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Authority record

Assumption Parish (Roman Catholic), St. Mary's (NL)

  • Corporate body
  • 1834-

Assumption Parish was established in 1834 and included the communities from Portugal Cove South to St. Vincents. However, Assumption Parish was divided twice. When Holy Redeemer Parish was established (ca. 1845), Portugal Cove South, Trepassey and St. Shotts were separated from Assumption Parish. In 1923, the communities of Peter's River, St. Stephen's, and St. Vincent's were removed from Assumption Parish to create Sacred Heart Parish. Assumption Parish currently includes the communities of Riverhead, Mall Bay, Coot's Pond, Path End, St. Mary's, Point La Haye and Gaskiers, with the parish church at St. Mary's.

The first parish priest assigned to Assumption Parish was Rev. James Duffy. However, priests visited St. Mary's prior to Father Duffy's arrival. Rev. Timothy Browne, for instance, who was stationed at Renews, performed 13 marriages at St. Mary's in 1825 and 1826.

By 1840 Rev. Duffy had established a church and school in St. Mary's; this church was dismantled in 1949 and rebuilt by 1950. Aside from the original school established by Rev. Duffy, a commercial school was opened in 1851. With the arrival of the Presentation Sisters to the parish in 1859, a convent school was established at St. Mary's.

Some of the communities in Assumption Parish also had their own church and school, including Riverhead and Mall Bay, which had a small chapel built sometime between 1895 and 1905 (replaced ca. 1963). Schools were also established in Mall Bay (1944), at the Gulch, Point La Haye (1943) and Gaskiers and Point La Haye (1951).

Parochial organizations in Assumption Parish included the Crusaders of Mary, the Children of Mary, the St. Anne Society and the Holy Name Society.

SS Eagle and MV Trepassey Antarctic Expedition fonds

  • Corporate body
  • 1944-1946

In 1943 the British Government commenced a military operation in the Antarctic called Operation Tabarin, a joint initiative by the Colonial Office and the Admiralty. Its objectives were to deter anchorages by enemy ships, counter encroachments by Argentina and Chile, and strengthen Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands Dependencies through physical occupation. Robert Carl Sheppard, Newfoundland master mariner, was requested by the British Admiralty to command a top-secret mission to the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic to guarantee the establishment and maintenance of reconnaissance and meteorological stations.

The captain, R.C. Sheppard, was a war veteran and skilled seaman. He had enlisted in the First Newfoundland Regiment (later the Royal Newfoundland Regiment) as a 17 year-old seaman on 11 September 1914, thus becoming one of Colony's famous "Blue Puttees." Following service at Gallipoli, he was wounded at Beaumont Hamel on 1 July 1916 and discharged as medically unfit in March 1917. Following his discharge, Sheppard worked as a lighthouse keeper at Fort Amherst and subsequently as a captain of square riggers. During World War II, following the collapse of France, Sheppard safely brought a convoy of confiscated French vessels across the Atlantic.

The SS Eagle departed from St. John's on October 1944 on its 8000-mile voyage to Antarctica. The immediate objectives were to relieve the British party at Deception Island, to construct shelters on Coronation Island, and to transport men from Port Lockroy to Hope Bay, Graham Land. The crew of the SS Eagle consisted of twenty-eight Newfoundland seamen, including radio operator Harold Squires who later wrote an account of the expedition (SS Eagle: the secret mission, 1944-1945). The crew returned home in August 1945. After the termination of the war, Operation Tabarin became Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey and later,the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The following year, the Newfoundland crew under Captain Sheppard was dispatched to bring the British expedition back from Port Hope. They left in November 1945 aboard the MV Trepassey, a ship constructed at the Clarenville Shipyard, Newfoundland. They picked up replacement scientists for the Falklands Islands Dependency Survey at Montevideo, delivered supplies and mail to several Antarctica stations at Deception Island and vicinity, and left for St. John’s in March 1946. This was the last trip by the MV Trepassey under the command of R.C. Sheppard, who was subsequently awarded the MBE (Medal of the British Empire) for his wartime services.

The SS Eagle and the MV Trepassey were two of the twelve vessels selected for a definitive stamp set issued by the British Antarctica Territory on 13 December 1993 commemorating British Antarctic research.

United Church Women

  • Corporate body
  • 1962-2005

The United Church Women (UCW) was formed in 1962, with the approval of the General Council of The United Church of Canada in 1960. This was part of the general re-organization of the Church, and which included the demise of the Women's Missionary Society and the Woman's Association, and the creation of the national Board of Women.

The United Church Women was organized on the structure of the Church with groups at the Conference, Presbyterial and congregational levels. Membership was open to any woman who agreed with the general aim of the organization - to promote the mission of the Church. The UCW made annual reports to the Board of Women, and the Conference bodies were to carry out policies and recommendations determined by this Board.

The UCW became more independent with the dissolution of the Board of Women and the establishment of the Division of Mission, although this latter relationship meant that the UCW lost any corporate representation at the national level of the Church. This was dealt with through the formation of the National Consultation of Women of the United Church of Canada.

In Newfoundland, the inaugural meeting of the United Church Women at the Conference level was held at Cochrane Street United Church in St. John's on 13 Mar. 1962. Mrs Blanche Luscombe of Cochrane Street church was elected President. In addition to the usual officers, Secretaries of Community and Visiting, Literature and Communications, Press and Publicity, Program, Stewardship and Recruiting, and Supply and Social Assistance were elected. Committee chairs were also elected, comprising Christian Citizenship and Social Action, Co-operation in Christian Education, Finance, Leadership Development, Nominations, and Periodicals.

In 1962 the membership of the Newfoundland and Labrador Conference UCW was 7,304 and they raised $100, 019, with $14,685 raised for the Mission and Service Fund of the Church.

The Presbyterial Presidents, the Executive and area Vice-presidents acted as a liaison between the Conference UCW and the local congregational groups. Decisions pertaining to the work of the groups are directed through these contacts. Rallies, workshops, retreats, and the annual meetings of Presbyterials allow for the exchange of fellowship, ideas, and experience, as well as challenging the women in their church work.

Cochrane Street UCW, organized in 1962, was a part of St. John's Presbyterial of the UCW. At the congregational level, it was organized into units, with the usual officers, as well as an Executive to bring the general membership together for joint meetings and to help direct the work of the UCW as a whole, although the various units also planned their own activities and projects. In 2000, United Church Women became, with all other women's groups in the church, part of the Women's Ministry Network.

The whereabouts of most of the records of this organization are unknown but the reports to the Board and Committees of the church demonstrate the work and activities of the UCW as do the reports of the United Church Women in the annual reports of the congregation. Declining numbers in the 1990s led to the amalgamation of some units, with three units operating as independent groups in 2005.

Women's Association (United Church)

  • Corporate body
  • 1925-1962

Organization of the Woman's Association (WA) dates from Church Union in 1925. However, there were Ladies Aid Societies in many congregations before this time. "The purpose of the organization was to deepen the spiritual life of the women of the Church and to promote a program of Christian fellowship and service, personal evangelism, and stewardship. This was defined as assistance to the local minister, visitation, promotion of Christian education in the home and Sunday school, and general oversight of the furnishing of the manse." (Victoria University Archives, Administrative history of the WA).

Unlike other organizations within the Church, the Woman's Association was first formed on a local congregational and Presbyterial level. The Dominion Council of the Woman's Association was established in 1940, with a full-time Executive Secretary being appointed in 1953.

In 1956, the Council co-operated in the work of the Commission to Study Women's Work and in 1962 the Council was dissolved. This was part of the larger re-structuring of the Church, which saw the demise of the Women's Missionary Society and the Woman's Association and the formation of the United Church Women as the new organization for all women in the Church.

The whereabouts of many of the records of the Women's Association and the previous Ladies Aid Society are unknown; however, the Board and Committee records of the congregation demonstrate the extensive involvement of this organization within the life of Cochrane Street church. The annual reports of the congregation give a summary of the work of the organization until 1962 when it was superseded by the United Church Women.

Terra Nova Presbytery of the United Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1968-1992

In 1968 the Presbyteries of the Newfoundland Conference were consolidated into three administrative units: Avalon, Terra Nova and Humber Presbyteries. Terra Nova Presbytery was formed from the eastern part of Grand Falls Presbytery and the western part of Bonavista - Burin Presbytery. This was done in order to take advantage of the new network of roads that had been built in the interior of the province.

In 1992 the Conference was divided into two Districts, with the East District taking in Port Blandford pastoral charge and areas east, and the West District including Glovertown and areas west. Terra Nova Presbytery was divided between the two Districts.

Labrador Presbytery of the United Church of Canada

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-1992

From the time of Church Union in 1925 until 1962, Labrador had come under the care of the St. John's Presbytery, chiefly as a series of mission stations. In 1962 responsibility for the Labrador pastoral charges was transferred to Grand Falls Presbytery. In 1968, as part of the larger reorganization of the Newfoundland Conference, the Labrador pastoral charges were transferred to Humber Presbytery where they formed a Labrador Zone. In 1978 Labrador Zone was joined with neighbouring parts of the Quebec - Sherbrooke Presbytery of the Montreal - Ottawa Conference to become a separate Presbytery. Labrador Presbytery became part of the West District in 1992.

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