W. O. Raymond Letter
Letter from W.O Raymond in the Campbellton Graphic August 19th, 1910. This was just two months after the Great Fire of 1910.
To the editor of the Globe:
Sir - Is this the "silly" season that the Telegraph should be led to reprint and to countenance so ridiculous an editorial as that which appeared in the last number of the Carleton Sentinel?
The Sentinel says that the clergymen of Campbellton, in asking assistance towards rebuilding the churches destroyed in the late disastrous fire, are displaying "undue haste, which to many seems unseemly". "There is great danger" it adds, "in this undue urging of the people towards the erection of (such) buildings, when so many of them think them unnecessary," etc., etc. It looks "too professional" on the part of the clergy, too much as though our craft was in danger."
If the writer of the Sentinel's editorial is one of those who think church edifices are unnecessary, his attitude is, of course, easily understood, otherwise he is making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Every man of common sense, clergyman or layman, admits that there are too many kinds of churches in existence, and the best of men of all creeds desire Christian reunion, and rejoice that some progress is being made in that direction. But as this is a matter that cannot be realized in a day, we must not meanwhile deny to men the liberty to worship God according to their own consciences. This may mean the building of more churches in Campbellton than are absolutely necessary, but it does not mean that the principal object of the clergyman is, as the Sentinel insinuates to provide places "in which their different creeds and doctrines may be published without let or hindrance." The churches doubtless are intended primarily for the worship of God, and as centres of Christian activity for the betterment of humanity. As years pass on they will spend less and less time in religious controversy, and more and more time in proclaiming the Saviour's message of good will and in teaching men how to live right lives. If the object of the ministers of Campbellton be to teach righteousness and unselfishness, then the sooner the churches are rebuilt the better. This talk about the appeal from the clergy as "too professional" is utter nonsense. Who should take the lead in the matter if not the clergy? An why should they wait until the homes are all rebuilt before they take action? Are the school trustees to wait until the homes are rebuilt before they think of replacing the schools? are the bank managers and the railways and the town authorities to take no steps towards replacing the banks, the railway stations and public buildings until the homes are all rebuilt/ Can the appeal for outside aid in replacing the churches be made as successfully a year hence as it can today?
The members of the various Christian denominations throughout the province should not be discouraged by such editorials from befriending the people of Campbellton in the rebuilding of churches as in the re-establishing of their homes.
The article in the Sentinel states that "the fathers of our land laid the foundation of our modern attainments when they worshipped on the hillside and by the babbling brook". This may be so, but it did not hinder them from building churches as soon as they were able and the founders of ?? showed their feeling in the matter by the fact that the first framed building reared by them was ?.
Signed: W. O. Raymond