History of Gospel Preaching in New Brunswick - Chapter 5 - Fredericton

 Chapter 5

Fredericton

Fredericton is the capital city of New Brunswick. It is situated on the beautiful Saint John river and has a population of nearly 50,000. The University of New Brunswick and the St. Thomas University are both located in Fredericton and many students come to the city from around the world to study at these universities.

Frances McMullen Heidman told me about the family?s move to the city of Fredericton, NB in June of 1938.

After settling in on Charlotte Street, the family went to Queen Street on a Sunday evening for a street meeting. There were only a few strollers and none stopped. As Mr. McMullen preached the Gospel, the family were his only audience. Burton was there, not saved at the time, 15 years of age and not enjoying being in this situation. Frances said that their father never tried that again!

The next Saturday evening when all the stores were opened, and the streets crowded with people, the Salvation Army had a meeting on the corner of Queen and York Streets. As soon as they finished and marched off, Mr. McMullen stepped out to preach the Gospel and many stayed to listen. He did this regularly for some years. It was here that the Yates brothers were contacted.

Mr. William Glasgow from New Jersey, USA, came to Fredericton the end of June and they put up a tent on Scully Street which was on the outskirts of Fredericton in those days before many buildings were built on the hills of Fredericton. Some people attended but none regularly. Some young people did come to cause a disturbance and disrupt the meetings. The Yates brothers travelled to Fredericton from Williamsburg to support these meetings.

They offered the lawn in front of their home for the tent to be pitched. They said the people in the area would come and be respectful to the Word of God not like the young people in Fredericton. So the tent was pitched in Williamsburg and John and Ernest Yates were saved.

The people filled the tent on Sunday afternoons. In those days, there was no competition from TV?s and very few people drove automobiles so they were glad to attend the meetings.

In October, the family moved to Lincoln, five miles outside of Fredericton. Before long, they had a Sunday School for neighbouring children in their kitchen. Among the children who came, were the Boones, children of Byron and Mable Boone.

Mr. Boone told Mr. McMullen of a place called Dorn Ridge, the community they had recently moved from, and thought Mr. McMullen should go there for they only had a church service occasionally, whenever the minister could make it.

 

He took Mr. McMullen there but on the way, he started having misgivings and said "All the people in Dorn Ridge are of one religion and I wouldn?t want to have a hand in dividing them". Mr. McMullen said that he would only preach what was in the Bible and if that divided them, what would he think of that? He answered that he didn?t think the Bible would divide them. His wife Mable was one of the first to be saved.

They pitched the tent there for a couple of summers. One of the neighbours complained that he couldn?t get his Sunday afternoon nap because McMullen?s shouting was heard all over the community. Clifford and Annie Haines were saved during these meetings. Clifford Haines and Mable Boone were brother and sister.

Mr. McMullen had Gospel meetings in various communities in schoolhouses, in Prince William, Currieburg, when Bill McBride (formerly of Chile) preached with him. In Fredericton North, then called Devon, he had meetings in the Orange Hall. He also held meetings in Penniac and Geary. Robert McCracken joined him in the Gospel meetings in Geary. There was no fruit that they knew of. Reg Jordan, who came out from Ireland, had meetings with Mr. McMullen in the Fredericton area.

The Yates brothers and Mr. & Mrs. Haines were baptized and as no assembly was formed at that time, they were received into fellowship when they attended conferences.

The Yates brothers had a sister who was married to Mr. White and lived in California. The Whites had a daughter Florence who came to visit her relatives in Williamsburg. Eric Adsett, of the Moncton assembly visited the Yates for hunting and fishing as well as Christian fellowship and met Miss Florence White. In 1947, Eric travelled to California and brought Florence back to Moncton as his bride. They and their sons John and Ernest often visited the "Burg" through the years. Bertha and Lawrence Adsett of Moncton often visited in Fredericton and Dorn Ridge and became lifelong friends of Clifford and Annie Haines.

During their years of living in Fredericton, Mrs. McMullen and her children were isolated from Christian fellowship when Mr. McMullen was away having Gospel meetings in other areas. Helen Stuart, of Moncton who worked for the telephone company in Fredericton, was a much appreciated visitor by Mrs. McMullen and her children as

there was no assembly in that area and very little Christian fellowship.

Eleanor (McMullen) Leaman had many happy memories of their stay in Fredericton. They lived close to the Saint John River and had great times swimming in the summer and skating in the winter. The McMullens were a good testimony to their neighbours and formed close relationships in those years.

In 1944, they moved back to Moncton after six years in Fredericton. Although some were saved at that time, the people living in Dorn Ridge and Williamsburg were too far apart to meet together as an Assembly, and therefore one was not formed.

After the war, work became more plentiful and the Haines and the Boones moved to Fredericton. In 1948, at the invitation of the Fredericton Christians, Mr. & Mrs. A. Christie of the USA moved to the Fredericton area. They commenced that year to break bread on Sunday morning. Their first meeting was held in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Christie.

Because of Mr. Christie?s heart condition and the need for a milder climate, they left Fredericton in 1950 and moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

The Christians bought a property on Gibson Street which originally had been a garage and gas station. They fixed this building up to become the first Gospel Hall in Fredericton. They occupied that building until they purchased land on McAdam Avenue and built the present Gospel Hall in 1963.

 

While they were building the Gospel Hall and had sold the previous building, they met in a room in the County Municipal Home where Annie Haines was the matron. This home was situated on the property where York Manor now stands. At the time of writing, (1999) Annie is a widow and lives across the street from the Gospel Hall where she has been in fellowship since the beginning of the assembly.

George and Frances Heidman and their three children Stanley, 5, Timothy, 2 and Grace, 6 months moved to Fredericton in 1963. George, with the help of some of the men, prepared living quarters for the family in the upstairs of the hall after which he started to build a house in Douglas. Every inch of space was utilized and Frances did well to live in these close quarters for as long as she did. They had one bedroom with a double bed, a crib and bunk beds. In the kitchen, she had a refrigerator and on top of it, she had a wall oven which was to be installed in their new home. She had to use a stool whenever she used the oven. The bathroom fixtures including the copper pipe which were bought for the new house were temporarily installed in the little apartment. When the time came for these fixtures including the copper pipe to be installed in their new home, Frances had to do without running water in her little apartment and had to go downstairs for water and to use the bathroom facilities. She was very thankful to finally move into her new home in Douglas where they still live at this time of writing.

Eleanor Bateman of the Moncton assembly lived in Fredericton when she was attending Normal School in 1946-47. Eleanor married Clarence Budd in 1950 and they moved to Fredericton and were part of the Fredericton assembly. While they lived there, they were a help in the assembly especially with Sunday Schools at the hall and at the County Municipal Home where Annie Haines was matron. On Sunday evenings, the Christians would go to the home for Gospel meetings as a lot of the residents would come to hear the Gospel message.

Clarence and Eleanor, and Annie and Clifford Haines used to go to the Wilsey Road where a black family with 14 children lived and would hold a Sunday School for the children. The family?s cousins also attended these meetings. The Budds left Fredericton in 1971 when they moved to Halifax.

Hiel and Margaret Patterson of Oxford went to Fredericton where Hiel was employed at the building of the Mactaquac Dam. Hiel also helped at the small assembly and also kept a Christian book store that he called Seaside Scripture Supplies. This business was carried on later by Gordon Swan. The Pattersons moved back to Oxford in 1965.

Ralph and Velda Robb moved to Fredericton with their family, Esther, Tim and Paul when Ralph was transferred there from Halifax at the opening of a new K-Mart store. They were later transferred to Toronto and were missed by the Christians in Fredericton.

Some of the people that Clifford witnessed to, friends and family connections, were saved through his witness such as Reg. Brewer, Rachel Brooks, Clyde Wilson and also some of his sister, Mable Boone?s family were saved and members of the Stairs family were saved through Annie?s connection with the Municipal Home.

Annie Haines, Mr. & Mrs. Reg Brewer, Mr. & Mrs. Bob Stairs, Mr. & Mrs. Irving Brooks are all part of the

Fredericton Assembly today which meets in the Gospel Hall on MacAdam Avenue.

Mr. James Blackwood and Mr. Richard Roberts were to hold Gospel meetings in Durham Bridge. As preparations

were being made to get the building cleaned, the two men undertook to move a wood stove from the middle of the room to a corner. After moving the stove, Mr. Roberts said he didn?t feel well and went outside for some fresh air. Eleanor Budd was mopping the floor and she glanced out the window and saw Mr. Roberts on the ground by the car. She and Mr. Blackwood went out to investigate and found that Mr. Roberts had gone suddenly into the presence of the Lord. Absent from the body, present with the Lord.

In 1982, a group from McAdam Avenue started to meet in Keswick Ridge where they gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. After meeting for three years, they bought land on the MacLeod Hill Road and went to work on the building for the Assembly. During this time of building, several brethren from the Moncton assembly went to Fredericton on Saturdays and helped them in their work. They have been a good testimony in the neighbourhood and have seen some saved and added to the assembly. They have good outreach to the children in the neighbourhood with their children?s programs.

It is interesting that Ernest Adsett, a great nephew of John and Ernest Yates (two of the first contacts made by Mr. McMullen), is an elder in this assembly and his mother Florence now makes her home in Fredericton where she and Eric moved after his retirement from Eaton?s in Moncton. Eric Adsett died very suddenly in Fredericton in 1981.

 

Testimonies

Clifford Haines

Clifford Haines of Fredericton, New Brunswick, says that God used his smoking habit, a dream and the words of his small son to put him under such conviction of sin that he called upon the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive him.

Mr. Haines says he was brought up on a farm and always went to church. When tent meetings were held in his area back in the 40's, it was natural for him, his wife and boy to attend. One night Mr. Haines was too tired to go but his boy wanted him to go so badly that he changed his mind. On the way to the meeting, he made a vow.

"Lord", he said, "if You will take away my tobacco habit, I?ll serve you from now on." From that time on, he lost his appetite for tobacco.

Later, he was deeply impressed by a dream, in which he saw a hand pointing to heaven. He said it was a place of such light and whiteness nothing on earth could be compared to it.

The third thing God used in his conversion was something his little boy said as he walked behind him in the snow. The lad was placing his small feet into the larger tracks left by Mr. Haines. "I?m stepping in your tracks, daddy," he said. "Thinking of what a cursing ungodly man I was at the time". says Mr. Haines, "those words of my son?s spoke loudly to me.looking back at my boy struggling to put his feet into the tracks I left behind, I felt my conscience tell me how wrong I?d been." "I don?t want you walking in my tracks, I said under my breath"

That year, when the two preachers, Isaac McMullen and William Glasgow came to preach the Gospel, Mr. Haines helped them put up their meeting tent. The two men held a meeting each night for two months and the Gospel was faithfully preached, Mr. Haines increasingly felt the guilt of his sin before God but he wouldn?t commit himself to a life of faith in Christ. The next year, the tent went up again. Isaac McMullen came alone this time and stayed with Mr. & Mrs. Haines. Every night, for the next two months, Mr. McMullen preached the Word of God and explained the Gospel.

Showing the people from the Bible that they were sinners who needed to be saved, he called upon them to put their faith in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. Some nights he would point to the front of his pulpit where the words of John 3:16 were printed for all to read: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

He would then talk about God?s great gift of His Son to the world. More than once, he emphasized the meaning of the word "perish" as spending eternity in Hell, and how the love of God had provided salvation from Hell in the death of Christ for all who would believe in Him.

Mr. Haines said, "All that summer, I was in soul trouble. I was afraid of God?s judgment and I couldn?t sleep at night."

One night, the preacher and Mr. Haines were walking home from the meeting and chatting about what had been said in the sermon. As they made their way toward the house and came abreast of the barn, Mr. Haines knew that he was ready to give his life to Jesus Christ. He said, "If that text on the front of your pulpit is true, then I am saved. For God so loved the world, and I am part of the world. He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. I am one of the whosoevers who believes, so I must be saved."

God?s Holy Spirit gave Mr. Haines the assurance that night that he was saved from his sins and that he would never have to face God?s judgment. Knowing that God had given him the gift of eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he was certain he would never perish in Hell for his sins.

That was 42 years ago, he says, and God has been faithful to me ever since. Now blind and diabetic, and having had one leg amputated, Mr. Haines is in a wheelchair but is far from being despondent about his physical limitations. He knows that his future is secure through faith in Jesus Christ and he?ll soon be going home to be with Christ. Mr. Haines said that these lines from a hymn sum up how he feels about what Christ had done for him:

Adore Him, Adore Him,

The Glorious work is done,

The Father will not punish me,

T?was laid upon His Son.

Tis finished, cried

His suffering soul

And I my title see:

I was a guilty sinner

But Jesus died for me.

The above article was written in the l980's by Ray Boone, Mr. Haines? nephew.

Bob Stairs

On August 3, 1947, I was born in the country community of Waterville which is a few miles from the Village of Nackawic, NB. My family split up when I was 5 years old and my brothers and sisters and myself moved to a county home in Fredericton, NB about 40 miles to the south. The county home was home to other children from broken homes as well as a home for older people who for one reason or another, could not look after themselves. In 1956, the news came that there would be new caretakers coming to manage the county home.

This turned out to be good news because the new managers, Clifford and Annie Haines, were Christians who gathered simply unto the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the first time, many of the residents of the home, heard the gospel message. Sunday school and Gospel meetings were held at the home every Sunday. It was not too long before lives were changed. Soon, some of the children as well as some older folks accepted Christ as their Saviour. Initially, I was not one of them. However, the gospel was having its effect upon me as I became troubled about my sin. I left the home in 1957 when I moved in with some foster parents. The foster parents were kind but I never heard the gospel as I did in the county home.

In 1958, I moved to another foster home about 10 miles from Fredericton where I was able to attend a denomination which was gospel minded. However, I still could not say for sure that I knew my sins forgiven. The Christians who gathered in Fredericton still kept in touch and I was taken to a number of conferences, most notably, the Pugwash Junction conference in Nova Scotia. I can remember thinking that I was the only one in the gospel tent not saved since I was still troubled a lot and was sure that most everyone else in the tent had to be a Christian.

In 1964, I made a profession of faith in Christ. My life changed considerably. I started to read my Bible and tried to be at most meetings of the assembly but not long after serious doubts came along and I began to struggle with my profession. In 1965, I graduated from high school but still kept in touch with the Christians. In September 1970, a series of gospel meetings started in Fredericton. One of the preachers was Frank Pearcey from Toronto. Mr. Pearcey has since gone home to heaven. The gospel was faithfully preached and on a Thursday night in September 1970, while the gospel was being presented, I saw so clearly, the Lord Jesus hanging on the cross for my sins. His love for me, the poor sinner, came before me as it never had before. There, in my seat, in simple faith, I simply thanked the Lord Jesus for dying for my sins and I was saved for eternity.

I must give credit where credit is due. Clifford and Annie Haines first planted the seed and others such as faithful brother Piercy watered what had been planted. But most notably in my life, God sent along Clifford and Annie Haines to present the gospel to me and so I can truthfully repeat, with thanksgiving, the words of Isaiah 52:7-How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him (them) that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that publisheth salvation.

I married Judy Williams, a daughter of Vance and Addie Williams of Moncton and we have two daughters. We fellowship at the Gospel Hall on MacAdam Avenue, in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

 

Doug Spidell

 

As I approach 46 years of age, I realize that I have been a Christian for half my life. It is, and always has been, my prayer that I never grow "used" to being saved or take it for granted. What a joy it has been to know sins forgiven and not being scared to meet God, for it was not always that way.

 

I was raised in a God-fearing home by wonderful parents who devoted themselves to their children, and reap the benefits of that today, in that we love to be around them at every opportunity. At an early age, I had a knowledge of God and took it very seriously. At the age of 12, I remember asking my Dad why Jesus died on the cross. I couldn?t understand the concept. I figured He died so terrible a death so we wouldn?t forget He existed. In my early teens, I started questioning the things I had learned in Sunday school. The opinions of the world were starting to take effect on me and doubt as to the existence of God started creeping in. Because of my upbringing, I evaded serious thought of God because I was scared I would come to the conclusion He did not exist. I actually wanted to believe in Him but was scared to search Him out for fear that He may not be there. So instead of dealing with the matter, I took to the ways of the world which were self-satisfaction at any cost. By the time I joined the army in 1973, I already had a drinking problem. The military made it easy for me to get even deeper into drinking. I had been drinking since the age of 14 and by age 20, I was getting disillusioned with my life.

 

In October of 1973, the Yom Kipper war broke out in the Middle East, and on November 11th, Canada sent peace keepers there of which I was one. I now found myself in the land of the God I was running from. The greatest scare I had there was not from guns or bombs but from the Lord, or so I thought. I was on leave in Jerusalem and taking a Holy Land tour. I found myself in Pilate?s Judgment hall in a room by myself and it was dark. I sensed someone staring at me from behind, so as my eyes got used to the dark I turned around to see Jesus staring at me. The fear was so great that it took about 15 seconds for me to calm down enough to realize it was a statue - a lifelike statue, but still a statue. I will never forget those eyes even though they were glass. I realized more than ever that I was scared to meet God (if He existed).

 

I was there for about 7 months, and about 2 months before I returned to Canada, a friend gave me a prophesy book saying, "Look at this book Spider; It?s all about this place". It was "The Late Great Planet Earth" by Hal Lindsay. In it, I read about the last days and was attracted to the writings like never before. Upon returning to Canada, a visit to the "Logos" book store in Kingston, Ontario, became a weekly event. Any books with the pictures of newspapers on them attracted me as I wanted to find out more about the last days. I skipped over all scripture in these books, which told me how to escape judgment as I never feared judgment at this point. However, the Spirit of God was starting to change that!

 

I had met my wife Georgina while in basic training, and in 1975, we were married. At my wedding, I borrowed the car of my cousin, Bruce Smith, who had gotten saved years earlier and was now in fellowship in an Assembly in Halifax. I used to joke about it and even make fun of him while drinking with my relatives. However; when he brought the car to my house to borrow, I went to shake his hand and thank him but made the mistake of looking into his eyes. What I saw I will never forget. I saw peace and joy like I had never seen before, and it cut deep. Bruce and his wife never stayed long at our wedding reception, but I?m sure he prayed for "Dougie and his new wife" when he went home.

 

My wife was an atheist and teased me about my interest in the things of God. She challenged me to His existence in a way that I had to come to a conclusion. How I anguished over it. If there was a God, then there was nothing else that mattered other than knowing Him I reasoned. If there was a God, then my way of life would have to change. But how could I change? I was addicted to drinking and partying. How could I change? Finally, in 1976, after much soul searching, I realized I did believe in God. Now my problems began. Nights were sleepless as I realized there was a God to meet someday. I needed to change and fast, but how? I figured I would just wait until I was 40 and then I could see myself rocking in a chair on a sun porch, and if a pretty girl walked by, it wouldn?t bother me. (why 40, I don?t know. Maybe because it seemed so far away).

 

So knowing I couldn?t or wouldn?t change, I drank even more trying to get it out of my mind. Finally, during a night of drinking, a friends wife said she had to go home early as she wanted to go to church the next day, it being Sunday. I asked if I could go with her and we agreed to go. Upon hearing this, Georgina approached me a little later and said if I was going to church, I was going with "her" not someone else?s wife. So the next morning, up we got and to "church" we went. It wasn?t a Bible believing church, but the reading that morning was Luke 15 , the prodigal son. Well, the Bible might as well have jumped up and slapped me that day. For the first time in my life, God had reached me with His Word and how it hurt and convicted. That night, I anguished again over my fear of meeting God. I had to settle it once and for all. How could I get peace with God? I thought it out like a little child. I thought of the phrase, "Jesus died for me". What did that mean? He died for me?

 

Now I needed a simple understanding, as all I had was the quietness of my living room and a Bible. Okay, I realized I had a sin problem. I was a sinner. How could I get rid of this? I was like a bad child, the prodigal son. I needed to be punished. I needed a spanking! The thought of meeting God and being punished terrified me. Then the Spirit of God took over. I needed a spanking. I thought of the cross and it hit me! The Lord Jesus took my spanking for me. If He took my spanking for me, then I didn?t need to be spanked. I started picturing the cross in my mind, repeating to my self "He took my spanking". It sounds silly, but it was the only way I could understand it. In my mind, as I was going up the cross, I pictured His feet with the nails in them. I stopped. It was there that I understood finally "why Jesus died on the cross". He died for me. The new birth was quiet and soothing, and for the first time in years, I had peace in my heart - peace with God. A thrill came over me as I realized I wasn?t scared to meet Him because the Lord Jesus died for me! I never heard the phrases "Born Again" or "saved", but I was just that! In the spirit of repentance, I was ready to do whatever it took to have peace with God and what I discovered is that He already did it all. How I praise Him today and still pray that I never get "used" to this wonderful forgiveness.

 

Shortly after this (2 days later) my wife Georgina fell at the foot of our bed telling me she too wanted this peace that I told her about. I found out later that although she was an atheist, she always wanted to believe that there was a God and that He cared about her. That night, she prayed the simple prayer of faith and received the Lord Jesus Christ as her own Saviour. What a change in our hearts! Here we were, baby Christians, and we needed desperately to be fed. Our all knowing and caring God was making arrangements to take care of this. Not too long afterward, we were posted to Gagetown, New Brunswick outside of Fredericton. When we came east again, I looked up my cousin Bruce to tell him the news. We went to his assembly in Halifax and were confounded by the love and knowledge of the Bible. Bruce asked us if we would like to go to a "place" like that in Fredericton, to which we replied, "YES!" He said he would have a man named George Heidman contact us. So back to Fredericton we went and awaited the call.

 

Shortly afterwards, the phone rang and the strong voice on the other end of the phone identified himself as George Heidman, and he wanted to come and visit us. I agreed and said to Georgina that we were going to get a visit, and from the sound of the guy, he was going to be a big man. George came to our house a little later and although he was not what I expected in size, he was every bit as big a man when it came to love and concern. Soon with Godly love and a lot of patience he was discipling us in God?s Word, helping us to realize what had actually happened to us and showing us through God?s Word the beauties of Christ and of gathering in His name.

 

This is my testimony of how God reached me and washed me in his blood to save me from Hell so that I can look forward to spending eternity praising Him. As the years have gone on and I have seen others go on such as Burton, Mr Adsett, and 5 year old Davie McQuinn and many others who are now in a real place called Heaven,. I realize that nothing in this world matters more than knowing for sure a person has peace with God, especially so since he has done everything possible for us, in sending His Son to die for us so we can have this peace. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Doug and his wife Georgina fellowship with the assembly on MacLeod Hill Road in Fredericton, New Brunswick.