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The Spiritual Care of Emigrants.
From ‘The Western Daily Mercury’- 3rd February 100
The Rev. W. Osborn B. Allen, secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, writes:-
“In the midst of news of battle and tales of military heroism, will you permit me to draw your readers’ attention to the quiet yet useful work of caring for emigrants which has been undertaken by this society for many years past? Every year there leave our shores some 140,000 British subjects, the majority of whom go to found new homes across the sea. More than half proceed to the United States, but the remainder go to Canada, South Africa, and Australasia. The future of our great colonies depends far more on the character of our emigrants than on the strength of our armed might. As Lord Selborne said at our last annual meeting, the one thing which it was most necessary for them to carry with them aboard was ‘our faith.’ Customs and laws might have to be modified in differing times, but the one faith could be carried everywhere, and the influence for good which the emigrant would exercise in his new home depended upon whether he was grounded and settled in this his spiritual heritage. We have devised a machinery which will give to each one a reminder of the responsibility which rests upon him as an Englishman and a Christian, besides making his passage to the ‘other side’ easy and safe.
(1) We have appointed chaplains at Liverpool, Southampton, and other great ports of departure, who advise and help the departing emigrants.
(2) We have, with the permission of the great shipping companies, arranged for clergymen to hold services during the voyage. These services have a character all their own and have stirred and helped many who are often show to listen when on land. Over 80 such ‘long voyage chaplains’ were appointed during last year.
(3) We have appointed port chaplains to welcome the new-comers and give experienced advice as to lodgings, etc., and at least save the young man or young woman from falling an easy prey to the ‘land sharks,’ who are not yet extinct.
A list is published at this office (Northumberland Avenue, W.C.) of colonial clergy who are willing to look after new arrivals, and who would gladly meet any one going out for the first time. I would only add that we hope to continue our work during the present year. If any one wishes to obtain information about Canada or the United States, our chaplain, the Rev. J. Bridger (St. Nicholas’ Vestry, Liverpool), will be glad to answer questions, while I shall be pleased to do the same with regard to the Cape or Australasia.”
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