Revised June 7, 2017
The Author has found very little historical material about the Early Days of the 2x2 Fellowship in Canada which began in 1904. John Doak said, "When we four boys came up the St. Lawrence in 1904, there was not a person professing here on the prairies. Just four little corns of grain going into the ground, and look at the harvest!" (Portage La Prairie, MB, Convention, 1945).
FIRST WORKERS GO TO CANADA: On August 6, 1904, the first four Workers to go to Canada departed on the SS Parisian from Londonderry, N. Ire. and arrived in Montreal, Quebec on Aug. 13, 1904. They were Harry Oliver age 23, Tom Craig about 24, George Buttimer about 26 and John Doak age 25. Their destination was Souris, Manitoba, where Dora Holland's relatives resided; each listed his occupation as "farmer."
Harry Oliver: Born March 3, 1881, in Hampshire, England, entered the Work in 1903, arrived in Canada in 1904; died May 19, 1953, in Montana, U.S. Also preached in England, Scotland, Ireland and Montana.
Tom Craig: Born about 1880 in Berwickshire, Scotland, entered the Work in 1903, arrived in Canada in 1904. Pioneered the Work in Nebraska, U.S. in 1907, with Hugh Doak.
George Buttimer: Born about 1878 in Co. Cork, Ireland, entered the Work in 1903, arrived in Canada in 1904. By the 1916 Canadian census, he was married with children. Died in Saskatchewan in 1970.
John Doak: Born in 1879 in Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, professed in 1902, entered the Work in 1903, arrived in Canada in 1904, went to N. Dakota in 1907. Died Nov. 3, 1964, and is buried in Council Cemetery southwest of York, Nebraska, where Willie Abercrombie, Annie Edwards and George Boyle are also buried. Grew up with Tom Patterson–lived one mile apart and attended the same school.
1905, AUGUST 4: Twenty-three Workers departed from Londonderry, N. Ireland, on the SS Virginian. Some disembarked at Quebec on Aug. 10, 1905, and others at Montreal on Aug. 11, 1905. The eleven Brother Workers aboard were: Wm. Jackson, Thomas Lyness, Ralph Bullick, Noble Stinson, Hugh Doak, Tom Patterson, Robert Skerritt age 29, Edward Armstrong, Richard Watchorn age 26, Robert Johnston age 25 and Tom Purves age 19. Each listed his occupation as "farmer." The six Sister Workers aboard were: Martha Cooper age 30, Dora Holland age 29, Ann Irwin age 24, Martha McGivern age 30, Mable Reid age 22 and Ann Skerritt age 24. Each gave her occupation as "domestic."
NOTE: According to an old list titled "Arrival of Early Workers in North America ," James Boyd came also with this group and Robert Skerritt was not listed. Ancestry.com does not show James Boyd but does show Robt Skerritt's name (mispelled as Robt S. Kinnitt, and also Ann Skerritt's name was shown as Ann S. Kinnit, but was marked over with Skerritt).
1906, SEPTEMBER 4: Six Workers departed from Liverpool, Eng. aboard the SS Siberian, and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. They were Albert Quinn age 29, Jimmie Patrick age 33, Willie McAllister age 25, Alex Gibson age 24, Mary Cook and Annie Dodds age 22.
1907, AUGUST 3: Five Workers departed from Glasgow, Scotland, and Liverpool, England, on the SS Carthaginian for Halifax, N.S., and arrived on August 15, 1907. They were: John Stone age 27, John Leven age 19, Daisy Fee age 27, Kate Adamson age 27 and Mary Spence age 23.
1908, AUGUST 8: Eleven Workers departed from Liverpool, Eng., aboard the S.S. Carthaginian, and arrived in St. John's Harbor, Newfoundland and in Halifax, N.S., around Aug. 19, 1908. The manifest lists George Johnson, Walter H. Dennison, Thos. McGivern, Wm. G. Armstrong, Joseph Brown, WM. IRVINE, John Baillie, Blanche H. Chappell, Janet Dougal, Rosetta (Nettie) Millar, Mary Wilson (Source: Coming of the Workers to Newfoundland).
1906: THE FIRST CANADIAN CONVENTION and the first Convention in North America, was held in Toronto, Ontario, in June 1906, in a rented house and tent. Wm. Irvine was present. View List of Workers at the Toronto Convention 1906. It shows 62 total Workers; 37 men; 25 women, including one married pair. In November 1906, a Convention was held in Minnedosa, Manitoba.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: First Worker's arrival date unknown______ - Reportedly, Jack Carroll
First B.C. Convention: Vancouver in 1906. Nelson B.C. in 1908.
OVERSEERS: ________; Ernest Nelson 1956-89; Paul Sharp 1990-95; Walter Burkinshaw 2008-
BOOK: Through Western Canada in a Caravan, 1st Ed 1925; 2nd Ed. 1927, by F. H. Eva Hasell; Publisher: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. See Two by Twos, p. 244.
ALBERTA: First Workers arrived in 1907. Noble Stinson entered the work in 1901, arrived in Canada in 1905 with second group of Workers; PIONEERED work in Alberta with Robert Darling in 1907; married, had a family and lived on a farm near Enniskillen in the Boho area. Maggie Rowe and Grace Douglas in 1907. Robert (Rob, Bob) Darling was born Sept. 4, 1883, in Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, entered the work in 1905, died June 9, 1970, in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is buried in the British cemetery portion of Chacarita cemetery in Buenos Aires, in the same grave with Jack Jackson. He PIONEERED work in Alberta, Canada with Noble Stinson in 1907.
First Alberta Convention: Mission Center in 1908.
OVERSEERS: Rob Darling;______ Willie Fullerton 1952-56; Stanley Watchorn 1964-65; Harold Stewart 1974-83; Willis Propp 1983-2008??; Merlin Affleck 2009-
BOOKS: Sect, Cult and Church in Alberta, By William Edward Mann. Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 1955. See: "Cooneyites," pp. 15, 27-28, 30, 33, 45, 56, 70, 108, 110, 116. Out of Print
Along the Fifth: A History of Stony Plain and District by Stony Plain and District Historical Society, Stony Plain, Alberta , Canada, 1982 Article by Carlos Propp RE: Joe and Minnie Kleven - Canadian married worker pair, p. 375.
ALBERTA WORKERS LISTS 1907–1916
1907 Workers List: Noble Stinson, Robert Darling, Maggie Rowe, Grace Douglas
1908 Workers List: Harry Oliver, John Fox, Robert Darling. John McClean, Jim Moore, Maggie Rowe, Lizzie Kerr
1909-10 Workers List: Harry Oliver, John Zogg, Robert Darling, Jim Moore, Andy Scott, Maggie Rowe, Lizzie Kerr
SASKATCHEWAN: First Workers arrival: (names and date unknown_____)
First Saskatchewan Convention: Bredenbury in 1911
OVERSEERS: Willie Abercrombie; _________; Willie Smiley 1955-72; Willis Propp 1976-1983; Stanley Sharpe 1978-87; Dale Shultz 1988-91--97??; Jack Price 1991-92--maybe 95 when he went to MT??; Jim Atcheson 2009--
BOOK: Windthorst Memories, A History of Windthorst and District,1806-1981 in Saskatchewan, Canada, by Windthorst History Book Committee, 1983. See "The Church in the Home," p. 258. Out of print.
MANITOBA: First Workers arrived in 1905. Harry Oliver, Tom Craig, John Doak, George Buttimer, with Dora Holland ( Dorothy/Dot). Dora was born Jan. 1, 1876 in Co. Galway, Ire. She went in the work in May 1902, and came to Sidney, Manitoba, in 1905 where her family lived. Six Holland siblings became workers: Dora, Harry, Maud, Kathleen, Mable and Muriel. Dora died Aug. 1, 1968. She and her brother Harry share the same tombstone in Graceland Cemetery, Madison S. Dakota. In 1897, Dora was THE FIRST PERSON to profess in a mission by Wm. Irvine after he went to pioneer the work in S. Ireland in Kilrush, Co. Clare.
First Manitoba Convention: Minnedosa in 1906; Sidney in 1909.
OVERSEERS of MB & NW ON (the Manitoba Field includes NW Ontario): Mark Craig: ________; Stanley Lee 1964-7; Stanley Sharpe 1978-83; Jack Price 1983-90; Alton Mose 1991-2010
E. ONTARIO & W. QUEBEC - First Workers who arrived in Montreal in 1904, Harry Oliver, Tom Craig, John Doak and George Buttimer did not stay. They traveled on to Manitoba.
First workers to stay in Ontario or Quebec unknown
First Ontario Convention: Toronto in 1906; Holland Landing in 1908
OVERSEERS: Jack Jackson: __________Andrew Blair 1972-73; Carson Cowan 1978-97; George Poole 2003-04; Carson Wallace 2009-
Read Early History Account: Southern Quebec Gospel History 1908-1920
E. QUEBEC & ATLANTIC PROVICES: First Workers arrived in 1908. Harry Dennison from Ireland and John Baillie from England sailed from Liverpool and arrived in the province of Quebec in Aug. 1908, to work among the French people. Although both workers had learned French in France, they had no success in Quebec. After attending the 1908 Holland Landing, Ontario, Convention, Harry returned with Willie Wilson from Scotland and they preached to English speaking people.
First Quebec Convention: Perhaps the Convention near Gould at Mrs. Morrisons 1910 to 1913.
OVERSEERS: __________; Wayne Hutchison 2009-
BOOK: Yesterdays of Brome County, Quebec, compiled and edited by Clifford W. Smith for the Brome County Historical Society. Publisher: Brome Lake, Knowlton, Quebec, Canada, 1976. See pp. 119-120. Out of print.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: First Workers to arrive in 1907 were Willie Snedden (Scotland) and Willie McAllister (Ireland).
First PEI Convention: St. Eleanors in 1913.
OVERSEERS: __________; Seldon Gillis 1982-86; Maurice Close 1985-91; Leslie Beddoe 1990-92, Gordon Hazelwood 2004-
Read Early History Account: Early Days on Prince Edward Island, 1907
NEW BRUNSWICK: First Workers arrived (date unknown): Galen Harris
First NB Convention: Smithtown in 1911
OVERSEERS: _____; Wm. Snedden; ______; Frank Thomas 1978-79; James Abbott 1982-96; Charles O'Regan 2004-
Read Early History Account: Napan, New Brunswick - The Go Preachers, 1912
NEWFOUNDLAND: First Workers arrived (date unknown):
1908 - George Johnson, Tom McGivern, Blanche Chappell, Rosetta Miller.
First Newfoundland Convention: Paradise in 1915
OVERSEERS: Jamie Patrick; ________; Maurice Close 1982-83; Melvin Toole 1986-92; Leslie Beddoe 1995-96; Albert Clark 2004-
Read Early History Accounts:
Newfoundland: Coming of Workers to Newfoundland, 1908
Traytown, Newfoundland: Gospel Came in 1912
West Point, Newfoundland: Account of the Gospel Coming in 1915
NOVA SCOTIA: First Workers arrived (date unknown): 1906 Workers name unknown.
First N.S. Convention: Dartmouth 1908
OVERSEERS: Wm Bryant 1982-92; Ted Tyndall 1995-96; Jas Abbott 2004-
Read early History Account: When the First Workers came to Nova Scotia, 1906
YUKON & NW TERRITORIES: Unknown
1912-13 CANADA WORKERS LIST:
ONTARIO: Jack Jackson, Jim Pilgrim, Jack Chamney, Ernest Barton, Alfred Benton, Wm. Duncan, Joe Brown, Herbert Harper, Campbell Arrell, W.G. Armstrong; Sisters: Jennie Chapman, Maggie Logan, Annie Dodds, Kittie McCarte, Annie Corcoran, Lizzie Whyte, Minnie McGuirk, Irene Young
MANITOBA: Mark Craig, V. Harper; Sisters: J. Houston, Sue Pattison, L. Jackson, A. Carson, Maud Sleator, L. McRae, Annie McBride, E. Wright, Jane Craig, M. Thompson
ALBERTA: Robt Darling, Howard Skinner, John McClean, Jn Brice, Sam McMinn, John Zogg, James Moore, Andrew Scott, Wm. Smiley, Willington Lyttle, Wm. Richardson, John McLetos, Robt Graham, Alex Smart; Sisters: Fanny Davis, Margt Smart, Lizzie Kerr, May Coulter, Hannah Nelson, Ruby Long, Mary Wilson, Martha Cooper, Lilly Meikle, Pearl Johnston
SASKATCHEWAN: W. Abercrombie, A. Henderson, Ch Ross, C. Mitchell, D. McRae, G. Kostenick, D. Watchorn, F. Hardy, R. Johnston, W. Thompson, T. Craig, G. Thompson
NEW BRUNSWICK: Wm. Snedden, Wm. Ford, Jn Cooke, Bernard Allen; Sisters: Annie Stanley, Kate Adamson, Ellen Harrison, Gertrude Matthews, Blanch Chappell, Carrie Walker
NEWFOUNDLAND: Jamie Patrick, John Stone, Utley Mathews; Sisters: Anna Semple, Effie Moore
BRITISH COLUMBIA and NOVA SCOTIA - not provided
LINK to Workers List for 1915-16
1912: WORKERS ACCUSED OF WHITE SLAVE TRAFFICKING. In 1906, Wm Dennis Wilson began harassing the Workers. He owned Rookery Farm in Cretingham, Framlingham, East Suffolk, England, and was a prosperous farmer in good standing. He was extremely upset that three of his seven children had "disappeared" (went in the Work). He mass produced and distributed libelous propaganda in England and Ireland claiming Workers were involved in white slave trafficking of young girls. Eight lawsuits by Friends and Workers were filed against Wilson, who lost or settled all of them. Wilson's influence and propaganda extended across the ocean to Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Details are in Chapter 23. From a Napan, NB newspaper:
"Rev. George Wood charged them with belonging to a sect or circle or conspiracy of rascals in England who had been found guilty of taking girls away from their parents for improper purposes, and his authority...a leaflet received from England, giving the deposition of one, William Dennis Wilson of Ispwich, Suffolk. Mr. Wood had this circulated throughout the community...had appeared in two or three newspapers, and he did so without having...ascertain [ed] whether it was trustworthy..." (Chatham Newspaper, Ontario, Mar. 21, 1912 ).
In 1915, while Workers were holding a mission in West Point, Newfoundland, a newspaper "told about the workers belonging to what they called the White Slave Traffic...taking away young girls." This account nearly prevented some from being baptized. (See Account: Gospel Coming To West Point, Newfoundland in 1915). Read difficulties encountered by sister worker Kate Adamson and Janet Dougal, due to Wilson's propaganda while preaching in Nova Scotia.
In 1913, for the lawsuits, Sister Workers from Britain all over the world were asked to provide Testimonial Letters of their experiences in the Work. Several of these letters written by Sister Workers who served in Canada. Click the Sister Worker's name to read her letter: Kate Adamson, Annie Corcoran, Janet Dougal, Daisy Fee, Helen (Ellen) Harrison, Dora Holland, Annie Irwin, Lizzie Kerr, Minnie McGuirk, Rosetta (Nettie) Millar, Annie Stanley.
1926 SPRINGSIDE, SASKATCHEWAN, WORKERS CONVENTION was the first and only Canadian Workers Convention for 81 years–until another was held at Didsbury, Alberta, in 2007. View Photo.
WORLD WAR I: During WWI there was no "conscientious objector" status in Canada, and some professing Saskatchewan men refused to bear arms. Initially, several were locked up together in the Regina, SK, jail, but eventually they were given non-combatant jobs. In 1917, a photo of these men was taken showing Robert Fraser, Clifford Fleming, Matthew Thompson, Blake Pierce, Dugald Murdoch, Carl Jensen, Elmer Larson, Jim McChesney, Fred Hardy and Albert Phillips.
WORLD WAR II: Jack Carroll made a statement at the Theodore, Saskatchewan, Convention on Sunday morning, July 14, 1940, concerning World War II and the government. His statement was typed on Christian Convention stationary showing Western Canadian Conventions and widely distributed. Jack introduced the topic with, "This morning we wish to say a little about our relationship with, and what our attitude should be, toward the Government under which we live. These passages of scripture which we have read together emphasize three things which should always characterize the lives and walk of all Christians. (1) Submission to our established rulers as 'the Ministers of God.' (2) Obedience to the laws of the land in which we make our homes. (3) Loyalty to the Government and flag under which we live" (Link to full Statement). Some 1942 correspondence exists by Willie Fullerton, Overseer of Alberta, regarding the name Friends and Workers should use for their religion for the upcoming census and for military purposes. View Canadian Letterhead for Christian Conventions TTT Canada Photo Gallery.
Canada conscripted troops during World War I and II, but after each war, the Canadian armed services returned to all-volunteer forces. To be a Conscientious Objector in Canada, one had to be a volunteer; if you were conscripted, you did not have a choice.
“Canadian conscription differed from most compulsory service laws during the Second World War in that no one could be conscripted for service outside Canada…Conscientious objection was, then, to military service at home. Regulations provided ‘postponement’ of service for those who conscientiously objected ‘by reason of religious training and belief to war in any form and to participation in combatant military service.’ Those granted postponement as objectors were offered the opportunity to serve in the medical corps of the army, and some two hundred thousand chose to do so" (Conscription of Conscience – The American State and the Conscientious Objector 1940-1947; by Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1952; pp. 8-9).
Hugh Roberts, an early Canadian Worker originally from Enniskillen, N, Ireland, was conscripted for World War I. He refused to wear a uniform or bear arms and was sent to a Canadian concentration camp. (Canada had no C.O. provisions then.) While in camp, he wrote the hymn in "Hymns Old and New": “Strong in the Strength of Gentleness.”
CANADIAN BLACK FRIENDS: According to the 2006 Canadian Census, a total of 949,665 black Canadians were counted, comprising 2.9% of Canada's population. Consequently, there are very few black Friends in Canada, except for Montreal and Toronto. Many are from multi-generational families originating in the West Indies, also known as Caribbean Islands, and their culture is significantly different from other Canadian Friends.
In some respects, there appears to be a division between the white and black Friends, but it is primarily a language barrier, rather than a racial situation. Most whites in Montreal speak French, the official language, and attend meetings where French is spoken. Most blacks come from English speaking immigrants, few of whom spoke French, and they attend meetings where English is spoken. Some black people who speak French attend French meetings.
Currently, there are no black Workers known to be laboring in Canada. Some black Friends have observed that the black North Americans who have offered for the Work do not seem remain in North America, and are sent to the Caribbean Islands to preach.
FRENCH CONVENTION: There is a bilingual Convention held at Richmond, Quebec, where there is at least one worker who speaks in French and another who speaks in English. Simultaneous translation is provided for anyone who does not speak both languages. Testimonies and prayer are in both languages and not everyone speaks and prays in the same language. Signs posted on the grounds are written in both French and English. The Convention in Almonte, Ontario, is all spoken in English, but there is simultaneous translation into French for the entire Convention. The friends use the NIV version of the French Bible.
PURGE BY WILLIS PROPP IN ALBERTA, CANADA: Willis Propp was the primary person responsible for the excommunication of many Friends in Alberta and ripples from that purge are still felt today. Willis Propp was born Sept. 17, 1920, professed in 1940, and entered the Work in 1948. He became Overseer of Alberta in 1983, and was last shown on that Workers list in 2009. He was the Overseer of Saskatchewan prior to that, from 1964 to 1983. He passed away Nov. 28, 2015, aged 95. LINK to photo of Willis Propp.
In March 1996, funds were left in the will of a Canadian professing woman to "the ministers of my church" but Willis Propp refused the money in a letter dated July 3, 1996, on Christian Convention letterhead. Above Willis Propp’s signature on his letter was typed: "ALBERTA SOCIETY OF CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES." Link to Letter.
Not long after, in August 1996, John Mitchell investigated the "Alberta Society of Christian Assemblies" and discovered that in 1995, a Certificate of Incorporation No. 50654949 had been granted to this Society by the Government of Alberta. Willis Propp, Overseer of the Province of Alberta, Canada, was responsible for the act of incorporating the 2x2 Sect in Alberta. This Certificate of Incorporation is hereinafter referred to as "The Document." LINK to the original Certificate.
In the fall of 1996, copies of The Document were widely distributed and placed on the internet where it remains. The discovery of The Document shocked and disturbed many 2x2 Sect members. While some doubted its authenticity, the evidence was compelling. Due to the considerable concern and unrest, Willis Propp wrote a letter of explanation:
“To All of Concern: ... one of the Workers in Hungary, whose visa was soon to expire, was faced with the problem of being refused permission to remain in the country because the 'Group' she was representing was not a registered body in Hungary. Our sister who labours there was companion to the girl in question and she appealed urgently to us that we do something it about (sic) because any approach they made to the local authorities was to no avail and they needed help badly...there was a deadline to meet. Hungary would accept our Registration as backing…we sought a Lawyer's aid and as a result a very complicated document was made up. We learned to our dismay that to be registered we had to become incorporated as a non-profit Society. While it was solely for the purpose of those in Authority, the document gave us a long handled name. We were hesitant to do it, but for the sake of our Workers in Hungary, we signed the document....We are in the process now of having the whole document cancelled, since it is not required in Canada…and we hope the matter will settle down in time" (View letter, Nov. 9, 1996).
The Sister Worker in distress was Anne Court from Scotland, who was the companion of Ester Laslo, an Alberta Worker laboring in Hungary. The incorporation gave the 2x2 Sect a legal identity, along with the means to sponsor and support Workers going to preach in foreign countries. Reportedly, Willis Propp was responsible for the funding and maintaining of the Canadian Workers serving in foreign lands. Willis replied to an attorney: "It was because of the group of workers in Hungary and they required registration. That's the only reason we did it, because we didn't need it here. They just required backing from us" (Dorey Transcript). However, some were not persuaded that the situation in Hungary was the real reason Willis Propp had incorporated the 2x2 Church. Nine days later, Willis wrote a letter of apology:
"To Whom It May Concern: The concept of the Document of Registration that was drawn up and filed in Alberta, Canada, on the 5th day of May 1995, was totally contrary to the basic tenets of our fellowship, and so was totally wrong. I, Willis Propp, acted unilaterally without due consultation with my seniors in the ministry, which made my action totally wrong….I assume full responsibility for involving in this process my fellow Workers in Alberta….I have instructed a lawyer on November 8, 1996, to have the said Document completely revoked" (letter, Nov. 18, 1996). NOTE: The Alberta Society of Christian Assemblies was voluntarily dissolved on Dec. 11, 1996. Link to the Certificate of Dissolution.
On January 8, 1997, a Workers Meeting was held in Calgary, Alberta. Workers present included Harold Bennett, Alton Mose, Paul Sharpe, Jack Price, Sydney Holt, Dick Middleton, Charles Preston, Ernest Nelson and Eldon Tenniswood. Soon after, on January 23, 1997, Jack Price wrote a letter to ""Co-Workers" in which he stated:
"During our three days together in Calgary....Most of the Alberta workers except for the youngest were interviewed individually and confidentially, resulting in the majority asking that Willis would remain as their overseer. A meeting including all the Alberta Workers plus the overseers present was held on the evening of the second day....Due to the fact that this was a first admonition & since Willis manifested a true spirit of repentance, in addition to making every effort to get the 'document' dissolved, it was only reasonable to give him another chance to prove himself in the place where has had the privilege & responsibility of serving. Should also add that we were satisfied with the apologies from those who co-signed the 'document.' "
In addition to incorporating and naming the Sect, other serious concerns that had arisen over the years were unscriptural, unethical, and immoral behavior observed among some of the Alberta Staff. And a number of Friends had attempted to discuss these issues with Senior Workers, including Willis Propp and the Overseers for Western Canada and the U.S. West coast. An example was Workers making applications for old age pensions and then turning the money over to the Overseer.
Some Elders and Friends began to believe that at least some Workers were not being lead by the Holy Spirit. They had long understood that their church took no name; that the Workers left all their possessions, took no salary, and went out totally in faith. So they were disturbed when it was discovered that the actions of Willis Propp and others violated some of these “fundamental basic truths.” It became clear to the Friends that money was very highly regarded and sought after by Workers, and that some Workers were not going out in total faith. Perhapsthe most the troubling was that Workers would take a name for their Church, when it was to their advantage and was likely to stay hidden, yet claim their Church took no name.
When asked about these things, most Workers aligned themselves in submission to their Overseer. The Workers tried to impress on the Friends that it was their place to accept, obey and submit, and that the Workers would look into or take care of the issues. Some Friends lost their trust and confidence in the Ministry and stopped supporting it.
In Aug. 1997, the Dorey-Steingard child custody battle began in Alberta Family Court and lasted for two years. It involved a professing mother, her nonprofessing ex-husband and their two daughters. Mr. Dorey's attorney attempted to show that Ms. Steingard was a member of cult, and therefore, her home was not the best one for the children ("The Alberta Report," Sept. 1997*). During the court proceedings in 1999, Willis Propp was questioned under oath, and some of his personal business activities became public knowledge. The Court Transcript of the testimony by Willis Propp and two 2x2 Elders was bound into a booklet, and references in this Chapter to the "Dorey Transcript" were taken from it.
In May 1997, after some revealing facts came out in the Dorey-Steingard case, there was a meeting of eleven Senior Workers and Overseers and about 50-60 Friends and Elders. The Workers present were: Eldon Tenniswood and Dick Middleton (California) Harold Bennett (Oregon) Sydney Holt (Washington) Paul Sharpe and Ernest Nelson (British Columbia), (Dale Shultz) Saskatchewan , Willis Propp, Jim Knipe and Eldon Kendrew (Alberta), Jack Price (Montana), and possibly more.
Dick Middleton began the meeting by admitting that Willis had "made some mistakes along the way," and after others spoke, the meeting was opened for discussion. Some Friends and Elders spoke of their concern about Willis and the attempted cover-up of the Incorporation, as well as his Visa Gold Card with a $20,000 credit limit, his inherited Oil and Gas mineral interests that he had retained and leased out, his substantial bank account in the name of "F. Willis Propp Enterprises" at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and other issues. Read details on TLC.
As a result of this and other meetings, Dale Shultz, Overseer of Saskatchewan, wrote "to a number of people in Alberta who have been communicating with me by letter and/or phone" that it had been decided that Willis Propp and Jim Knipe would retain their authority in Alberta, and that it was the Friends' place to accept the Workers’ decisions, even when they disagreed with them:
"I do know that those of you to whom I am writing have felt, for various reasons, that your confidence in the oversight in Alberta has been eroded to a larger or lesser extent in different cases. You have hoped and, at times, expected that some change in the changes affecting the province of Alberta. However, as you know, “the decision coming out of the meeting last July (1998) was to support the status quo in Alberta. That was not the thinking of everyone there, but it was the decision of the meeting. With Eldon, Ernest and Sydney coming into the province in recent weeks (1999); it remains very evident that the overseers generally are fully supporting Willis and Jim and their oversight in the province.
"We realize that the fact that we are servants of God, or even very responsible servants of God, doesn't make us infallible. However, something that is very much a part of being a child of God is to respect those who are over us in the Lord, to pray for them, to obey them, to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Their judgement may not always be right, but it is always right for us to respect that judgement and to work with it in the best way that we possibly can… Whether the decision is right or wrong, the right thing for all of us is to respect it because of those who have made the judgement...it does remain the right thing to respect that decision because of where it has come from and to work with it no matter what our own thoughts might be on the subject" (Shultz' letter, April 12, 1999.)
Workers considered the Friends' questioning "way out of line," not "staying in their place," disrespectful of their authority, and the Workers began exerting their authority and control by excommunicating the Friends who were unwilling to accept the Workers’ decisions without question.
Sometime earlier in 1997, the first two Meetings were removed from the homes of Sam and Barbara Tschetter and Ervin and Margaret Oakes. Willis Propp later testified in the Dorey-Steingard court case that the Oakes believed the Workers were not telling them the truth about the Hungary situation, and apparently the Tschetters told Willis that the Workers in Alberta, except for the young ones, were not welcome in their home. Willis removed the Meetings from their homes but allowed them to continue to attend Meetings.
In March/April of 1999, an Elder and his wife, Keith and Mabel Veitch, of Evansburg, discussed some of their concerns with a Sister Worker in their field, Thelma Galbraith. Rather than admit that Willis was wrong, Thelma made it appear instead that some Friends were in the wrong. After their visit, the Veitches wrote Thelma a letter and stated:
"We cannot accept the doctrine you presented to us and therefore refer to 2nd John, Verses 9, 10 & 11, and based on that scripture trust that you will respect our decision to close our home to any in a ministry that finds lies along with false doctrine an acceptable commodity to present to the churches. 1st John 2:21 assures us we have the right purpose and verse 27 gives us the qualifications to uphold that purpose" (letter, April 12, 1999*).
Subsequently, Thelma and her companion met with Veitches along with other Friends and Elders. She informed them that since the Workers were not welcome, the Veitches could no longer have the Union Meeting in their home. Those who usually went to their Meeting were directed elsewhere. Later, the Veitches held a meeting with some Friends, and soon after, Workers telephoned those who had attended and excommunicated them. John and Shirli O'Dell and Jim and Elizabeth Holt were among those ousted.
The Sunday following the Veitch ousting, (May 9), the O’Dells attended Meeting at Dale and Marlene Jordans' home in Calgary. Because Jordans allowed O’Dells to attend their Meeting, the Jordans received a phone call from Jim Knipe and Gwen Fipke, which resulted in them being excommunicated and their Meeting being removed. The Jordans tape recorded this conversation. Click Here to listen to the tapes. The Jordans continued to hold "unsanctioned meetings" in their home. Their son, three daughters and their husbands were excommunicated because they attended one of these “unsanctioned Meetings." Later, the Jordans went to Meeting at Don and Maureen Parson's home which led to the Parsons also being excommunicated and their Meeting removed.
These excommunications were carried out with the approval Willis Propp, although he did not personally handle them. Willis conferred with his right-hand man, Jim Knipe and Jim made the arrangements with Workers in their respective fields to excommunicate or to accompany Jim in doing so. Some excommunications were carried out by telephone and others in personal visits. After a brief discussion, the Workers usually gave the Elder or Friend an ultimatum in the form of "The Question:" "Are you prepared to support the Alberta ministry in all their decisions regarding removal of meetings and removing people from the fellowship? Yes or No?" Unless the Elder or Friend gave their unconditional support, they were excommunicated. When later questioned about these events, some Workers reported that the Elder/Friend CHOSE to leave or to give up their meeting!
The chain reactions continued. Don and Myrna Galloway allowed the Holts to attend their Meeting. This resulted in Jim Knipe coming to visit Galloways, accompanied by Scott McChesney. The Galloways were reminded that the Ministry is the foundation of the gospel, that Friends/Elders have no right to question the Workers, that Friends must accept without question whatever the Ministry decides, that Friends must "keep in their place" and that while Elders had control over who they invited into their homes any other time, the Ministry and ONLY the Ministry, had control over who could come into their homes for Meetings. Then Jim Knipe asked Galloways "The Question." They stated they could not give their unconditional support to the Workers for some of the actions they were taking. Jim replied, "Well then you folks are no longer a part of this Fellowship" and then local Friends were warned that if they or any other Friend attended a Meeting in Galloway’s home, they would be excommunicated also.
By May/June of 1999, a total of eight Meetings had been removed, and during the next two years at least 16 Elders gave up their Meetings rather than be put in a place of supporting the Workers in refusing certain Friends from attending Meetings in their homes. About half these Elders also left the Church.
About June 5-6, the O’Dells, who had been excommunicated earlier, spent the weekend with Fred and Verna Alder of Lethbridge and attended Meeting in their home. After the Alders allowed the O'Dells to attend their meeting, Jim Knipe called and asked "The Question." Fred’s answer was a definite, "No.” The Alders were advised they were "no longer a part of this fellowship" and their Meeting was removed. At the end of the conversation, Fred let Jim Knipe know their conversation had been tape recorded, and Jim became quite angry. LINK to recorded phone conversation.
In 2001, Sister Worker, Margaret ("Marg") Magowan, who labored in Saskatchewan, attended an "unsanctioned Meeting" and also visited some Friends who had been excommunicated. On February 16, 2001, her Overseer, Dale Shultz, asked Marg to promise to have no further communication with any of the excommunicated Friends. She refused, believing it was her duty as a Minister to reach out and care for all who were in need wherever they were. She was then told she no longer had a place in the Work. Currently, Marg is married, lives in Canada and no longer attends meetings. Click here for details about Marg Magowan and her letter.
WILLIS PROPP'S PURGE TOTALS: Friends and Workers around the world were stunned to learn there were 24 Alberta Meetings where the Elder and his wife were either excommunicated or opted to give up their Meeting. In addition, at least 200 Alberta Friends were Ex-communicated or left the fellowship, at least one worker (Marg Magowan) was put out of the work, and another left (Dan Hofer).
Incorporation Document in Sweden as "Christians in Sweden": Willis Propp's incorporation of the 2x2 church had a precedent. The Church was incorporated in Sweden in 1992 under the name of: "Christians in Sweden." The attendance record of the first board meeting for the Christians in Sweden Corporation was signed by the Senior Worker in
UPDATE: These have passed away: Eldon Tenniswood, Sydney Holt, Roland Jackson, Dennis Einboden, Willis Propp (2015), Jack Price (2015). Jim Knipe went to labor in Argentina, South America in 2000. Eldon Kendrew married and lives in Alberta
Read more detailed Alberta Accounts on TTT: Alberta Purges
Other Related Materials:
Events Preceding the 1999 Alberta, Canada Ex-communications
The Alberta Ex-communications of 1999
Listen to tape recordings of 2 elders being excommunicated (off site)
The Margaret ("Marg") Magowan Account
TTT: Discovery of the Incorporation Document
Incorporation Document & Dissolution
TTT: Photocopies of letters in TTT Photo Gallery
Photo of Willis Propp Letter to: "To All of Concern"
Willis Propp's Letter
Dale Shultz's Letter
Dale Shultz's Letter dated April 12, 1999 to Friends (typed)
Willis Propp’s 1997 Petroleum and Natural Gas Lease with Scott Land & Lease Ltd.
LINK to Lease - LINK to Caveat - LINK to Title Cancellation
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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