Archives Project

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Introduction MP-0000.25.178 06582 MP-0000.766.19 MP-0000.765.14
 

Introduction

"St. Christopher House opened its doors in 1912, but its origins were much earlier, dating back to the reform movement within the Presbyterian Church in Canada in the late 1800's and early 1900's"1. Leaders of this movement believed in moderation. "They advocated a modern reformism that sought to promote social harmony through moral persuasion, education, and legislation."2 St. Christopher House at 67 Bellevue Place was to be the 'Mother House', the base for training specialized workers. It was named after the saint who symbolized a helping hand extended to the travellers.
It was hoped that the settlements would help to preserve the institutions of home, church and school, and that they would provide a platform from which the church could educate Canadians about the social problems of the day. Settlement work was to be the new form of evangelism. The Board announced:
"We are going into this not merely inspired by a thin sentimental humanism, but because we are Christian people who seek the advancement of Christ's Kingdom and the saving of men's lives....What is contemplated, therefore, is a Church Settlement, not only to carry on the ordinary activities of the settlement, but also a positive definite aggressive evangelistic propaganda. The work must be all correlated under one leadership and work to one great aim and purpose - to Christianize."3

1. Brian J. Fraser, "Education for Neighbourhood and Nation: The Educational Work of St. Christopher House, Toronto, 1912-1918 (M.A. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1975), pp.105-6
2. Brian J. Fraser, "Theology and the Social Gospel among Canadian Protestants: A Case Study",Studies in Religion, (Winter 1979) pp. 35-46
3. Board of Moral and Social Reform, Presbyterian Church in Canada, "Executive Minutes", (Nov. 16 1910), United Church Archives