"An incessant search for identity has been a persistent theme in the writing of Canadian history. In the late nineteenth century, Canadian religious communities were at the forefront of any attempt to define the character of the nation and its people. The Anglican Church, however, has been singled out as a denomination that has tenaciously held to old traditions, and has thus often been portrayed as an 'anti-national' force in Canadian development, In this paper I will reject the portrayal of Anglicans as anti-national by examining the ideology of the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, the primary supplier of Anglican clergy in Montreal. By exploring the contents of the College's main publication, 'The Montreal Diocesan Theological College Magazine', I hope to demonstrate that the College community, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, firmly believed in their College's ability to play a prominent role in the future of Canada, and in Canada's destiny to achieve greatness within the British Empire. The pages of the 'Magazine' reveal that, as the College community was striving to develop an identity based on an attachment to Canadian imperialism and love for their own educational institution, their pride fueled, at the end of the nineteenth century, a missionary spirit that engulfed the College community. Missionary work, I will argue, affirmed for them both the moral legitimacy of the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and the hegemony of the British-Canadian nationality" (p. -6).
"In the minds of most Canadians, imperialism was a form of Canadian nationalism as they hoped, by sharing the responsibilities of the Empire to gain a greater role in shaping imperial policies in Canada's favour" (p. 19). "Perhaps the greatest demonstration of the imperialist sentiment was the College's unconditional endorsement of the Boer War. .... At the Diocesan Synod of 1900, the Bishop's 'spirited allusions to the war in South Africa were greeted with loud and reiterated applause, and at its close the members stood and sang the national anthem'" (p. 23). "Although Anglicans, through the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Church Missionary Society, and College students, through the College Missionary Society, were involved in mission activity in all parts of the world, missionary work in the Canadian north inspired a special sense of purpose and destiny among the students. Their enthusiasm for northern missionary work represented in their minds, the desire and ability to build a nation" (p. 25). "[I]n February of 1894, the 'Magazine' reported that the College adopted a crest and a motto that reflected its missionary spirit. Their new motto, 'predica Verbum -- Preach the World [sic]' serves as a lasting testament to the priority that they attached to their missionary activity" (p. 28). "The obvious spirit based on the perceived divine destiny of the College was exemplified by the excitement that surrounded the work of Richard Faries, the first graduate of the Montreal Diocesan Theological College to preach 'among the wild men of the North West Forests'" (p. 32).
Article divided into sections: The Montreal Diocesan Theological College -- Imperialism -- Missionary Outreach.
This essay was the winner of the first Millman Prize Essay Award and was completed while the author "was at McGill as a visiting student" (p. ).