The Life & Ministry of William Irvine
Revised April 21, 2013
The Australian State Elders (Overseers)
1939: Arthur McCoy's Grievance
1947-1952: The Ron Campbell Controversy
1951: The Purging in South Australia
1955: The Purge in Victoria
November 13, 1953 - Burial of William (Bill) Carroll
1954 Guildford Meeting & Report
1904, JULY: THE FIRST TWO WORKERS TO GO TO AUSTRALIA: John Hardie/Hardie and Sandy Alexander arrived on July 24, 1904, in Melbourne, New South Wales on the ship Medic, according to an Account titled "John Hardie - Concerning His Arrival in Australia and New Zealand." The pioneering workers who were the first workers to go to the various Australian states are discussed in Chapter 6, and in these articles:
Australia - Clem Geue Speaks About Sam Jones
Australia, South Australia: The Bethel Mission, South Australia, 1910
Australia, Western Australia - The Work of the Gospel and Conventions in Western Australia
Australia, Queensland - Pioneering Ways of the Gospel in Queensland, Australia
Australia & New Zealand - FIRST Pioneering Workers to Australia & NZ
Australia & New Zealand - Adam Hutchison arrives in 1905
Australia & New Zealand - John Hardie's Arrival
Australia & New Zealand - Ralph & Rene Beattie, Married Worker Couple
The Australian State Elders: Originally, all the Australian state elderships/overseerships were held by workers from the British Isles, who were on the 1905 Workers List. By 1950, they had held their senior positions for about 40 years. They were:
New South Wales: John Hardie until 1961 (lived 1870-1961)
Victoria/Tasmania: Wilson McClung from 1908 until Bill Carroll arrived in 1913 until 1953; (lived 1876-1953)
Queensland: John Sullivan (lived 1906-1924 died suddenly; wrote 3 hymns); Thomas Turner 1924 until 1959 (lived 1877-1959)
Western Australia: Tom Turner until 1924; Sam Jones 1939 until 1946 (lived 1887-1946)
South Australia: Adam Hutchison until 1922 when he died suddenly; Willie Hughes 1922 until 1944 when he became Elder of New Zealand; then John Baartz in 1944.
New Zealand: Wilson McClung - 1914 until 1943 (lived 1868-1944); Willie Hughes 1944-1966.
John Hardie was from Kilsyth, Scotland. John Hardie and Dick McClure were the first workers to go to New South Wales. They arrived in Sydney, NSW in March 1907, and John was the Overseer of that state until he passed away on the April 26, 1961. Mr. Cleland stated: “I have known John Hardie since I was knee high to a duck. I can remember John as a young man, and I remember well when John was converted The reason I remember this is because I had a brother and a sister and my own mother who professed in the same meeting John was converted in, a meeting which was fully connected with the churches, THE FAITH MISSION. This meeting was conducted by two women workers, one of whom was Miss Smellie and the other a Miss Harris. John was a fitter and learned his trade at Tweechar Engineering Shop and became an engineer repairing locomotives. [From A Spiritual Fraud Exposed by Doug Parker)
William Charles (Bill) Carroll and his wife, Margaret Elizabeth (Hastings) Carroll were from the village of Rathmolyon, Ireland, which is located about 25 miles northwest of Dublin. Bill Carroll was born August 15, 1876, at Newtown, Moynalty, Kells, County Meath, the eldest of 6 children. Margaret was born April 20, 1875. She was from Coragh, Rathmolyon, Co. Meath, Ireland.
William Charles (Bill) Carroll and Margaret (Maggie) Elizabeth Hastings were married on June 6, 1901, in the Church of Ireland at Rathmolyon, County Meath. WHen they were married, he was 25 and she was 26 years old. Click Here to view their wedding photo. "Bill Carroll...was a (land) steward at Captain Fowlers, Rathmolyon, County Meath." (John Long's Journal) The Author visited this church in August 2004.
Their only child was a daughter named May, who was born in 1902.
She married Adolphus Harry ("Dolph") Schulz from Queensland, who was born in 1896 and died February 27, 1987. Dolph was in the work for a few years in the early 1920s. They resided in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. May died in August, 1991. May is the author of four hymns in the 1951 Edition of Hymns Old & New.
They had two sons, David and Carroll, and perhaps more children. David was in the work for least 6 years in Tasmania and New South Wales Australia in the late 50s, early 60s.
Bill and Maggie Carroll entered the work in 1903 according to the 1905 Workers List. [Note: The Account of Mary (Lizzie) Coles states they went in the work in 1899; however, this would have been 2 years before they were married in 1901.] The Coles's account also gives an incorrect date for the birth of their daughter, May. They preached in the British Isles before sailing for Australia.
They departed London, England aboard the Ship Orsova on October 24, 1913, and arrived in Sydney. Their daughter, May was 11 years old at the time, and she is not shown as a passenger. May is shown as a young girl in various photos in Australia. She probably went to live with her parents after Wm Irvine was expelled, and the rule against children remaining with married worker parents was relaxed. Bill Carroll assumed the Eldership from Wilson McClung of the work in Victoria and Tasmania and remained in that position for 40 years, until his death. The last year Maggie's name was on the Workers List was 1940. Maggie died in 1942, aged 67 years and Bill died Nov. 12, 1953, aged 77 years. Bill's brother Jack (John Thomas) and his sisters May and Frances (Fannie) were also workers until their deaths. Jack was Overseer of Western USA and Canada from 1907 until his death.
Here to view photographs of Maggie Carroll and her daughter, taken at Crocknacrieve
Convention in 1913. She is the lady in the white blouse on the second row
with the little girl (May) standing beside her. In the picture of the cooks, Maggie
Carroll is the only lady in the picture. Also Photo of Bill, Maggie, May in 1913 in Ireland, the year they left for Australia.
Click Here to view photo of Tombstone of Bill & Margaret Carroll
Click Here to view photo of Tombstone of Adolphus & May Schulz
Thomas M. Turner was born August 2, 1877 and died April 19, 1959. He was from N. Ireland and was a schoolteacher in Co. Galway. After John Long and William Irvine, it would appear that Tom Turner and Alex Givan were the very first two men to commit to the work full time. On April 8, 1908, Tom, Sam Jones, Syd Maynard, and Bob Bashford sailed for Western Australia, and pioneered the work there. After some time in Western Australia and Victoria, Tom spent the last 35 years of his life as the Elder worker in Queensland where he died at the age of 82. He also preached in Poland, Latvia and Ireland. He wrote Hymn Nos 202, 236, 265 (1951 edition of Hymns Old & New)
Willie John Hughes was born April 23, 1880 in Rathmolyon, County Meath, Ireland. He professed in 1905 and went in work 1906. He died Oct . 5, 1966 in New Zealand, and is buried in Pukekohe, New Zealand. He worked in Ireland (1906), Victoria (1907-1909), New Zealand (1909-1913), Nova Scotia (1913-1917), South Australia (1918-1941) and New Zealand (1941-1966), the latter two assignments being as Overseer. He was a good speaker and administrator, very personable, as well as being quite talented musically and poetically. He wrote a few hymns found in Hymns Old & New. There was a booklet published containing 36 of his poems: "Poems By W. J. Hughes Auckland New Zealand." His brother Charlie was overseer in New York/New England and Virginia/Maryland for many years. His sister, Annie Hughes, was in the work in British Isles where she died and was buried in Ireland in 1979.
Sam Jones was born 1887 in Portadown, Northern Ireland and died April 14, 1946, age 68, and was buried in Australia. On Dec. 27, 1907, Sam sailed from London to Melbourne, Victoria. On April 8, 1908, Sam and Bob Bashford, together with Tom Turner and Syd Maynard, sailed for Western Australia and pioneered the work there. Sam wrote more hymns than any other friend or worker. He was the author of 85 hymns in the 1951 Edition Hymns Old & New. He was the Overseer of Western Australia from 1939 until 1946.
Wilson and Annie McClung were a married couple of workers who came to Australia and New Zealand from Ireland in 1908. They labored in Victoria until Bill Carroll assumed the Overseership when he came from the UK with his wife and daughter in 1914. The McClungs left Australia in 1914 and Wilson McClung became the Overseer for New Zealand until his death.
1939: ARTHUR MCCOY's GRIEVANCE. Arthur was described by some as well educated and intelligent. He was from South Australia and he went in the work in1914. From 1914 to 1921, he labored in Tasmania under Adam Hutchison. In 1922, he went to New South Wales (NSW) and was under John Hardie. In1927, he returned to labor in his home state of South Australia (S.A.) and was under Willie Hughes until 1939, when he left both the work and the church.
"Arthur McCoy attended his first convention in 1913 when 'John Hardie, with sharp pointed beard and white hair, vigorously cracked the whip over us in those meetings, and we respected every word. He kept very firm and authoritative control and we had to accept that, having come from England and knowing all about it, John had the right and the power to control us as he did. He would blaze forth in a sharp and dogmatic way to anyone who ventured forth to ask mildly some question or other or expressed some view, and made all fear his tongue. In his broad Scots accent he told us all, with uncalled for defiance and jauntiness, he couldn't care what any of us thought of him, and claimed union with God, and in a general way managed to make us feel that we were far behind him at that convention and knew little of it.' Although McCoy saw William Irvine when he arrived at the Wuttke's farm during the convention,. he did not hear him preach at that time. "We were told that he was indeed the founder and leader, and notes of his addresses were handed around for preachers to read.
"Arthur McCoy accepted the preachers' claims that their church was the only true church, and he decided to leave home: "My going forth to preach in 1914 was a disturbing venture. '' He went to Tasmania where the senior worker instilled his interpretation of the way of life to be followed, and McCoy later considered that this was part of the progressive brain-washing that he suffered." (From: The Secret Sect by Doug Parker, Chapter 4, Scenes of the Work in Australia, Pp 38-45)
Arthur McCoy did much to make the Australian friends and workers aware of the pitiful, deplorable conditions the workers were labouring under in Australia. After some terrible experiences, Arthur didn’t believe the Matthew 10 concept “worked,” and didn’t believe that Jesus ever intended for future preachers to follow the Matthew 10 method forever. His conclusion was based on his personal experiences when the Matthew 10 concept had not “worked” for him or many other junior workers. He wound up in the hospital starving and with serious health issues which afflicted him for the rest of his life.
Arthur believed that it was largely due to the unnecessary hardships and poverty he suffered while in the work in northern New South Wales under John Hardie’s oversight, that his health had broken down which resulted in his hip being crippled permanently. After his hip injury, he was unable to ride a bicycle, and he and his companion travelled on a Harley Davidsonmotorcycle with a sidecar furnished by his brother Keith (See photograph).
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Arthur McCoy wrote and distributed several letters and lengthy statements after 1939. Most were written in the years 1955-56 and 1969-71. The information quoted about Arthur McCoy was taken from these documents by Doug Parker and quoted in The Secret Sect, Chapter 4, Scenes of the Work in Australia, Page 38-45. Arthur McCoy gives a vivid picture of some of the hardships experienced by the Australian workers in the country areas between the years 1913 and 1939 in these documents.
Arthur explained that the commands of Matthew 10 were given against the background of Jewish social customs at the time of Christ. He said that the law, customs and traditions of Israel provided for the needs of messengers and prophets who were to go empty handed and were to be treated as guests of the people...no such assurance was the lot of modern preachers who followed Wm Irvine's idea that Matthew 10 should be followed literally in the centuries that followed. It was Arthur’s opinion that the overseers were not competent to interpret the scriptures.
Arthur wrote that “No properly organized and effective attempt was made to stop short, overhaul and examine fully the whole matter and the reason for the views held and laid down by the one who started this ‘way’ in 1900 and by the group of early leaders following him, including John Hardie, J. and W. Carroll, G. Walker, Sam Lang (S. Lang is probably John Long), W. Gill, E. Cooney...”
"Preachers were forbidden to carry a change of clothes so Adam Hutchison got round the difficulty of having only one pair of trousers by his ingenious method of having a double seat; he sewed on an extra piece of cloth so that when it wore through from the continuous cycling he was able to take it off and sew on another patch. So strict was he that during a cycling trip of 160 miles in northwestern Tasmania, we did not spend a penny for refreshments, then to be had for sixpence--we got water from creeks and roadside tanks". For three years in Tasmania, he and his "companions lived in poorest rough huts and were often wet with no possibility of changing clothes."
"I would go about a whole year without buying a cup of tea or a meal by the roadside and by managing frugally avoided that expense which seemed somewhat indulgent. Others and I felt impelled by the current teaching and admonition not to accept more than 'a couple of pounds' as the total amount when we set off once more about the year's work. We were so short for two years that most of the time we lived on about three shillings and sixpence a week for both of us for food. In an old bucket we found we made thin apple jam from windfall apples and a little sugar, and we were so thin that our clothes hung on us. Weeks behind with rent for our empty cottage we cut twenty-two tons of boiler wood at three shillings and sixpence a ton, and packed loads of blue-gum leaves into containers for a friendly old Congregational church man who ran a eucalyptus distillery.
At that time, John Hardie was the Elder or Overseer of New South Wales (NSW). “John's practice was, just after each convention, to ask each worker in turn, ‘How much have you got?’ and hold out his hand for it, acting as controller (i.e. John Hardie). We saw and had part in his doing this after the 1923 convention, handing each worker back two pounds and in some cases also a train or coach fare to go to his or her new field.”
“Because we were reduced to severe straits there, we repaired and erected an old windmill to help pay our way, mended cartwheels, and dried our one set of wet clothes as best we might…When our rent was six shillings a week we worked as builders' labourers, but when they heard that McMurray, Helms and I worked to earn a little during missions, Edward Cooney and Adam Hutchison found fault. Edward Cooney said it was a 'travesty of Matthew 10', and Adam asked me not to go to work again. I replied that Paul worked in necessity, and wrote of it, but Adam made no reply to this."
"At the end of 1922...I cycled 109 miles up to Glen Innes and took the opportunity of finding Jim Gordon, whom I met briefly. He noticed my boots, worn into holes, and even wanted to buy me a new pair. I declined this kind offer, not seeing the fairness of it.
"We went on to Bellingen, Repton and Uranga on the Bellinger River. We found an old empty cottage near the river; our water supply was from part of an iron tank which contained a foot of water, and there were mosquitoes in swarms so we bought a quarter yard of mosquito netting to make two face covers; otherwise rest was impossible. Fleas were on the floor by our two rugs like Caesar's legions so Harry and I poured hot water on them but more came up out of the cracks. A dentist in Bellingen told me he would charge ten shillings to fix up a damaged tooth which cost was beyond us-so I filed it off with a small file and had to leave it. An abscess came later.
The journey to Dumaresq on the tablelands where we were due to prepare for the convention was about 210 miles, so we cycled off again northwards…I felt pain in the right leg, and after a little work decided to visit the Armidale doctor, Dr. Austin who examined me. He required me to go into hospital at once and that evening he opened the leg from hip to knee to the bone. Other operations followed, eight in all, which finally made the hip rigid.
When I was admitted to the Armidale Hospital the old honorary secretary of the board asked me, 'Can your church pay?' I had to say I knew of no funds or reserve so he said, 'We will put you on our books as a poor person.' I told him also that we had been living most of the year on about three shillings a week for food, and the surgeon, who could see I had been starved, told the matron to feed me well. Arthur’s clothes had almost fallen off of him. He heard the doctor say, “This man is dying because he is starving to death.”
Not long after my discharge from hospital, John Hardie took me with him to the Christian Workers' Depot in Sydney for he tried to stop the printing of the booklet entitled “The Cooneyites.” At once John told Mr. Ardill the reason for the visit and I was sure that he had me with him as a kind of exhibit because I was still on crutches and presented an appealing example of a preacher who had suffered, endured 'for the cause.' I just sat there and listened. John told him that there were 14 lies in the booklet, and Mr. Ardill assured him that they would certainly not publish anything that was not true. He picked up a pen, got one of the booklets and began to note in the margin anything John told him was not true. The main point objected to was that there was a 'central fund.' " (The Go-Preachers or Cooneyites by John McDonald)
Arthur was unable to put out of his mind the indifference shown by his Overseers to the shocking living conditions and medical needs of junior workers who had and still were suffering needless poverty and health challenges. At several conventions, Arthur urged the Overseers John Hardie and Willie Hughes to review the policy of sending men and women out to preach under conditions that seemed to him to be contrary to the mind of Christ.
Arthur wrote: “In any case the set of commandments given to the apostles at first should not have been taken out of its proper time and situation…This 'way', as it was popularly called, can be seen to be in effect a parody, a travesty, a clumsy and poor imitation of the work into which Christ Jesus called the twelve apostles. It should be admitted honestly that many suffered needlessly for not discerning the true time, situation, circumstances and reasons for the set of instructions Christ gave to the apostles.”
Doug Parker wrote: “A gradual awakening came to Arthur McCoy but the startling truth was revealed when, later in South Australia, he visited a member whose son was at home. He emphasized that his church, unlike the denominations, had no bank account, but to his astonishment the man exclaimed, ‘That couldn't be true. I was standing in the bank beside the overseer who had his cheque book in his hand.’
About that time McCoy's mother, "who supported the preachers generously for twenty-three years, week by week, took her neighbor to a mission and told her of the preachers who were lowly, poor, unlike other church preachers, never with such as bank accounts." However, two members of the neighbor's family were employed in the very bank where a trust account was held in Arthur McCoy's name. His mother was distressed when she was informed by such reliable sources about the existence of a bank account in Arthur's name.
To say Arthur was astounded would be a gross understatement. Arthur investigated and discovered there were some “central funds” after all. He found his name on a joint bank account with another worker, titled: John Christian Baartz & Arthur McCoy Trust A/C, held at The National Bank of Australasia Limited. A copy of the bank account statement is on file with TTT and has been circulated. McCoy found bank accounts were also held in the names of workers William Hughes, Albert Schillings and John Baartz.
To think that he had endured and suffered so much, and all along, there had been money available, deposited in HIS very own name that could have been used to alleviate his suffering and save his health! While he survived and endured on a mere pittance and no change of clothes, often wet, hungry, sick, sleeping in the open, the Worker Overseer actually had some “Central Funds;” yet the workers objected to the words in the pamphlet: “that there was a 'central fund,’ " and called that a lie. Arthur was very bothered about this situation which he viewed as hypocrisy.
After learning of his unknown bank account, Arthur asked William Hughes, the Elder/Overseer of South Australia. " 'Why did you keep this secret from us all these years?' I got the sharp answer from Willie Hughes, 'I didn't have to tell you! ' He soon called me an enemy and said I was 'teaching false doctrine' when I differed with him about their claims to be 'sticking to Matthew 10' - that is, to provide and carry no gold, silver or brass in their purse.”
In 1939, Arthur McCoy was the second most senior brother worker in South Australia, and he was possibly in line to become the Elder/Overseer of South Australia. He was a few years older and longer in the work than John Baartz, the next senior man. However, Arthur renounced the church and workers, and the Overseership passed from Willie Hughes to John Baartz.
In 1939 when he was about 50 years old, Arthur said, "After I protested to the overseer face to face, I left the fellowship and preached no more. I regret at least some of my own venture and have the crippled hip as a result of it.'' Arthur's mother, brother and sister also left the church when Arthur did. From that time on until his death in the 1970’s, he openly criticized the method used by the church in handling funds and the workers’ method of following Matthew 10. Some time after he left the work, Arthur married.
It is not known whether or not Arthur’s pleas to Overseers on behalf of other young workers fell on deaf ears...hopefully, his outcry to this great injustice made a difference and the workers reviewed their methods and made changes to alleviate the needless suffering. God respects those who take up for the oppressed. Regardless his good intentions to alleviate suffering on behalf of others, Arthur was considered by many of his fellow friends and co-workers to be bitter, obsessed, eccentric and fanatical. His reputation was maligned, he bore much reproach, as he valiantly attempted to, “make his paths straight.” (Matt. 3:3)
Arthur McCoy was the first of three workers who left the work and the church in South Australia with grieviances and unresolved complaints. The other two were Ron Campbell and Mary Turner. Mary was believed to be responsible for causing division and bitterness in several families of the Friends. She was recalled to New Zealand at which time she left the work and the church, and a number of the Friends, some of whom had professed for many years, did likewise. Jack Annand, one of the first workers who had preached to Doug Parker's parents, was put out of the work when he suffered a nervous breakdown.
THE RON CAMPBELL CONTROVERSY: Ron's mother and 3 sisters professed through Jim Gordon and Jack Wilson at Mannanarie South Australia in 1911 when Ron was a child. Ron went into the work in 1926. In 1928, he and Jim Wingfield from Victoria, went to America to labor under Jack Carroll on the West Coast. Ron had a home visit in 1936, then again after the War in 1947. Towards the end of 1949 he returned to SA again, this time for good.
"Ron Campbell said that in the 1920's, in South Australia, when he was a young and prospering farmer, William Hughes encouraged him to go out in the work. I was anxious to be a help to all men, and Willie repeatedly said, "You can do more good in the harvest field for souls than farming, raising crops, cattle, sheep and other products." So I finally decided to enter the field of labour where my life could be best spent. The position preached and clearly understood was that the workers were linked with Christ and the New Testament plan: they were the poor, and Jesus said, 'sell what you have and give to the poor.' Any wealth I had was to be given to the workers . Before William Hughes made these appeals, not only to me but to other young men and women amongst us, I had planned to buy a farm... I had gathered money from earnings. This was scattered amongst the workers and Willie Hughes received some of this; I found out later that Willie used some of this to purchase equipment for conventions and to send workers overseas." (The Secret Sect by Doug Parker, Chapter 4, Scenes of the Work in Australia, p 42)
Ron had been an outstanding and well liked 2x2 preacher. In 1947, when Ron returned to his field in Idaho from his home visit to Australia, he discovered the friends had been turned against him, closed their doors to him and had withdrawn their financial support from him. He was shocked and mystified at finding he had been removed from the work in Idaho by Jack Carroll. Jack Carroll had told the friends in Southern idaho not to listen to Ron. When Ron asked Jack Carroll to obey Matt.18:15,. "This he refused to do...I learned afterwards the Carrolls disbelieved in this way for them to correct offenses, even went so far to say we have a better way; Matt 18:15 does not work for today." Jack Carroll was a brother to Bill Carroll, Overseer of Victoria, Australia. (Kay Arvig Downs' Letter to Kathy Lewis, Jan. 7, 1991)
Finding the doors closed to him in America, Ron returned to Australia in 1949 where he was at liberty to preach. He spoke at the 1949 Christmas Special Meetings at Strathalbyn and at the 1950 South Australia Conventions. However, he was not given a companion in 1950, except for a few gospel meetings with Herwin Bell who was on a home visit. Ron began to openly voice some discontent and found fault with the work and various workers. During 1950 his relationship with the other workers deteriorated. It was arranged to bring Edward Cooney out from the U.K. to team up with Ron. Edward was well into his eighties, and had been put out of the Work in 1928. However, this did not work out as Edward and Ron were not compatible and disagreed on many issues.
Having been Ron's younger companion in the work for more than two years in Idaho, Ted Arvig knew Ron quite well. Ted heard, but did not believe the negative accusations being circulated about Ron. Ted and his wife Kay located Ron Campbell at the Campbell family farm in Mannararie, South Australia where his two sisters were living. Ron was overjoyed to find some of his old American friends who did not condemn him or believe the tales that had been spread about him. (Details about Arvigs to follow in next chapter.)
According to the Arvigs, the real reason Ron was put out of the work was because he stood up against the head worker in South Australia,Willie Hughes. Ron's very pretty sister Adelaine (Addie) had been the subject of Willie's sexual harassmnent. According to Ron, "Willie Hughes disgraced himself and let some of us down by his conduct, and my own family are amongst those who feel this the keenest...Willie later tried to assault her (Ron's sister)...she withstood him. She being offended later tried on two occasions to make things right, resulting that he further oppressed her to cover up his sin, and even used his position as her minister to crush her and justify himself." (Ron Campbell Oct. 20, 1952 Letter to George Walker) Ron's comments concerning Willie's improper behavior toward his sister were viewed by some as "slandering Willie's character." Shortly after this, Willie Hughes left to go work in New Zealand, and this became permanent..
Ron returned to America and used the Arvig and Sweetland's home as his headquarters for about a year. He tried to make matters right with the friends who would give him a hearing. He had the cooperation and help of Will Sweetland and Dr. Rittenhouse (Details about these two men follows in next chapter). After many months, Ron realized, to his dismay, that it was impossible to straighten things out, and he returned to South Australia (around 1952), where he lived until his death in 1978.
THE PURGE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA: In South Australia, during 1951, about 70 friends were "Stood Down" from fellowship by John Baartz; and a number went out in sympathy. "Stood Down" was to be asked not to attend fellowship meetings. Those involved considered it being "Put Out." By 1952 the "putting out" had ended although the bitterness and hurt remained, particularly where families had been split down the middle. Some of the families effected were: Vogts, Doeckes, Berritts, Sharpes, Wirths, Harrises, Bruses, Ashmans, Masons, Fergusons, Loechels and some others. Some of these were Bethel Mission families! Only a very few of those who left at that time returned in later years. All Ron Campbell's family supported him and left.
It seems there was a meeting of church elders at Blackwood Park during preparations at the end of the year at which Ron and some of those present took issue with John Baartz. Some may have been put out of fellowship at this time. During Willie Hughes visit that year, the atmosphere was highly charged, particularly at Strathalbyn since the convention ground owners, Con and Daisy Doecke, were among Ron's numerous sympathisers. In June 1951 a meeting was held at Ernie Wirth's home in Tusmore where a number of elders and John Baartz and Ian Reed were present. Ron was highly critical of the work in SA and some felt he "slandered" Willie Hughes' name.
Contact with those who had been "put out" could result in being "put out." Just prior to the Wilmington convention in January 1952, a prominent elder and his wife were "put out," based on an erroneous report of their involvement in a meeting of those who had been "put out." The couple had not even been in the area when the meeting took place. The situation was corrected a few months later.
Ron wrote: "While these uncertainties and insecurities are manifested in the C.C. sect, it is all different in Christ. Jesus said 'all who come to me I will in no wise cast out.' And that is just what He meant. This of casting people out is because they (workers) cannot stand up to questioning; they are afraid the corruption will all come into the open; and they will have as a result, no support. It's time precious souls understand this selfish bad motive of theirs."
Ron "went into seclusion and was glad to keep free from the mess. It is all too ridiculous for me, also knowing that I came home to rest and get my body built up and since USA is my field, I took the stand it is out of place for me to be involved in any way...I am on the outside of this division looking in, never before have seen such a display of human and spiritual corruption in lies being told, false accusations, agreements broken, hate, bitterness, defiance and other unchristlike marks expressed, they are going like a storm hitting the country leaving behind them a trail of broken hearts, homes, churches and relatives, forcing people to submit to them—if not, they tell that they are cut off and doomed, stopping some from holding meetings if they can, refusing them to attend convention in case people will know the truth of the matter, telling them not to have anything to do with this one or that one, to walk off the street and out of the home if this one comes to see them. Christ is a secondly person, workers are the supreme authority and gone as far as to say that no saint can receive anything from God unless it comes through the workers." (Oct. 20, 1952 Letter to George Walker)
After he returned to Australia, Doug Parker met with Ron Campbell, and Ron declared Doug to be a "very fine man...He did just what Eph. 5:11 tells, for the word 'reprove' in that verse, some other translations use 'expose.' These two words are closely associated...Doug Parker's exposure has done an endless amount of good, especially to many troubled minds expressed by the tyranny practises in that religious sect. I have seen some of the letters written to him, thanking him for his efforts, and those efforts were indeed great to gather the information he collected. This did not only cost him much time, but also much expense and we all owe much to him for his service, to protect lives from the bitter disappointments many have experienced."
Ron took issue with the name workers assumed for their church in America. He wrote: "I cannot understand the honesty of any preacher out preaching in the name of Jesus and associated with the 'Christian Conventions Assuming This Name only.' This word 'only' rules out all other names, so by right they cannot be honest and use the name of Jesus at all."
At this time there were four factions (divisions) in the church in Australia, according to Ron's letters:
Faction No. 1: The CC faction (Carrollites).
Faction No. 2: Hardie and Hughes groups
Faction No. 3: Those cast out
Faction No. 4: Those who have gone into isolation; i.e. "have no more to do with them until they clean house and get back to what they agreed in 1938." (He includes a copy of the agreement to "Fred" to whom he is writing the letter.)
Ronald Ian Campbell never married. He was laid to rest on December 16, 1978 in a cemetery located about 7 miles from his home in Mannararie, South Australia. He was survived by two sisters; one who was 89 and another who was 80 years old (one named Adelaide Campbell) and various nieces and nephews. He had 3 sisters and 4 brothers to predecease him. A United Church minister held the burial service.
1951: The Blackwood Park convention grounds at Strathalbyn, South Australia were hastily moved to a new location. The Ron Campbell situation involved Con and Daisy Doecke, a Bethel Mission family, who were the owners of Strathalbyn. The extraordinary hasty moving of the convention from Doecke's property was possibly tied in to the fact that Con Doecke was also a Trustee of the Dandenong, Victoria convention grounds, over which Bill Carroll was Overseer. The Wilmington convention replaced Strathalbyn with the first convention being held in January of 1952. The convention held at Oak Lodge, Kapunda began having two conventions that year also.
1955: THE VICTORIAN CONTROVERSY: For about the last 10 years of his life after his wife died in 1942, Bill Carroll lived in a "permanent" residence. Personal letters written by W. C. Carroll bear the address of "Greenhaven", Rosebud West, Victoria, Australia, which is located about 80k south of Melbourne. Reportedly Greenhaven was a beach home owned by the Carroll's daughter and husband, May and Dolph Schulz.
The Guildford Report states that in the latter years of Bill Carroll's life, "Two sister
workers & a brother stayed with him at Rosebud to look after him, when there
were open homes who would gladly receive him and cater for his needs and do
the superintending of his meals, necessitated by the fact that he was a diabetic.
This went on for ten years. These workers had no gospel meetings while at
Rosebud." (Click Here for
The Record of the Guildford Meeting in 1954)
The arrangement of a worker exercising the oversight from a permanent home did not meet with the approval of the other state elders. Many did not approve of Bill retiring to Rosebud with workers waiting on his needs. "--this, we greatly regret. We feel that what happened has been a digression from the way in which the work began--both in our day and Jesus' day. We trust there will never be a repetition of these happenings…It would have been more expedient if objections to the permanent residence at "Rosebud," Victoria had been considered. The "Rosebud" dwelling had been a cause of contention in other countries, as well as in Australia and it should have been done away with to save trouble and brethren from stumbling." (Click Here for The Record of The Guildford Meeting in 1954) NOTE: the wording used in the above quote indicates there was definitely a beginning of the work in the lifetime of these men: "from the way in which the work began--both in our day."
After Mrs. Carroll died in 1942, it seemed that Bill visited outside Victoria much less, and Victoria became somewhat detached from the other Australian states. This was war time and movements of workers were necessarily curtailed accordingly. However, Victoria's amount of interchange with the other states decreased to the point it bordered on isolation and this did not change when the war finished in 1945. Victoria was totally self-sufficient for workers and had sent a large number of workers overseas.
During the 1950s, Bill Carroll excommunicated many of the friends in Victoria
and South Australia, for not taking sides and supporting Bill Carroll. The reason for their excommunication
was not always made known to the victims. Many did not receive a hearing. “Week after week numbers were put out including whole churches. No one
knew why and appeals were sent to senior workers to come over and help us,
and give us a hearing." (Eileen Matz letter July 26, 1954) "About the same time, schism occurred in South Australia, where two conventions were cancelled and several families cast out." (Secret Sect Footnote 10, Pg 96 - E. Cooney Letter to Earl& Mae Hammond Aug. 24, 1953)
Parents, along with their innocent children, were put out of the fellowship. Mervyn Schmidt wrote: “I professed at 12 yrs of age. At 13, in the 1950s, I was excommunicated, along with my parents and many others in the states of Victoria and South Australia, as a result of a purge by William Carroll. In my case, my only crime was I was the son of my father. I don't think anyone thought about where that left me? At that time I thought I was in 'the only right way.' After I had been removed from the 'only right way,' I wondered was I now going to heaven or hell?"
At that time, the fellowship was split into 3 main factions:
• The main 2x2 body (CC sect - Carrollites; Bill, Jack and Willie Jamieson)
• The (Hardie and Hughes group - supported by Geo. Walker)
• Those who were excommunicated with or loyal to Edward Cooney
There were also:
• Those who were recently excommunicated (Outcasts)
• Those who remained in isolation - waiting for things to be straightened out in the church
Separate fellowship meetings for the various groups were held. Children and teenagers of both groups attended school together, but did not meet for worship services with each other. Things went on like this for a few years. Eventually, the first two groups were united again. Mervin Schmidt wrote: “For approximately 4 years, about 16 of us met in our home, unofficially. We kept a meeting going with others who had been put out of fellowship. These were some of the best meetings I ever had, I guess because of our need at the time. We were reinstated again after this with the help of George Walker, USA, and Jack Forbes from England.”
NOVEMBER 13, 1953: After 30 years under his Eldership, William (Bill) Carroll died, nine (9) years after his wife Maggie had passed away. He was survived by his only child, a daughter, May (Carroll) Shulz, born in 1901. The work in Victoria went to the care of Chris Williams (the eldest worker), who was Overseer of Tasmania. There are two stories as to how Chris Williams was appointed to be Bill Carroll's replacement. One was that Bill Carroll designated Chris and did not consult with the other Australian state elder workers, who thought "…the responsible workers should have been consulted with regard to getting their approval of who should succeed our departed brother in the oversight in Victoria." The other is that the Victorian workers elected Chris Williams to take the oversight, but this did not meet with the approval of most of the other Australian state elders nor the Victorians friends.
In 1954, at the request of some distressed Outcasts in several Australian states, Eddie Cooney (then 88 years old) traveled to Australia. Eddie went to Mildura, Victoria because about 20 had been put out of fellowship there; also, Cooney had some followers living in Mildura. The head worker from U.K. (possibly Jack Forbes) called for a REUNION MEETING in Mildura. The purpose of the meeting was to reconcile the problems created by the split in Victoria. Eddie Cooney went to the meeting with Jack Schmidt, who owned the Mildura Convention grounds, and a few other friends. However, Cooney was turned away by the worker at the door, and Tom Turner, Jack Schmidt and quite a few others left with him.
Tthe situation was beyond the ability of the Australian Elders to resolve. Jack Carroll, then George Walker (USA) and Jack Forbes (Eng) came out to help, and it was agreed to obtain an independent elder from outside Australia to replace Chris Williams. And so Archie Turner, a Scotsman, arrived in late 1955. The situation proved too much for him, and after a year, Archie returned to Scotland. Jack Forbes came out a second time from England, this time to stay as interim elder for about 6 months until Willie Donaldson aged 57, arrived in August 1957. Willie was able to handle the situation.
With all these unsettled issues and others remaining after Bill Carroll's
death, John Hardie and Tom Turner called a 4-day meeting of the Elder Workers
of Australian States and New Zealand to be held at Guildford N.S.W. on February
20-24, 1954. This was a little over three (3) months after Bill Carroll's
death. Guildford is a suburb or district located on the western outskirts
of Sydney, N.S.W., where convention was held until it was moved to Maroota.
"An elder's meeting of this sort had often been wished for and suggested in past years, but Wm. Carroll was not in agreement, not considering it necessary, stating that conventions were sufficient…All States and New Zealand were asked to send a representative and each leader… accepted the invitation, but the other workers in Victoria wrote back…that they did not see the need for a worker's meeting. This was done while Chris [Williams] wrote from Tasmania accepting the invitation."
In all, eleven (11) workers were present at the meeting: John Hardie, Thomas M. Turner, J. Williamson, Chris Williams, Walter Pickering, Willie John Hughes, John Christian Baartz, R. Les Hawse, W. Schloss, Alec R. Mitchell and Harry Morgan; Tom Turner led the meeting.
John Hardie, Tom Turner, J. Williamson and Bill Carroll were all from Ireland and Scotland. They are all found on the 1905 Workers List and were pioneers of the various Australian states. Tom Turner helped pioneer Western Australia and spent the last 35 years of his life as the elder worker in Queensland, where he died at the age of 82.
At the Guildford meeting, the major issues discussed concerned Bill Carroll's successor; the exchange of workers within Australia; the "border" question; cooperation of Victoria with the other Australia states; dealing with the saints in Victoria and South Australia who had been put out without a hearing; and last but not least, the Rosebud dwelling which "had been the cause of contention in other countries as well as Australia."
COOPERATION was stressed. It seemed that Victoria had been a sovereign kingdom ruled by Bill Carroll and was considered uncooperative by the other State heads. "…all give an assurance that, as much as is in our power, we will go back to our States to show to our fellow laborers that we are all united & that we will foster this spirit of cooperation in this work of God? (Assurance given unanimously)"
A high degree of emphasis was placed on going back to the way things were carried out in the beginning, and the importance of following those methods. "That all are agreed that we, as servants of God, should be on the same lines as at the beginning. We feel that what happened has been a digression from the way in which the work began--both in our day and Jesus' day."
On the other hand, they set up a governing body with voting rights for "this side of the world, each country: India, Ceylon, Malaya, Indonesia, each State of the commonwealth and New Zealand," and at future meetings, these areas were to be represented. This was never a part of their Beginning Basics. "Eleven workers (elders) in all and one (John Hardie) with the power to convene meetings to decide matters when called upon by elders of any State of country. A senior worker should be appointed to oversight."
Since they felt that "Something without a leader tends to lack of unity," John Hardie was appointed to be the head Overseer of the ENTIRE REGION, and also over matters regarding workers being sent to the East.
The workers "separated at Guildford with high hopes that unity and harmony would prevail and all would be well…Within a few days of the return to Victoria of Chris Williams and Walter Pickering, a meeting of the Victorian workers was held at Dandenong to discuss the Guildford report. Those workers drew up a circular which was signed by Chris Williams."
When the Victorian workers heard about the discussions at the Guildford meeting, they were distressed and unhappy. They felt that "a personal attack had been made on the life and testimony of the late Wm. Carroll and that the meetings were held for that purpose." They felt strongly that "it is not the right thing for any man or elder to interfere with another State." They viewed the meeting as an attempt by the other State Overseers to interfere with the work in Victoria. They felt that "the reason for this thing happening is because there is such lust for power and place." They objected to the move towards a centralized system of administration. "Chris stated that he meant to stand behind the testimony of Wm. Carroll, and John (Hardie) replied that he means to stand by the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The Victorian workers drew up a circular expressing their viewpoints which was signed by Chris Williams and delivered to the churches throughout Victoria. For the Victorian workers and their Overseer to acquaint the friends with the details of contention among the workers was to overstep an unwritten law in the Workers' Code of Ethics; especially after all the workers had agreed to strive for cooperation at the recent Guildford meeting. Chris Williams wrote John Hardie that: "…a breach even greater, seems imminent…Could it not all not be withdrawn?"
Some conventions were cancelled and the suspected reason was so that the new converts wouldn't hear talk about the divisions, and excommunications. The relationship of the friends and the meetings were filled with strife. "True fellowship for many had almost ceased since workers and saints in many churches were constant in their 'preaching against' those in their midst who they felt were questioning the stand taken by the Victorian workers."
The senior workers from other Australian States intruded into Victorian territory and visited the friends. This was another breach of the workers Code of Ethics. Eventually, George Walker and Jack Carroll from America, and Jack Forbes from England, traveled to Australia and attempted to reconcile matters. Over a year later, on April 20, 1955, the senior workers withdrew the statement made about Bill Carroll:
"The Overseers of Australia and those from Overseas being
met together to consider the difficulties that exist concerning the work
in Victoria, are agreed that the statement contained in the Guildford Report
reflecting on the life and ministry of our late Brother [W. C. Carroll] is
now unconditionally withdrawn.
"The Victorian workers and saints who met at Dandenong also wish to express their regret for the statements made reflecting on the Elders and Workers from other countries and these are unconditionally withdrawn, also the letter sent out from Dandenong to the several Churches in Victoria.
"Regarding the residence at Rosebud, we feel it is our duty to state that we cannot accept such an arrangement as a precedent that could be repeated.
"We would add that in our opinion, when an Overseer in any State or Country, through infirmities or other circumstances is unable to personally carry out his responsibilities, he should call to his aid a Brother who has the approval and confidence of his Brethren and who can eventually assume the oversight.
In order to give assurance to all concerned that every effort will be made to restore confidence and promote unity and true fellowship amongst Workers and in the several Churches in Victoria we will endeavour to find an impartial Brother from overseas who will supervise and co-operate in the Oversight of the Work for such time as may be considered necessary." (Click Here for Withdrawal of Guildford Report, Dandenong, April 20, 1955)
Archie Turner was put in temporarily as overseer; and Willie Donaldson, ex-Jamaica, became Victoria's Overseer.
After a couple years, the two groups returned
to one common convention in various parts of the state. However, the
rift among some of the friends did not end immediately, and even in 1997,
the Author received a letter stating: "The feelings that were there then have not gone completely—it is still a bit 'them' and 'us.' "
After two of the factions were reunited, the word "United" was added to their letterhead: "The United Christian Conventions of Australasia and New Zealand." [Click Here to view copy] Fred Hanowell wrote: "In Australia, for instance, the fellowship split into three divisions, two of them united again, calling themselves, "The United Christian Conventions, Representing Assemblies of Christians Assuming That Name Only." [Click Here for Letter by Fred Hanowell] Reportedly, these names were also used at times: Christian Assemblies of Victoria; Christian Assemblies of Australia; Christian Conventions of Australia and New Zealand.
Almost 50 years later, history nearly repeated itself. A parallel to the Victoria, Australia split took place on a different continent, with a different worker overseer, at the turn of the 21st century. Difficult times in Alberta, Canada were experienced, when over 21 churches were closed and numerous friends excommunicated at the direction of the Alberta Overseer Willis Propp.
As seen above, the dangers of an ingrown power base within the work in any state or country show vividly the wisdom for there to be constant movement of workers between states and countries worldwide.
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