The Gospel Herald's Fiftieth Year
Some Recollections of an Old Man
The Gospel Herald will soon be 50 years old! This is a unique accomplishment. Since the beginning of the Restoration Movement in Canada numerous religious periodicals have been printed. None of them have survived as long as the Gospel Herald. This has not happened without an effort.
I am sure that other writers will search the archives for the history of religious papers in Canada. I shall only use the recollections of an old man, who was once young. It is wonderful to think that the Gospel Herald has been going for 50 years. I can remember the Canadian Helper but it soon faded out. I can remember the Bible Student but it soon faded out.
Then there was the Christian Monthly Review. It was published by Brother MacDougal at West Gore in Nova Scotia. I even wrote at least one article for that paper. In 1925 Brother MacDougal came to Meaford to the June meeting and the editorship of the Christian Monthly Review was, in a very impressive ceremony, transferred to H. McKerlie. Brother MacDougal has one daughter still living at West Gore and she contributed very substantially to the India work. The depression of the thirties was too much for the faith of our Canadian brethren and the Christian Monthly Review followed the path of all its predecessors.
Truth is stranger than fiction. The Christian Monthly Review died in the depression in a prosperous part of Canada. The Gospel Herald was born during the depression in the bush country near a county district known as Perryville in Saskatchewan. War came, a measure of prosperity came back and the Gospel Herald almost died.
The Gospel Herald was first published on a Gestetner duplicator and it was a very poor Gestetner. I recently visited Brother Stanley McInery. He told how he helped put out the Gospel Herald at Wishart, Saskatchewan.
The Gospel Herald was being printed but it was in such financial straits that Brother Robert Sinclair wrote to me and said that he could not even put out the next issue of the paper. I wrote him and asked him how much money he needed, he told me, and I sent him the money. I have no idea where I got it. I did write to Brother Sinclair and ask him to appoint me as Business Manager. He consented. I wrote to 12 brethren and asked them, if need be, would they give one dollar per month to help keep the paper running. They all replied that they would, but I never asked one person for one cent.
Brother Sinclair got the money he asked for. However, he would not, or could not, bring out the paper on time. So I wrote him and said that he would either have to bring out the paper on time or I would ask him to turn the paper over to me. He turned the paper over to me.
I left Meaford and moved back to Radville, Saskatchewan. It was during the latter days of World War II. I could not find anyone who would print the Gospel Herald. Paper was scarce. I wrote to the proper authorities and asked them if I could buy printing machinery and they said I could. I asked them if they would grant me paper to print a religious paper and they said they would. We put up a small shop in Radville and there we printed the Gospel Herald until the paper was moved to Ontario. I traveled among the churches and we were able to keep the Gospel Herald growing. I sold Bibles and religious books. I never kept one cent of profit. I never took one cent for the work I did on the paper.
In 1953 our son John was finishing his last year at Radville Christian College. He liked to print and I did not. The work in the print shop was his more and more. Then one day he said to me: Dad, I would like to go to Abilene Christian College. He really surprised me. He had never been too fond of school. However, without a moment's hesitation, I said, if you want to go, then go. He said, but what about the Gospel Herald ? I said we will turn it over to others, and the story from there is history.
The Gospel Herald was started when we were poor people. We ran the paper in that poor economy. Now most of us are upper middle class. During the 30s I did not average $60 per month. We had a growing family and I went wherever the opportunity afforded itself to preach the word. One year during that time we had more than 40 baptisms. Blessed days of long ago.
What about a drive to make the Gospel Herald more useful by doubling the subscription list? One time we had 2,000 subscribers. We can do it again and this time keep it there. I am sure the Lord will be pleased if we pass that mark but we need to get there before we can pass it.
The two Christian Colleges in Canada depend to a greater extent than probably they realize on the Gospel Herald. Of the scores that have gone overseas there is need for brethren to know about their work. What would you do without the Gospel Herald? Then think about our homes. Hundreds do not remember when they did not take the Gospel Herald but there are too few that subscribe now.
Some people say, but people do not read any more. Isn't it funny that Armstrong has not discovered that. The Jehovah Witnesses do not say people do not read anymore. So why are we quitting our publications? You know it is not true. There are some people who do not read anymore, but millions do. We have put out more than seven million tracts in India, and hundreds of thousands of Bible correspondence courses. India is begging for more literature.
If we ever needed a Gospel paper in Canada, we need it now. If the Gospel Herald is going to live, then we must support it. I want to call your attention to Sardis: "...I know thy works, thou hast a name that thou livest but thou art dead. ...for I have no work of thine perfected before my God." To every person who reads this I want you to take it as if I were talking to you. The Lord says that if we do not do our work, if we do not perfect our work, He will remove the candlestick.
J.C. Bailey, 1985, Bengough, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive