Revised February 22, 2018
1923 - 1938
1929: The Cooneyites Or Go-Preachers - Their Doctrine (a published pamphlet) by W. M. Rule
Rift between Jack Carroll & George Walker - "When the West broke away from the East"
1930: Worldwide Workers Council Meeting at West Hanney and Statement
1931: Tom Lyness Shot
1938 - Worldwide Workers Council Meeting about Divorce & Remarriage
1923: MARRIAGE OF DAVE CHRISTIE AND EMILY WILSON - From the platform of Milltown, Washington U.S. Convention, Jack Carroll announced the marriage of his cousin, Brother Worker Dave Christie, to Emily Wilson, a Sister Worker: "The reason I speak so freely and plainly about this subject today is because two Workers came to this Convention married, and wish me to make the fact known. I refer to David Christie and Emily Wilson. And while we may seriously question the wisdom of this step, and recognize that it means greater difficulties in their lives, and less liberty in the Gospel, we cannot make dishonorable what God has made 'honorable;' and for this reason we speak no word of condemnation and attach no penalty. If there is to be condemnation or penalty, we leave this in the Lord's hands" (Announcement, Dec. 1, 1923). By 1926, there were 12 married couples on the American Workers List.
WORKERS GROWTH IN AMERICA: By 1923, just 20 years after the first three workers stepped onto American soil at Ellis Island, New York, there were 475 workers preaching in North and South America. Only these 15 out of 48 states were not shown on the Workers List: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont. Alaska and Hawaii were not states at this time (1922-23 Workers List).
The 1924-25 Workers List shows 568 Workers, an increase of 93 over the 1922-23 List.
By 1927, 24 years after the Workers first came to America, there were 622 workers preaching in North and South America, an increase of 54 over the 1925 list. In the four years between the two lists, the Workers entered eight additional southern states (AL, AR, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN) and Arizona (1926-27 Workers List). Only seven states were absent from the 1927 Workers List: Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada and Utah. The smaller New England states were combined into one area.
1924: Mr. W. M. Rule began investigating the Cooneyites after he first learned about them in an Australian newspaper article titled "Queer Creeds." Mr. Rule was the Trustee of the Bible Book & Tract Depot in Sydney, NSW, Australia. His research article was printed in "Our Hope," January 1924, a magazine edited by Dr. A. C. Gabelein, New York City, NY.
1929: In Australia, Workers were steadily gaining converts in the country areas. An Australian missionary requested that Rule's article be printed as single document "to circulate in New South Wales to help souls to see the fallacy of their teachings." In 1929, a small pamphlet titled: "The Cooneyites or Go-Preachers and Their Doctrine" was published by the Central Bible Truth Depot in London and Sydney, Australia. Subsequently, many more editions were printed and distributed in English speaking countries where the sect had spread.
This pamphlet portrayed the Cooneyite Church in an unfavorable
light and caused the Workers much grief. In America, Jack Carroll attempted to stop the pamphlet from being printed. In May 1929, he wrote a letter to the publishers stating there were 20 errors in the pamphlet, provided details for some and gave a statement of the sect's beliefs. The publisher requested comments from clergy, missionaries and Sunday School Union field workers in U.S. who had been closely associated with the Cooneyites. Most confirmed the tract was accurate as far as they knew.
Jack provided reference letters from Friends confirming his knowledge regarding the sect's beliefs. Eventually, the publisher made a few modifications to the pamphlet, but continued to publish and distribute it. The Workers were not pleased. When Workers went into new communities, sometimes the clergy would circulate the pamphlet to their members. In 1939, a rebuttal to Rule's pamphlet by Leonard Ashby, titled: "A Different Gospel, An examination of the teaching of the Cooneyites" was published by Pickering & Inglis, London.
In Australia on May 26, 1930, John Hardie and Brother Worker Arthur McCoy approached the Sydney publishers of this tract and requested the pamphlet cease to be published due to it containing some false statements about them. Hardie's answers to several of the publisher's questions "gave proof to the hilt that Mr. Rule's tract is in the main correct." From Arthur McCoy:
“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'...John told him that there were fourteen 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' " (Secret Sect by Parker, p. 42).
RIFT BETWEEN JACK CARROLL AND GEORGE WALKER - "When the West broke away from the East." Jack Carroll was the Overseer of the Western States and Western Canada and George Walker was the Overseer of the Eastern States and Eastern Canada. There is a 1916 Convention photo at Dalton, Idaho where Jack and George are standing side by side. There is also a 1924 Convention photo of New Norway, Alberta, Canada showing both George and Jack. It appears the rift between these two men may have begun in the mid 1920s.
The root cause of contention between these two American Overseers has not been clearly identified. It could have been a single or several incidents, or perhaps the differences in their personality or management styles that brought about the division of the U.S. into two distinct administrations (East and West). Most agree that the personalities of the two men were quite different. Regardless of the reason these two men came to be at serious odds, some effects of the rift between these two men are still being felt nearly a century later.
It is reported that they had a disagreement concerning convention dates and schedules. From its beginning over the years, the fellowship had gradually become more and more list oriented, and many different lists came into use: Workers Lists, Convention Lists, Special Meeting Lists, visitors’ lists, study lists, Friend's Lists, etc. It was the Overseer’s duty to create, maintain and distribute these lists. As late as 1921, there was still a unified Convention schedule for East and West together. Around 1922, the Western Workers decided to "make our own wee list," a quote from Willie Smiley, a Western Canadian Worker working under Jack. Willie gave the impression that Convention planning was one of the first rebel tendencies in the West.
The division of Convention Lists into one for the East and another for the West created additional points of irritation, such as the acceptance or rejection of Workers across the East/West divide. This division affected the selection of visiting Workers at Conventions. Up through 1910-1920, there was a still a fair amount of Worker movement from East to West, and Workers were transferred from East to West in those years. After the division in the 1920s, Worker exchanges and traveling between the two territories were nearly unheard of, except for the Western Workers traveling east en route to Europe, usually departing from New York. Some speculate this separate Convention List and scheduling was the beginning of "when the West broke away from the East."
The two Overseers had very different personalities and managerial styles. Jack Carroll somewhat of a micro-manager, a trait which is still very evident in the way things are run in the West, as compared to the East. Jack seemed to maintain almost daily control over all the Workers and their movements under his oversight. He was ultra-organized, prepared the Lists, and traveled about a great deal. Jack left a far reaching paper trail. He sent typed copies of letters to Friends and Workers with news of Workers' activities and sometimes with various instructions. Jack instigated the large combined state Workers' Lists of North and South America, that have been valuable to historians. Example of 1922-23 List. Volumes of Jack's notes and sermons were stored in file cabinets on the Milltown, WA Convention grounds. His sermons would not have been so widely circulated among the Friends if Jack had not approved of their distribution. (Read Jack Carroll ’s Sermons.)
On the other hand, George Walker delegated much responsibility to the various state Overseers under him. He left very little in the way of a paper trail, and there are not many of his sermon notes in circulation. In many ways, George appeared much more easy going than Jack.
Another issue that possibly added to the rift between the East and West concerned the use of radios. During the Pacific War Theater, there were five workers imprisoned in the Philippines: Earnest Stanley ( England), Cecil Barrett (Australia); and from the Western U.S. (California), Leo Stancliff, Willie Jamieson and Herman Beaber, who was the Author’s uncle. The West Coast Friends and Workers used the radio to stay informed of current events that might pertain to these Workers. However, on the East Ccoast, Geo. Walker prohibited radios in Friends' homes and vehicles. This prohibition was enforced to the point there were reports of Workers breaking antennas off of vehicles parked at Conventions in some Eastern states. To this day (2017), some Friends in the Eastern U.S. still refrain from owning a radio, much less a television. Ralph Derkland wrote:
“We have known for years that Jack Carroll and Geo. Walker have been at ‘bitter ends’ with each other and for us to go to Convention and hear Jack tell about the Catholic and the Orangeman that knew they were saved because at one time they hated each other but now they loved each other; and some of us would wonder how come he preaches ‘love’ to us but he manifests ‘hate’ to George and vice-versa. Lest some of you doubt the truth of this, can you give any other answer as to why George has not been in Jack’s territory for over 28 years, as he has never been here since I decided. Friends, is this consistent with what Jesus taught?” (letter, circa 1955).
During the WWII era, there was significant polarization in the rulings made by the two North American Overseers regarding whether or not the male Friends when drafted should apply for status of Conscientious Objector (C.O.). In the West, Jack Carroll gave the 2x2 men freedom of choice, which he documented in two statements. (Read Statement by John T. Carroll, Olympia, Washington, Sept. 4-7, 1942). (Read Statement by J.T.C., Theodore, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 14, 1940). In the East, George Walker instructed 2x2 men to register as Conscientious Objectors, and most 2x2 WWII Veterans did so. However, by the time of the draft during the Vietnam War (1969-1975), most young 2x2 American men applied for the C.O. exemption, in both the East and West.
Reportedly, some of the rift was also due to Geo. Walker's disapproval of the lifestyle adopted by Bill Carroll (Jack’s brother) who was married when he and his wife entered the work, and since 1913 had been the Overseer of Victoria and Tasmania, Australia. Reportedly, George felt that both Jack and Bill misused their positions and funds as Overseers. George believed in Workers living as they claimed; being poor, homeless and celibate. He did not approve of the lavish way Bill and Jack handled the "blood bought money of the Friends" for their personal use. In the 1950s, when the Australian Church split into three factions, Jack and George took different sides, with George working toward Bill Carroll being removed from his Overseer position. (See details in Chapter 36). After Jack and George passed away, the rift did not diminish, as their successors, Eldon Tenniswood and Andrew Abernethy had long standing issues between them.
Sometime in the early 1930s, a new policy was made that an Overseer could not marry and continue to serve as an Overseer. However, the Overseers who were already married were allowed to remain Overseers. This decision may have been reached at the July 19-21, 1930, Worldwide Workers' Council Meeting held at West Hanney, England, attended by 16 Overseers.
Sometime in the 29 years between 1923 and 1952, a more stringent policy was put in place that provided Workers could not marry and remain in the work. This was the beginning of the end of there being married Worker couples.
Will Sweetland's son, Chester Sweetland, dated Clara DenHerder while Clara and Kay (Curtis) Arvig Downs were roommates. Both Chester and Clara entered the work in California at least by 1942. They were married on Sept. 3, 1952, in Alpine, San Diego County, California. Kay wrote: "Chet and Clara's love for each other won the battle, and they married. They were told they couldn’t be Workers anymore. This was the first thing that caused Dr. Rittenhouse and Wm. Sweetland to question 'the way' " (letter to Kathy Lewis, Sept. 2, 1992).
Jack Carroll would not consent to Chester and Clara remaining in the work. His father, Wm. Sweetland strenuously objected, "You have also recently made a ruling relative to workers who marry and desire to continue in the ministry. You state that to marry is proof of a diminished sacrifice and a limited service, and is what you consider to be a change of status, not acceptable to Christian Conventions administration" (letter to Jack, Willie and Brethren by Rittenhouse and Sweetland, April 15, 1954).
William Sweetland was an assistant to Dr. Walter Rittenhouse, and they both professed in 1922. Being somewhat wealthy, they had done much to help the Workers through the years. They owned the Hayden Lake, Idaho Convention grounds. They could not understand Jack's refusal, especially since Jack's cousin David Christie, as well as several other workers had been allowed to marry while they were in the work. They argued:
"We also recall your comments at Milltown in 1923 relative to Dave and Emily Christie's marriage. 'There is a difference between I Cor. 3 & 4, and Chapter 9. If Chapters 3-4 deal with the marks of true ministers, then Chapter 9 deals with the rights and liberties of true ministers.' Further, in your sermon at Milltown you said, 'We must be true to what God has revealed, and recognize the rights and liberties which are the heritage of all God's servants. We cannot and will not therefore, refuse them a place in this ministry or the right to speak from this platform.' In the light of these and other statements made by yourself and older brethren, we cannot conceive how you, Jack, dare to distort I Cor. 9:5 now, to fit a new man-made rule. This ruling has no parallel except to that of the priests and nuns of the Catholic Church."
They did not view Jack's decision as being "scriptural or reasonable," and the two men began debating Scripture and practices with the Workers on this and other subjects, fully expecting the errors would be corrected by those in charge. However, this did not happen, and after much ado, both Rittenhouse and Sweetland eventually left the Sect (Read letters by Rittenhouse and Sweetland). After their marriage, Chester and Clara continued in the Sect for their entire lives.
The Author feels it would be remiss if something were not included about some events involving Jack Carroll that have been reported in multiple documents from various sources. Although the Author has been unable to confirm these reports, neither can the Author disregard them. This unconfirmed material is presented below.
In September 1919, Bill Carroll, Overseer of Tasmania and Victoria, sent 28 year old Linda Heyes and 34 year old Grace Prideaux to work under Jack Carroll in the Western American states. Linda was from Evandale, Tasmania, and entered the work in 1913. Grace was from Victoria, Australia, entered the work in 1915, and in 1926, she married Canadian Brother Worker Joe Brown. They became a married Worker pair who preached in Hawaii, along with Dave and Emily Christie.
Reportedly, sometime between 1932 and 1937, Jack Carroll let the Workers know that he and Linda Heyes would like to marry. The Overseers ruled that if they married, Jack could not be an Overseer any longer, but they could continue preaching as an ordinary married Worker couple. Jack wanted the rule to be changed or an exception be made so an Overseer could marry and remain in the Work. If a vote was taken, it has been surmised that Geo. Walker would have voted against Jack’s request, as he did not approve of the Carroll brothers’ desire for a female partner. George believed in doing things like they advertised; being poor, homeless, and celibate. He thought the Carroll's did not really "have it."
There is an unconfirmed report that Jack Carroll and Linda Heyes were secretly married. However, as of this date, the Author has been unable to find proof of a marriage. Jack remained Overseer until his death in 1957; Linda passed away in 1943. It has been rumored that Jack requested his body be buried beside Linda's grave. If so, the Workers chose not to abide by Jack's wishes, even though there were unoccupied lots on both sides of Linda's grave. They are both buried in the same section plot containing eight graves, and while their graves are not adjacent to each other, the corners are touching. Linda was the first person to be buried in a plot of eight graves in the Fir-Conway Lutheran Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, Washington, located 1/2 mile from the Milltown Convention grounds. The graves on either side of Linda were vacant until 1989 and 2002. (View plot layout of graves.) This cemetery possibly contains more Workers’ graves than any other cemetery in the world.
There has been reported two small homes where Jack and Linda to which retreated, located on property owned by 2x2s. One was located in a secluded area of the Hayden Lake Convention grounds, owned by Rittenhouse & Sweetland (See photo in TTT Photo Gallery). The other home was somewhere on the West Coast on the property of a 2x2 home owner. It is reported that Jack Carroll subsidized the owners to enable them to purchase this home which was above their means.
1930 WORLDWIDE WORKERS' COUNCIL MEETING IN ENGLAND: On July 19-21, 1930, a Worldwide Workers Meeting was held at West Hanney, Eng. One item discussed was the strained relationship of Geo. Walker and Jack Carroll, the two North American Overseers. Here is the summary Statement of the meeting:
NOTE: The often repeated line from the above statement "It was unanimously agreed by all present that the past should be buried..." has often been taken out of context to mean that the Workers agreed to bury the true history and Wm. Irvine's role in founding the 2x2 movement, and that a pact of silence was made at this Meeting. However, a careful reading of the Statement above shows that the purpose of this worldwide Workers' Council Meeting was was because "acute...difficulties have existed in the U.S.A. between some of the elder workers..." The "difficulties" involved the antagonism between the two "elder Workers," Jack Carroll and Geo. Walker. "The past" the Workers were encouraged to bury was NOT the origin and history of the 2x2 Sect, but rather the offenses or feud that existed between these two North American Overseers.
"For a number of years past, difficulties have existed in the U.S.A. between some of the elder workers, which in recent years became more acute, because of these difficulties it was decided that a number of the elder workers from various countries should come together in England and enquire into the reasons for the trouble and seek to find some basis for a better understanding.
"During the days we (the undersigned) were gathered together, full opportunity was given to all to express their minds and to offer any suggestions that would be helpful. After considering the matter from every viewpoint, we are happy to say that those who were most concerned in this trouble expressed their deep regret for any offence at which they had been guilty and apologised to each other, and undertook to do all in their power to dispel the existing difficulties and promote the spirit of unity and fellowship amongst the Lord's people, particularly in the fields which were most affected by the trouble.
"It was unanimously agreed by all present that the past should be buried, and that in the future, all would use their influence to discourage anything that would disturb the peace in God's family, adhering to the teaching and example of Jesus. It was further agreed that should any violation or supposed violation occur, that no decision should be arrived at or circulated until the matter had been placed before a number of brethren from various countries."
[Signed by the following 16 men—the year after their names is the date they entered the work]
W. J. Gill (Willie) 1900; G. Walker (Geo.) 1899; J. T. Carroll (Jack) 1904; J. Hardie (John) 1900; A. Dougal (Alex); H. R. Mathews (Hugh)1904; J. Twamley; J. Doak (John) 1903; W. Jamieson (Willie) 1905; A. Scott (Sandy); J. Jardine (Jas.)1904; J. S. Jackson (Jack) 1901; A. Pearce/Pierce 1904; W. Weir (Willie) 1903; W. Reid (Wilson) 1904; J. Forbes (Jack).
However, difficulties between these two men continued to arise over the next two decades. In 1935, Irvine Weir discovered the seriousness of the enmity between Geo. Walker and Jack Carroll, when he asked Geo. Walker to approve his plan to return to California, and to his amazement, George replied, “I would not like you to go to California now. I am sorry but I may have to cut the West off.” Irvine Weir, along with Geo. Walker and Wm. Irvine, were the first three workers to ever land on American soil, and Irvine Weir pioneered the Work in California.
1938: THE COLORADO DISTURBANCE - Another rift occurred in the 1930s in Colorado where Eddie Cornock was the Overseer. Loyalties of Workers and Friends in Colorado had divided between Jack and George. "When Irvine Weir traveled through Colorado, he found that Friends and Workers in Denver had declared their support either for Jack Carroll or for Geo. Walker. The Overseers each forbade visits or contacts with preachers who were loyal to his opponent (Secret Sect by Parker, p. 85).
To resolve this matter, a Workers' Meeting was held in Denver, in which George assumed the responsibility for “his unwise attitude and action,” and asked for forgiveness for his part; as did Eddie Cornock. George also took responsibility for the Friends and Workers who participated in the disturbance. The Meeting results were summarized in a Statement with very few details, signed by seven senior Workers: John Hardie, Jas. Jardine, John S. Jackson, Geo. Walker, E. J. Cornock, Wm. Wilkie and Hugh Matthews; no signature by Jack Carroll (Read Statement, Dec. 1, 1938).
On occasion, the two men transcended their differences and worked toward a common goal. In or before 1942, they apparently agreed to use the name of "Christian Conventions Representing Assemblies of Christians Assuming This Name Only" in North America for their Church. Identical letterheads were printed for both East and West containing this name, with the only difference being that each listed the state Conventions in that territory. This long name was intended to convey the idea that the group consisted of Conventions that represented local groups (fellowship Meetings) of Christians who took no name except for "Christian." Subsequently, some began to refer to the sect by the shorter name "Christian Convention Church," abbreviated CCC.
In 1942, George Walker used the eastern state letterhead to correspond with the U.S. Government Selective Service in response to their request for information about the Church without a Name in order to consider the Workers' request for exemptions from military service for the Workers and for non-combatant status for the Friends. (letter to US Selective Service, Mar. 24, 1942). Jack also wrote some letters on the western state letterhead during WW II years, promoting the Red Cross and loyalty to one’s home country and flag (letters by Jack Carroll, 1940s?).
1931: TOM LYNESS WAS SHOT - On December 10, 1931, Brother Worker Tom Lyness, age 40 years, was shot twice in the head in a hotel lobby at Bozeman, Montana by William Sumner from Pony, MT. Against all expectation, Tom lived and continued to preach until his death in 1970. Sumner was sentenced to serve 12 years in the state prison. The Great Falls Tribune, Montana reported:
"Tom Lyness, 40 an evangelist with missions at Belgrade and Manhattan, was shot and seriously wounded Thursday by William Sumner, 55, a barber of Pony. The affair occurred in the reading room of the Baltimore hotel, where the men had met by appointment. Sumner gave himself up after firing three shots at Lyness. As Sumner walked out through the lobby, he said: 'I had to shoot him.' The exact cause of the quarrel is not definitely known" (Dec. 11, 1931). "Sumner blamed the preacher’s influence for his failure to induce his wife to move with him to Pony, where he has a barber shop. The proposed baptism of his oldest daughter brought matters to a crisis, he said" (Dec. 12, 1931).
1936: JOHN HARDIE and FRED QUICK VISIT WM. IRVINE IN JERUSALEM: Irvine toured them around Palestine. John says they all feel the need of the head they lost in me....I heard many of the troubles they have in loafing on others’ work, rather than working. Wm. Gill is praying that God would raise up a man to be head and leader, and John was anxious that I should come back...He told of many with heart for me, and praying night and day for my return..." (letter to Edwards, Dec. 8, 1936).
Irvine wrote John Hardie: "...three days was a very short time to crowd in what I have been taught by Him for 22 years...No honest man who knows the facts can ever doubt that the Testimony was my work. No William, no Testimony, or 7 churches" (letter, Feb. 7, 1937).
1937: WM. IRVINE'S SISTER, JANE "JEANIE" (Irvine) COMRIE, DIED on April 28, 1937, aged 63 years of cardiac valvular disease. She married Peter Comrie on April 28, 1893, lived in Kilsyth, and was the mother of at least nine children. She was number nine of the eleven Irvine siblings. Irvine wrote: "I have been more mixed in her life than any of the others these past 50 years. She was a good sister, wife and mother, though never so robust as the others" (May 1, 1937 letter to Hulls*). "I had been closer to her than any of my other relatives" (Apr. 30, 1937 Letter to Edwards*).
1938: WM. IRVINE'S SISTER, AGNES (Irvine) FREEBAIRN, DIED on December 7, 1938, aged 72 years from breast carcinoma. She married John Freebairn on Dec. 9, 1888, and was mother to 12 children. She was number five of the eleven Irvine siblings. Wm. Irvine's two youngest sisters Helen (Nellie) and Janet (Jennie) were alive when he died in 1947 and were mentioned in his Will.
1938: VISIT TO WM. IRVINE BY ALFRED MAGOWAN & ROBERT IRWIN - In May of 1938, Alfred Magowan and Robert Irwin, one of the professing men from Enniskillen visited Wm. Irvine in Palestine for 19 days on their way to Australia, Magowan wrote: "When I saw Wm. Irvine in Palestine in 1938 and heard him expound a chapter of Isaiah on Mount Carmel: it was so weak compared with the mighty expositor of 30 years before, that my heart was moved for him: and I understood how David felt on hearing of the death of Saul: 'Tell it not in Gath. Publish it not in the streets of Askelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice' " (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence, Jan. 13, 1956). Wm Irvine wrote:
"We have Alfie and Co....have had rather a busy time taking them around...He is physically strong, but he has had a nervous breakdown....I encourage him to think that it was a hopeful mark to have Testimony people put him and Eddie out" (letter to Edwards, May 28, 1938). "Alfie went on 1st June, after 19 days under my care and protection....I gave them in small convenient doses, the Truth or Message of the Spirit for today, and a welcome back to Palestine when John comes to all who are honest hearted to God and all who are His" (letter to Edwards, June 2, 1938).
During this same visit in 1938, Wm. Irvine made his famous statement to Alfred Magowan: "IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIMENT." To which Alfred replied: "IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE" (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence, Jan. 13, 1956, p. 5). Magowan explained to Doug Parker what he meant by "It was a great experiment:"
"An Experiment in brotherhood, where all were on one level; where possessions had no power over the hearts of men; where there was no desire for honours or titles or distinctions; where men could walk together, and call each other by their first names; where there was faith enough to believe preachers would not starve if they went out into the world without visible means of support. An Experiment in passing through this world without conforming to it; and where spiritually-minded men could maintain their pilgrimage, when Establishment was calling to them, and pulling at them from every side. An Experiment in serving, without expectation of reward in this life; where something of the sufferings of Christ was to be expected; and where the soul could be disciplined by all that it would be required to pass through—unto the final purifying of the heart. A very great Experiment indeed, and in which thousands of young men and women took part—to be made in an image and likeness not to be attained in any other way, or by any ordinary means" (Cross-examination of a Witness by Magowan).
1938 BALTIMORE WORKERS' CONVENTION - Reportedly, in or around 1938, before World War II, a large scale Workers Meeting was held in Baltimore, Maryland. Geo. Walker, Andrew Abernathy and Horace Burgess were among the approximately 150 Workers present.
1938: DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE COUNCIL: In July 1938, a worldwide Workers' Council was held on J. Humphries place at West Hanney, Oxfordshire Co., England, the location of the Oxfordshire, England convention grounds. It is also the location of a previous worldwide Workers' Council Meeting that was held July 19-20, 1930. This Meeting involved all countries where Workers were working at that time; e.g. North and South America, England, Scotland, Ireland, India, Australia and Western Europe. There were 16 of the most senior Overseers worldwide present who were likely also speakers at the upcoming Oxfordshire and perhaps other conventions.
The ship manifests for the following 10 Workers traveling in 1938 to England showed their professions as Minister or Evangelist. In alphabetical order by surname, they were: John (Jack) Carroll, Robert Chambers, John Doak, Alex Dougal, John Hardie, John (Jack) Jackson, Samuel Jones, Hugh Matthews, Alexander Pearce and Geo. Walker. Other Overseers likely present would have been from Scotland (Joe Twamley), Ireland (Wilson Reid?), England (Willie Gill), Europe (James Jardine?) and India (Syd Maynard?) for whom no travel arrangements were located.
A new policy was worked out and agreed to relating to future Divorce and Remarriage (aka D&R) situations. The Ruling was made that Friends who divorced and remarried after professing would not be permitted to attend Fellowship Meetings; however, those who had divorced and remarried before they professed would not be asked to separate, and would be allowed full privileges of fellowship. Also, those who were divorced when they professed could not remarry and participate in Meetings. These original limitations were quite stringent. Over the years, in various areas, some leniency has occurred.
The West coast US states and Canadian provinces still uphold the 1938 Divorce and Remarriage decision (in 2017). However, for a number of years they allowed D&R couples to attend Meetings without participating. However, in Western Canada in the last ten years or so, they have reverted to the original Ruling and D&R couples have been instructed not to attend Meetings.
On the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountain Divide, some states began in the 1970s to permit some D&R couples to participate in Meetings. Other states followed suit. However, there was one state, Colorado, with a very unusual D&R policy, where it was entirely up to the D&R couple as to whether or not they would participate in Meetings. Leslie White, the Colorado Overseer at the time, did not dictate rules to the D&R couples, but rather allowed them to go by their personal convictions. Some D&R couples moved to Colorado due to the compassion and freedom found in that state regarding D&R.
Unfortunately, the rift between the East and West did not die with the demise of Jack and George. Many of their differences still exist and are enforced by Workers in their respective areas. The East/West conflict also extends beyond American boundaries. The foreign countries under Western American jurisdiction (including Western Canada, Vietnam, South Korea, etc.) are subject to their Divorce and Remarriage policy; while the foreign countries under the Eastern jurisdiction follow the Eastern policy.
A senior Brother Worker saddened by the division wrote: “However, there was - and still is - a persistent aching in my heart because of the rift that exists between the East and the West....I ask myself, 'Why should the Great Divide of the Rockies come between God's people?'...This 'thorn' may be more painful to some of us who have labored on both sides of those mountains and have come to know and respect and love God's Servants and His Saints in all places. I am certain that God did not cause this rift, nor want it. And I am just as sure that He wants to heal it…Jesus' fervent prayer to God in John 17 has come to mind many times—especially vs. 21, 'That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee...' also Paul's exhortation in Eph. 4:3 'Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace' (letter by Lecil Sullivan, Jan. 31, 1987).
Later in 1975, a meeting was held of American Overseers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with the goal of the East and West Workers arriving at a united nationwide policy concerning Divorce and Remarriage. The meeting was attended by eight senior Overseers, four from the West and four from the East. Tharold Sylvester represented the Western State s and Andrew Abernethy represented the Eastern States in lieu of Geo. Walker, who was then 98 years old. The following letter provides insight into the two prevailing Divorce & Remarriage perspectives, and the stalemate that occurred at this meeting. Tharold Sylvester wrote:
“Twelve years ago  Eldon [Tenniswood], Ernest [Nelson], Howard [Mooney] and I [Tharold Sylvester] met Andrew [Abernethy], Garrett [Hughes], Murray [Keene], and Taylor [Wood] in Minneapolis where this question was brought up.
"There Andrew read 1Cor. 7:10-11. He asked us if we believed and taught that, and we told him, 'Absolutely.' Then he read verses 12-15, and asked us if we believed that, and we told him, 'Yes.' He went further then, and said that when the unbelieving departed, the forsaken party was not in bondage in such cases. Contending that that meant such were free to get married again. However they had no other verses to prove that.
"When we would not agree, Andrew closed the meeting, and promised we would have another in two years. Before that time came, Andrew had a stroke. However, he did write asking if we wanted another meeting. We answered, 'Yes.' Because I wanted to share the confirmation God had given me his answer. He replied that if we could not meet in full agreement with them, we would not meet.
"Since then, they [the East] have been restoring divorced and remarried people to full fellowship in every place they can. On the contrary, we [the West] have had over 20 cases who have become entangled in that here in the West, and they became so distressed that they have gone to court and obtained a divorce, because of the Holy Spirit convicting them of their wrong [20 cases where remarried couples divorced].
"They are back in fellowship, having returned as prodigals—feeling like they sinned against heaven. This in itself proves God has a way of restoring people, and we would like to share that with them. They still refuse to have another meeting to discuss this matter, and have not invited us to come to any of their Conventions.
"We are determined to abide by what Jesus taught. We still teach, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever,” and we’ll stand with anyone who will honestly stand for that. Remember John the Baptist's uncompromising position regarding Herod.
"If you have any further questions please write or call. We are interested in standing on the word of the Lord and not on the ideas of men. Don't let winds of false doctrine turn you from the Lord, as this could be the "falling away" mentioned in the Bible before Christ returns. He wants Saints who have been tested in every way to be with Him forever. Excuse more and best wishes.
"Yours for Christ Sake,
"Tharold Sylvester” (letter dated Jan. 24, 1987)
In more recent years, there has been some effort made to promote unity between the East and the West; e.g. exchange of Workers, Convention visitor exchanges, etc. However, a nationwide agreement by the U.S. Overseers to allow divorced and remarried Friends to participate in Meetings has yet to be implemented.
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Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted with an asterisk (*).
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