom Betty both remained 2x2 workers all their lives.

Alexander (Sandy/Alex) Hinds was born Feb. 27, 1870, in Co. Antrim, Ire. and is shown on the Official List of Faith Mission Workers as joining the FM on March 25, 1899, and leaving in 1903 “to become a Cooneyite.” In 1909, according to the 1912-13 QLD Workers List, he was preaching in Queensland, Australia. He left the Work and also the 2x2 Sect sometime prior to 1914, and married Julia English on Sept. 17, 1914 in QLD.  In 1936, Sandy and Irvine reconnected and he became a follower of Irvine's later beliefs, called his Omega Message. He died on March 17, 1938. Irvine wrote: "Sandy Hinds died suddenly...he had suffered from high blood pressure...I had known him for 40 years. He was and has been very loyal since hearing the Message two years ago..." (letter to Edwards, April 23, 1938*).

In 1928, John Kelly, Harry McNeary and Joe Burns eventually left the 2x2 ministry, the same year Edward Cooney was expelled from the ministry.

Adam Hutchison has been erroneously linked to the Faith Mission due to the incorrect statement that he was formerly a "colporteur under The Faith Mission" printed in Review of Hymns for Hymns Old & New, 1951 Ed. However, Hutchison is not listed on the FM Staff of Worker Lists, and the Faith Mission didn't use colporteurs--the Methodist Church did. John Townend, General Director of the Faith Mission: " ...checked our membership records from the Mission's inception in 1886 through to 1930 and cannot find any reference to an Adam Hutchison. I would therefore suggest that it is unlikely that he worked with the Faith Mission" (Email to Cherie Kropp dated Sept. 1, 2008*).

Robert R. and Jeanie Todd left Faith Mission in 1897, long before Irvine left; and they never joined Irvine’s movement. They maintained an association with Irvine and operated Todd’s Mission, until 1901 when Todd abandoned it.

Mary (May) Georgina Carroll was born on Sept. 2, 1879, at Newtown, Moynalty, Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland.  She died in Alameda, California, U.S. 1961, aged 82, and is buried in Pinelawn section of Sunset View Mortuary and Cemetery in El Cerrito, CA (formerly Albany). See photo of grave. Findagrave.  She professed in the 1897 Nenagh meeting held by Irvine. She joined FM in Oct. 1899 and left October 30, 1903, to become a Worker in Irvine's movement.  She, along with her sister Frances (Fanny), and two brothers, Jack and Bill, along with Bill's wife, Maggie, were all in the work until their deaths.

 THE OLDEST WORKERS LIST is titled List of the First Workers at July 1905. So far, this is the earliest Workers List found. Numerous copies have turned up in various formats. In comparing the 12 different copies, the names of Wm. Irvine and John Kelly are consistently shown at the top as the first two workers. The dates they entered the work are left blank on nine lists; one list shows 1897 and another list shows 1899. 

The 1905 Workers List supports the view that John Kelly was the first Faith Mission worker to leave and join Wm. Irvine. If there had been any other Faith Mission workers to leave around the same time as Irvine, their names would most likely have been listed at the top along with Irvine and Kelly’s names.

The first four workers on the 1905 Workers List are shown to have entered the work during 1899 and 1900. During this period, Wm. Irvine's name was still on the Faith Mission Location of Workers Lists, although often there was no location or companion listed by his name.

Four men who later bacame workers sojourned with Todd's Mission at times during the years 1897 – 1901, Turner, Hardie, Givan and Jackson, are also listed on the 1905 Workers List as being among Wm. Irvine’s workers at the same time. So it seems that the time these Workers spent in Todd’s Mission was credited to them in Wm. Irvine’s movement. Some other Workers were "grandfathered in." However, May Carroll’s time in Faith Mission was not credited to her length of service.

BREAKING AWAY:  Prior to Irvine separating from the Faith Mission , there was no other movement in the UK or Ireland similar to the Sect he founded, where Workers left all and preached on Faith Lines.

According to John G. Eberstein: "...Wm. Irvine formed the breakaway movement. There was certainly no movement of that kind over here before that, nor did I know of any other movement over here to have existed before Irvine advocated 'leaving all' to follow the Lord” (Former President of Faith Mission, letter to Jim Vail March 22, 1989*).

Rev. Colin N. Peckham: “From these references, you can see that William Irvine definitely did not leave the Faith Mission to take over or become a part of an existing ministry. There certainly was no movement of that kind existing over here before Irvine's break-away movement. As William Irvine spent some time in the Faith Mission before leaving it, there is no possibility that he founded the Cooneyite Sect before 1886, as it was in October 1886, that John George Govan began the Faith Mission” (Rev. Colin N. Peckham, Principal Faith Mission; Author of Heritage of Revival, a book about history of FM; letter to Cherie Kropp dated May 29, 1991).

"William Irvine, one of the founders of the Go-Preachers’ Society, said it was Protestant evangelical...In cross-examination witness [Wm. Irvine] said he had never known of a new sect being founded without opposition” (IR, July 17, 1913).

1902:  Tthe coronation of King Edward VII at Westminster Abbey was celebrated in the United Kingdom in 1902.

1902 - ENNISCORTHY CONVENTION in Co. Wexford, Ireland. G. Pattison wrote: “I believe two Conventions had been held in Rathmolyon and one in Enniscorthy, none of which I attended” (G. P., Account of the Early Days and Fn. 49)

1902: DERRYGONNELLY CONVENTION in Co. Fermanagh was held in a wooden hall, according to a list of Irish "Early Conventions."  The Fermanagh Times reported about two Pilgrim ladies, the "Misses Dogherty," who stirred up the residents of Derrygonnelly (Fermanagh Times1902, April 10, 1902, April 17,   1902, April 24,  1902, May 1,   1902, July 24).

1902 or 1903, JULY - PORTADOWN CONVENTION in Co. Armagh, Ireland.  A heading in G. Pattison's Account gives the year for this convention as 1903, whereas John Long and Alfred Magowan give the year as 1902. Pattison wrote: "…It would probably be within 4 or 5 years from the start when a Convention was arranged for Portadown (Co. Armagh, N. Ireland) in a hall…I made it my business to be at that convention..." NOTE:  The headings and footnotes in the Pattison Account were not included on the original Account and may not be accurate (G. P., Account of the Early Days).

Long wrote: "Joseph Kerr and I went to a Conference held in Portadown; about sixty workers met together to consider missions, doctrines, companions, etc. also to exhort one another in the Lord our God"  (Journal, June 1902).  Referring to this convention, Alfred Magowan wrote: "My own experience goes back to 1902, and my most real recollection of fellowship was that gathering in Portadown 28 or 29 years ago" (letter to Wilson McClung, Jan. 21, 1931).  

1902: (23) more entered the work, including Sam Jones, the hymn writer; for a cumulative total of 51 workers.  The new workers were 10 sisters and 13 brothers. They were (Brothers):  Ed Armstrong, George Beattie, John Breen, Tom Elliot, Chas. Glenn, Charles Guy, John Hume, Adam Hutchison, Sam Jones, Joe Kerr, Robert McClure, Richard Meikle, Bob Skerritt; (Sisters): Lizzie Boyd, Nellie Cooper, Mrs. Ellen Elliot, Laura Falkiner, Dora/Dot Holland, Mary Knox, Maggie McCauley, Maggie McDougal, Mary Moodie and Mary Spence.

In 1902, John Hardie and Sandy Alexander had a very successful mission in the coal mining town of Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, and half the local church professed and all of the choir, including Sam McCracken's mother's family.

JOHN ALFRED MAGOWAN was 19 when he professed in 1902 in a mission held by Joe Kerr and Edward Cooney in the Balteagh School, Co. Armagh, N. Ireland. He entered the work in North America sometime around 1907.  He is shown with John Burns as his companion on the List of Workers at the 1907 Pittsburgh & Chicago USA Conventions. His nickname is "Alphie," and his surname is sometimes misspelled "McGowan" or "McGowen."

Alfred (age 24) had $5.00 in his pocket when he and John Burns (age 19) held their first mission in Kentucky in Oct. 1907 (letter to Willie Hughes, July 1, 1957).  He preached for a number of years in Indiana.  In 1917, he married sister worker Sarah K. Dawson, also from Ireland. They may have continued preaching as a married worker couple for a couple of years afterwards. In 1919, Alfred was excommunicated from the 2x2 fellowship by Jack Carroll, Geo. Walker and James Jardine at the Illinois Convention. Sarah died in 1934, aged 52. In 1939, Alfred married Isobel Waugh. They had four sons and made their home near Portadown, Co. Armagh, N. Ireland. Alfred was a prolific letter writer and published some essays and a hymnbook.

In 1953, Alfred Magowan wrote a reminiscence in which he explained the nature of Irvine’s experiment and the revolutionary spirit of Irvine's movement which prompted young men and women to offer their lives for the harvest field.

“It was a revolution against the respectable and comfortable members of the community who, while claiming to be Christians, were in high positions, looking down on the improvidence of the poor. Many of us were moved to go forth….We forsook all we had. We emptied ourselves of all worldly ambition….We were so zealous that no arguments against us could have made the slightest effect. Minds were unalterable and irrevocably made up. The need seemed so great. It was a chance to live heroically in an age afflicted with dullness….We were fanatical….We believed that we were the last hope of the world and that ours was an honest-hearted revolt. We set out to form a brotherhood where all would be equal. We wanted to break from all tradition and become a people neither Catholic nor Protestant with no regulations, no authority, no machinery or human control, to be free to serve God and make people free like ourselves. We put all worldly ambition behind us, none of this world’s satisfactions or regards held any attraction, we had no theology to propound, no congregations to please, we saw ourselves as workers, but not bosses” (Secret Sect by Parker, p. 26, Fn. 10).  Click here to read more about Alfred Magowan.

WORKERS & SAINTS.  Some have the misconception that in the beginning of the Sect, ALL converts became Workers and there was no place for Saints, Friends or laymen. However, this is not true. For the first five to six 6 years, from 1897 through 1902, Irvine's group consisted of (1) recruiters, called "Workers" or "Servants" and (2) converts or laymen called "Friends" or "Saints." 

Some who were converted followers, but did not become Workers were G. Pattison and wife; John and Sara West (owners of Crocknacrieve Convention grounds); Wm. West and some of his family. There were also those who were too old to be Workers (parents and grandparents, etc.) and some who were too young, such as Fannie Carroll, who was 14 when she professed. Many of the family members of those who became Workers were Saints, such as the Gill, Carroll and Hastings families in Rathmolyon.

Ed Cooney referred to the two classes as "fellow workers and saints."  He wrote, "...please note that I am not a Cooneyite, but a Christian. Those in fellowship with me as fellow Workers and Saints are not Cooneyites, but Christians"  (Fermanagh Times, April 18, 1907). Cooney also referred to the worker as "Servants" (IR, July 18, 1907). Looking back, Alfred Magowan wrote to Cooney: "Our division of disciples into saints and servants worked out very badly from its beginning" (Alfred Magowan's letter to Edward Cooney, Nov. 7, 1953). In the Author's opinion, there does not appear to be any basis for the statement that in the beginning, all converts became Workers and there were no Saints.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND that during the first five to six years after the group's inception in 1897, the Workers and their converts did not assemble in homes to worship. The movement was not yet a church or sect–they were still a movement or a mission. The converts continued to attend the Protestant churches of their choice. They did not separate from other denominations until sometime in 1902-03 (Journal, June 1898). On the 1901 Irish Census, many converts stated their religion as Presbyterian, Methodist, Church of Ireland, etc. Up until 1905, they accepted other Christians and Christian clergymen as saved and recognized their baptisms.

During this time period (1897–1903), evangelists and preachers of other Christian denominations were looked upon as fellow labourers in Christ. It was not uncommon for the workers to invite other preachers to speak in their special meetings. Several times John Long lists in his Journal, the names of preachers outside their movement who were speakers at their Special Meetings. Also, some of the Workers attended the Keswick Conventions in England, where there were preachers from numerous denominations. Their viewpoint at that time was expressed by John Long: "The Salvation of the Soul is by grace through faith to everyone that repents and believes in Christ Jesus; and the experience, testimony and fruits of many clergymen bear witness to the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. Up to that time they all believed that" (Journal, July 1905).

1902-03: CHANGE IS IN THE AIR. As mentioned above, in the Early Days, the Workers were chiefly evangelists or revivalists who held missions. They were not a church and had had not YET established churches in the homes. They did not baptize or marry others or serve communion. Their mission was to bring souls to Christ. Period. "We had only one commission and that was to make disciples as we had been made; and we had only one authority, viz., if the Lord was with us, we would so live and speak that He would use us in getting people saved. And as they listened to us they would recognize the voice of Him because of the anointing. That was the simple outline in the days of our beginning" (Alfred Magowan, letter to Wilson McClung, Jan. 21, 1931).

As time marched on and as the need arose, Irvine and his Workers developed their teachings (doctrine), the rituals they would use and their traditions. Ed Cooney appropriately called it "groping their way." Their methods and beliefs evolved. Irvine did not all at once receive from God a complete set of plans and instructions on how to assemble the 2x2 ministry and Church. It wasn't like when God gave Moses the exact plans for building the tabernacle; or David the plans to build the temple; or Noah to build the ark.

The movement was NOT "the same yesterday, today and forever."  It was a work in progress. The Go-Preachers re-evaluated their methods, remodeled and made changes from time to time. These changes were duly noted in the Impartial Reporter. "They have changed from their methods two years ago...There is another change. Mr. Cooney was at one time of the opinion that a man should give all that he possessed to the poor. The logical outcome of that argument would be that there would in that case be no one to support the Tramps; and whatever caused the change of opinion, that doctrine is not now preached. There is more light on it, though the Scriptures remain the same as two years ago." (IR, Oct. 13, 1904). The reporter would have observed at the large Crocknacrieve convention held earlier that year that there were numerous Saints to support the Workers/Tramps.

1902, JULY:  FIRST BAPTISMS AND RE-BAPTISMS.  Up until this time, "They did not teach the ordinances of Believer's Baptism, and the Lord's supper. The cause of this was they maintained their mission to be unsectarian..." (Journal, Sept 1899).  This changed. G. Pattison wrote about the 1902 Portadown Convention where:

"Not long after my arrival, perhaps the next day, Messrs. Irvine and Cooney together spoke to me on the subject of baptism, as at that convention for the first time to my knowledge, they started to baptise… I did not see my way clear just then to be baptized, thinking if I would get it done at all, it would be better at home...I may here say in passing that the subject of baptism before this time formed no part of William Irvine's teachings. In fact, I believe if at any time he did mention it in public it was in terms of distinct opposition, but probably as he and Eddie got around meeting one and another, especially a section of the Plyms [Plymouth Brethren] who were very strong on the subject, they saw the Scripture was on the Plym's side, and so were led to adopt the practice, as also in the matter of forming churches, both of which then were a good bit of a surprise to me; and...did not altogether meet with my approval being, as I then thought, just another attempt at forming a 'new party' " (G. P., Account of the Early Days).

A newspaper reported:  "One of the many schisms and heresies which have come under notice in this neighbourhood lately, in the re-baptism by laymen of persons who have already received baptism in their infancy. No one could reasonably object to any laymen endeavouring by elementary preaching or teaching to convert sinful people from the error of their ways...but the re-baptizing of those who have been already baptized is quite another matter and a very serious error….We object to this new doctrine that baptized persons should be re-baptized by laymen. There is not a single instance in the Bible that such a ceremony was ever performed by the Lord, or by his disciples, or by any of the Apostles.

"This re-baptising of baptised persons is one of the modern errors of the Church of Rome. It is done in scornful rejection of the claim of any one to be a Christian who is outside the membership of that Church. They admit that baptism may not be expected, but, in their opinion, heretical baptism is not true baptism....Therefore, on the ground that this former baptism was null and void, they confer what they call true baptism" (IR, Nov. 10, 1904).

DESCRIPTIONS OF BAPTISMS. Ourdoor baptisms in public waters by immersion was quite uncommon at that time. The curious public came out in droves to watch the unusual spectacle of a "Dipping," and nicknamed the converts the "Dippers." Sometimes at the baptism ceremonies, there was scoffing, laughing, jeering, shrieking, taunting and even sticks, mud and refuse were thrown which sometimes caused injuries and/or loss. Once onlookers "enticed a number of several dogs to enter in the midst of the converts" at the baptismal ceremony. Police had to intervene at times. At a baptism in Belfast:

"...some unruly boys congregated at the point where the converts enter the water for baptism. Many of the youngsters waded far our into the tide, and as the converts were conducted out to where there was a sufficient depth of water, they were subjected to a good deal of ridicule, while mud and dirt was thrown at them, and water was splashed over their forms, much to their discomfort" (Irish Independent, August 14, 1906).

"The first female candidate for the immersion process...was led by two of the leaders of the sect into the water until it reached well above the knees, and underwent complete immersion. In her efforts to rise, the woman slipped from the arms of her supporters, and received a second involuntary immersion, amidst the jeers and laughter of the unsympathetic section of the onlookers" (Irish Independent, June 6, 1905*).

"The leader went into the river breast deep, and several ladies in flannelette gowns were passed over to him. Each in turn was plunged under the water, and the throng of spectators shrieked with laughter as the shivering 'converts' were escorted to a house close by" (Irish Independent, May 2, 1905, p. 5).

The first baptism reported by the Impartial Reporter was June 2, 1904, and took place at Strangford Lough, Newtownards. Subsequently, numerous baptisms held in the Enniskillen area were reported in detail, accompanied by illustrations. The illustrations are in the TTT Photo Gallery. There are four: Select "next."

"Ballinamallard has become the Jerusalem of Pilgrim Tramps, and the Ballycassidy River their Jordan. Last Sunday witnessed the baptism of about 27 Tramps, male and female, and the unusual scene was witnessed by a crowd of interested spectators" (IR, Sept. 29, 1904).

LOCATION OF COONEY'S HOLE: "...baptisms took place in the Ballinamallard River on a Sabbath evening in September, 1904, and drew a large crowd of onlookers. These took place...behind what was then the creamery, now the Masonic Hall. This place in future years would be known locally as ‘Cooney’s Hole’" (Ballinamallard--A Place of Importance, Ballinamallard Historical Society, 2004, p. 66).  Masonic Hall No. 315 has existed at the Baragh Road location since 1903.  A Newspaper's description of a baptism:

"Ballinamallard was the scene of another ‘dipping’ on Sunday last...The scene was the same, that bend of the river which is now called ‘Cooney’s Hole’ locally…A large number of people congregated on both sides of the river waiting for the ‘moving of the waters'.…The dipping was then proceeded with. The workers formed two lines, as before, singing verses of well-known hymns; the men, young and old, and the girls, to be immersed, having undressed at the mill close by, walked or ran to the modern Bethabara, and, passing through the singing lines of comrades, were received by Mr. Thomas Elliott, and dipped in water as cold as 53 degrees Fahrenheit, while he announced that they were baptised in the name of the Trinity" (IR, Oct. 6, 1904).

"The ‘dipping’ was to take place at the White Pillar...Mr. Cooney and his disciples...proceeded in procession, sisters first and brothers last...The processionists wended their way...singing hymns, while under some of their arms, parcels were carried, which contained their bathing apparel. A large crowd followed them. Arriving at the White Pillar a ring was formed, and proceedings began, with the singing of a hymn, after which Mr. Cooney began...stating that...when Jesus came upon this earth that He was despised. He advised them to pull down their barns, sell all they had, and insinuated that they should follow him...he was glad to say he had been married to Jesus Christ twenty years ago, and had not been divorced yet...he called upon some around him to give their testimony, which calling was obeyed.  More 'Songs of Victory' were then sung...a large number left him and proceeded to an oblong tent that was erected on the grass not far from the water, in which they were to undress. Cooney in the meantime still conducted his meeting. At last ten males emerged from the tent, and forced their way through the crowd clad in their semmets and an old pair of trousers…Their leader waded up till nearly waist deep, and stopped, facing the shore. After a few preliminaries...they were thrown on their back and completely immersed, one by one…After this they formed in procession and proceeded up the road, followed by the police and a large crowd, and so ended Sunday’s performance" (IR, June 2, 1904). See PHOTO GALLERY for Baptism Sketches.

"The party congregated near the bank of the river and sang a hymn, while those to be immersed undressed themselves in a barn at the mill.  As the neophytes approached, the party divided itself into two lines in semi-military fashion, and a Mr. Robert Elliott, formerly of the Dairies, near Derrygonnelly, a strong man of powerful build, clad in woollen shirt and trousers, entered the water up to his waist, while the neophytes came one by one through the living lane made for them. First came five young men, and Mr. Elliott, repeating the name of the person to be immersed, said—‘I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and Holy Ghost.’  He then ducked the neophyte completely under the water, neatly, and without splashing; his great strength enabled him to restore the ducked person to an erect position again easily....Notwithstanding the exhortation not to scoff, some young men were provoked to laughter by the splashing of some of the girls in recovering the erect position, which caused a Scotch Pilgrim subsequently to warn these young men that they would have to answer for it on the Day of Judgment.  By this time another number of young men had caught the enthusiasm of the moment, and they also decided to be dipped, so that on the whole 27 people received the act of immersion" (IR., Sept. 29, 1904;). Read entire description.

Tom Elliott was selected to do much of the baptising, probably due in part to his physique, and was nicknamed, "Tom the Baptist."  Possibly Thomas and Robert Elliott were to the same man, mentioned in the above articles. There was no worker named Robert Elliott on the 1905 Workers List. According to Patricia Roberts, "It was Tom who baptised them all" (Life & Ministry of Edward Cooney, by Roberts, p. 153).

Perhaps Tom was not always available, for John West, owner of the Crocknacrieve convention, did the baptizing at one of Ed Cooney's missions in Enniskillen (Fermanagh Herald, June 10, 1905, p. 4).

Whether Wm. Irvine was baptized other than as an infant has not been verified. George Gittins, a brother worker, recounts: “In talking to others since, I heard of workers talking to some workers from Canada here that witnessed the baptism of Wm. in truth, which was most interesting” (George Gittins' letter to Dale Knott, May 18, 1992*). "Robert Darling told me...I also talked to some of the friends who had witnessed William Irvine's baptism in the Truth. He had been baptized in the Faith Mission, where he had been a member and a preacher, but he disregarded this” (G. Gittins' letter to Nathan Barker, 2002*). NOTE: Faith Mission does not baptize; they are evangelist/missionaries only.

For additional articles on baptism scenes see the following newspaper issues:
Impartial Reporter: June 2, 1904 - October 13, 1904 - October 20, 1904 - October 27, 1904 - November 10, 1904
Fermanagh Times: March 14, 1907; Irish Independent: August 20, 1907.

1902-03: FIRST SUNDAY MORNING MEETINGS. The Go-Preachers received some strong criticism because they did not administer the sacrament of communion. The Impartial Reporter Editor objected on the following grounds:

“But there is harm also, as we have indicated, and above all, of their ignoring the solemn rite of the Lord’s Supper commanded by the Lord himself. What excuse can possibly be offered for ignoring the most solemn and sacred of all Christian institutions we cannot tell. Mr. Cooney says, ‘I am commissioned:’ no one knows who commissioned him: and no one knows who commissioned his followers or any of preachers to disregard the command—‘As oft as ye do this, do it in remembrance of Me.’ No excuse that we know of can be urged for the serious offence of avoiding the Lord’s Supper” (IR, Oct. 27, 1904).

John Long wrote: "About that time Edward Cooney began to baptise his converts and form assemblies according to the model in the Acts, namely meeting together on the first day of the week for fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. The opposition against the work from the clergy and churches rendered it necessary to reform, also the responsibility of shepherding young converts. William Irvine shrank from this great and responsible undertaking; but afterwards went into it. This produced fresh opposition especially when important persons left their churches to go in with an improved testimony" (Journal, July 1902).

At the 1903 Portadown Convention, G. Pattison reported:  "I did attend a church meeting held somewhere in the neighborhood - in the town by Eddie [Cooney], who had been having a mission there shortly before and probably had already been forming churches" (G. P. Account of Early Days, Portadown Convention 1903).

Soon after, a Sunday meeting would be placed in G. Pattison's home. John Long wrote: "At Wm. Irvine's request I went to Co. Tipperary and baptized many disciples; and helped to form there assemblies. One in Cloughjordan in the home of Goodhand Pattison; also in the home of Falkiners, Hillsborough, Borrisokane; and in the home of Hodgins, Lorrha" (Journal, Aug. 1903).

John Long wrote in July 1903:  "After that we went to a Convention in Rathmolyon.  From that time all the workers began to baptize, and separate their converts; form them into assemblies to meet together on the first day of the week for fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers, Acts 2:42. Also, they appointed bishops, or elders over them.  William Irvine emphasized separation but not exclusiveness.  It was from that conference a few workers including William Irvine, went to America for a gospel tour" (Journal, July 1903).

Two places are credited with being the location of the "FIRST" Sunday fellowship meeting to ever be held. One location is the Crocknacrieve gate lodge in Ballinamallard, and the other is over Weir's Store at 21 Upper Baggott Street in Dublin. "In 1901 John West bought Crocknacrieve House, and the following year [1902-03] the first Cooneyite camp meetings were held in the gate lodge." The gate lodge is a very small building at the entrance to the Crocknacrieve land. View Photo. Since the first Crocknacrieve convention was held in 1904, this "camp meeting" did not refer to a convention, but rather to a Sunday fellowship meeting (Ballinamallard--A Place of Importance, by Ballinamallard Historical Society, 2004).

It is commonly believed in Ireland that the first fellowship meeting in Dublin took place over Weirs Hardware Store in the home of Wm. C. & Susan Weir. Whether one of these was the very first fellowship meeting EVER to be held, or the first meeting to be held in that particular area is unknown to the Author. The Weir Store building is in good condition and is being used today as a retail variety store. The author walked through the store in Aug. 2004 and again in 2014 and obtained a brochure about the business and building which is reprinted in the TTT Photo Gallery. View a photo of Weirs Store. The Weir family lived over their store. There were ten surviving children in the Weir family. Reportedly, Sister Worker Edie Weir left the Work due to rheumatic fever, and lived above Weirs Store until her death. Irvine Weir was one of the first Workers to go to America, and he also pioneered in California. Harry Weir married Agnes Carroll.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT MEETINGS (aka Prayer Meetings): Reportedly, the reason Wednesday night Meetings were instituted was to keep the Friends busy during the week so they would not backslide to their former churches for social activities. At the turn of the century, Wednesday night was usually when Protestant church members came together for socials, held barn dances, played bridge, etc. Workers decided to add a competing meeting on the same night to keep the Friends occupied (per source's worker relatives who were there at the time of the decision and passed this information down in their family).

It wasn't until 1907 that the first references to church meetings being held in homes turned up in the Impartial Reporter. Ed Cooney mentioned that “The first Christians met in the homes of saints…the true church is a man’s home” (IR, Aug. 12, 1909). “Mr. Cooney declaimed against church buildings because Christ brake bread and gave wine in disciples’ houses. He preached in the houses of saints. That was God’s way…” (IR, Aug. 5, 1909). Taking the emblems at the Sunday meeting of the 1907 Crocknacrieve Convention was described in detail:

"At the conclusion of the morning service last Sunday morning the ‘Tramps’ celebrated Holy Communion. The service was quaint. There was no bright silver chalice for the wine, or was the bread cut in small pieces and neatly arranged on a silver paten. No one presided at the ceremony. The ‘Tramps’ sat in the large tent where they dine and hold their meetings. Thanks having been offered up by Mr. Edward Cooney, bread was handed round by men workers (women workers never take any part in the ceremony except to receive Communion) to those present. A loaf is cut into six parts, and one of these parts is given to each row. The first person receiving the bread breaks off a small piece and eats it, passing on the bread to the next, who also breaks off a piece and hands it on to his neighbour, and so on. After the bread has thus been passed round and eaten, the wine is sent round. The wine is in ordinary earthenware jugs and is poured into mugs which are then handed round. There was no singing at the ceremony. No one spoke or made a sound while the bread and wine were being passed round" (IR, July 25, 1907).

NOTE: Some mistakenly believe home Meetings began to be held in the year 1908, derived from Parker's statement: “...Irvine and Cooney both apparently experienced inward conflict over the matter of the emergence of congregations for some years, until 1908 when Irvine sanctioned house church meetings, and the body of believers was divided officially into saints and workers" (Secret Sect by Parker, pp. 24-25). However, neither John Long's Journal nor Goodhand Pattison's Account of the Early Days were available to Parker when his book was published. Both of these primary sources give the date Sunday meetings were established in homes of members as actually 1902-03.

With the establishment of churches in the home, Irvine's movement became a new sect. They were no longer unsectarian.

Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted.

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