From The Journal of the Proceedings of the Provincial Synod of the United Church of England and Ireland in Canada, Eighth Session, Held in the City of Montreal, from Sept. 9th to Sept. 16th, inclusive in the year of our Lord MDCCCLXXIV with Appendix.
TO THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF MONTREAL, METROPOLITAN, AND THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS IN SYNOD ASSEMBLED:
MY LORDS,--In accordance with the requirements of the Canon of the Provincial Synod, I beg to report that as quickly as possible after my consecration (i.e. by the first steamboat,) I left Collingwood for the Sault Ste. Marie, where, after various delays, owing mainly to the unsettled state of the weather and consequent roughness of the Georgian Bay, I arrived on Thursday evening, Nov. 6th, (our Thanksgiving Day), and in time to take part in the evening service in in St. Luke's Church. It was indeed a source of heartfelt joy to me thus to be afforded the opportunity of meeting those whose spiritual welfare I had so lately been appointed to overlook in God's House of Prayer, and to join with them, on this first occasion of meeting, in offering up our common tribute of praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for His many and undeserved mercies vouchsafed. On Saturday, (Nov. 8th,) in accordance with a promise given to the Garden River Indians, who with their Chief and Wm. Frost (the School teacher and interpreter) were waiting to welcome me at the wharf, I drove over with Rev. T. W. Rolph, Incumbent of St. Luke's, Sault Ste. Marie, to Garden River to hold service, and was much pleased on arriving there to find upwards of fifty Indians assembled in the little Church, which had been tastefully decorated with evergreens. After Matins had been said by Revd. Wm. Rolph, I preached to them and administered the Holy Communion, of which twenty Indians partook. The Service being ended, I addressed them in a few words of greeting [71/72] and assurance of the interest which, in common with myself, the members of the Church who had sent me to watch over them, felt in their spiritual welfare; and was in turn addressed by their Chief, who, besides bidding me a hearty welcome and expressing his regret that he had not had time to call his people from their fishing grounds, as then the Church would have been filled, cheered my heart with the promise that he would "pray for me whilst I was on the great waters," referring to my intended visit to England, of which I had spoken, and thus showing his appreciation of Prayer.
On Sunday, Nov. 9th, I preached, morning and evening in St. Luke's Church, at the Sault; and addressed Sunday School children after morning service.
On Thursday, Nov. 13th, I left the Sault for Collingwood en route for England, where I arrived in safety on the 9th December. Shortly after my arrival there I forwarded the letters which had been given to me by the Metropolitan Bishop of Montreal to the four great Missionary Societies, (viz., the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Colonial and Continental Church Society, and the Church Missionary Society;) and received invitations from the three first named to attend at the next coming Meetings of their several Committees, for the purpose of giving information respecting the newly-formed Diocese of Algoma. I attended those Committee Meetings, and was then requested to send in a written application for aid, which I did, and in answer received notice from the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge of a grant of £250 sterling, (to aid in the erection of Chapel Schools) and £25 worth of Books, Tracts, &c.; from the Colonial and Continental Church Society, a grant of £270 towards the support of four Missionaries. From the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, I have not received any formal answer; but have been given to understand that no grant can be made at present for Missionary purposes to the Diocese of Algoma; and further, that the Society expects that the whole four thousand pounds of the Episcopal Endowment fund, which its grant of one thousand pounds is intended to supplement, shall be raised in Canada; but that my application to extend the period for raising the same, to three years from the date of my consecration would be granted.
From the Church Missionary Society, I received information that no aid could be granted to Mission work in the [72/73] Province of Ontario, as it does not come within the sphere of that Society's operations, which are confined to evangelizing the Heathen.
In addition to the Grants from the above-mentioned Societies, I received £1226 8s 8d sterling from other sources, (such as offertory collections after sermons, collections at meetings, and private donations.) Of this sum, £900 was given specially for the Bishop's residence at Saint Sts. Marie by the Lady who had previously given £600 to the Metropolitan for the same object; £12 towards the purchase of a Mission Boat; £10 towards the erection of a Chapel School, and the remainder towards Mission work in the Diocese.
On the 14th of May, I left England, and arrived at the Saint St, Marie on the 4th of June, where I remained until Monday, 22nd. During this period, I visited the Garden River Mission, and held a Service for the Indians, also preached four times, and held my first confirmation, in St. Luke's Church, Sault Ste. Marie.
The church here is a gothic building of red sandstone; neatly finished and appointed, and does much credit to the taste as well as the energy and zeal of the little flock who worship within its walls, and were instrumental in its erection.
On Monday, 22nd June, I left Sault Ste. Marie for the Muskoka District, which forms the southern portion of the Diocese of Algoma, and involves a journey of nearly 500 miles to reach. This District comprises about forty-five Townships, and according to the last census has a scattered population of nearly ten thousand inhabitants; to meet whose spiritual wants I have only two Clergymen, and they are still in their Diaconate.
I remained in this District, for nearly three weeks, and during my stay made as thorough a visitation as circumstances would allow, calling upon the members of the Church in their cottages and shanties, as well as preaching to them in their school-houses and churches.
The Mission of Bracebridge, at present under the charge of the Rev. J. S. Cole, B.A., contains three frame churches, situate in Bracebridge, Draper and Gravenhurst, besides several stations.
Mary Lake Mission, under the charge of the Rev. Edwin Cooper, has only one frame church, a neat ecclesiastical building, but as yet in an unfinished state, and four stations, the service of which involves upon the Missionary journeys of eighteen and thirty miles on alternate Sundays.
 The Rosseau Mission, at present vacant, contains a pretty frame church (still unfinished) and several stations, which have, during the past few months, been served by a Lay-reader.
To the north of Muskoka lies the Parry Sound District, a large tract extending eastward from the Georgian Bay to the Magnetewan and Lake Nipissing country. In this vast district I have only one Clergyman, (a Deacon,) who cannot possibly minister to the wants of the many Church families that are settled here, and are begging to have the services of a Clergyman. During my stay here I preached three times and administered the Holy Communion to eighteen persons.
On Thursday, 16th July, I returned to Sault Ste. Marie from Parry Sound, and on the following Sunday I accompanied the Rev. E. Wilson to Garden River, where I preached twice to the Indians.
On Thursday, 23rd, I left the Sault Ste. Marie for Prince Arthur's Landing and parts adjacent, on Lake Superior, and remained there until 5th of August. During my stay, I preached four times in St. John's Church, at the Landing; confirmed twelve persons; baptized three infants, and administered the Holy communion to thirty-four persons.
This Mission is under the charge of Rev. Arthur Dundas, who has succeeded in building a very neat ecclesiastical-looking frame Church, on a good site, in which, although it is not yet finished, service is held and a goodly congregation assembles.
During my stay in this locality I visited Silver Islet (where the Rev. Mr. Dundas holds an occasional service) and other places, with the view of ascertaining what field there is for missionary operations in this portion of the Diocese; and have come to the conclusion that there is no opening at present beyond what has already been done; as the mines on the North Shore are mostly shut down, whilst the Indians in the neighbourhood are almost entirely attached to the Roman Catholic Church.
Here, as in all other places which I have visited, I made a point of calling upon as many of the church members as was practicable, at their own houses, in order to become personally acquainted with them, as well as to explain the position and wants of the Diocese, and also to urge upon them the duty and necessity of taking a lively and active interest in its welfare.
On Thursday, 5th August, I returned again to the Sault, and remained there until the 13th, when I started with [74/75] the Rev. E. Wilson to visit the Batcheewauning Mission, which is about fifty miles distant, on Lake Superior, and where, during the past summer, one of those Chapel Schools which I desire to establish has been built. Friday and Saturday were spent in visiting the Indian Village, which is near by, and arranging with the school master as to the carrying on of his work.
On Sunday, 16th August, we held our first service in the new building, when I preached to a mixed congregation, consisting of twelve white persons (mostly from the Saw Mills, four miles distant,) and fourteen Indians. Eight persons, mostly Indians, partook of the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. During the afternoon we crossed over to the Saw Mills belonging to Messrs. Cameron & Scott, and held evening service in the boarding house. There were about twenty persons present. On Monday morning, the wind being fair, though strong, we returned in an open boat to Saint Ste. Marie, which place we reached, after a rather rough run, in 6 hours and 15 minutes.
On Thursday, 21st August, I again left the Sault to visit the Sheguiandah Mission on Manitoulin Island, and arrived at Little Current, a station under the charge of the Rev. Roland Hill, proceeded thence to Sheguiandah, seven miles distant, in a small boat, on Friday afternoon.
Saturday was spent calling upon the Indians, visiting their gardens, or plots under cultivation, some of which contain several acres, and inspecting the School, which has for some years past been kept by Mr. Stinson.
On Sunday, 23rd August, morning service was held in the Log Church, which is also used as a School-room during the week, when I baptized two children, and preached to a large congregation, of whom the majority were Indians.
Afternoon, I accompanied the Rev. R. Hill in his boat to Manitouawning, distant seventeen miles, where he holds service on alternate Sundays, and although rather late, owing to the wind being contrary, found about fifty persons in the Church awaiting us. The quarterly collection for the Diocesan General Purposes Fund, which was taken on this occasion, amounted to $12.50.
On Monday, 24th August, we were unable, owing to the adverse state of the wind, to leave Manitouawning, as it had been arranged, to visit a place, some twenty-five miles distant, upon the North Shore; so the Rev. R. Hill returned to his own home at Sheguiandah, whilst I remained the not unwilling guest of Mr. Phipps, Superintendent of Indian [75/76] affairs, (whose hospitality is proverbial,) until Tuesday, when I left in the Steamer Silver Spray for the Sault, where I arrived on Wednesday, and remained until the following Monday, 31st, which brings me to the time of starting to attend the Provincial Synod in Montreal.
Owing to the great difficulty of reaching some of the settlements, as well as of getting away from them, I have not been able to make so thorough a visitation of the Lake Superior District as I could have wished, and cannot, therefore, say exactly what openings there may be for Missionary operations in that part of my Diocese, but from what I have gathered, I am of the opinion that if I can establish a Chapel-school (similar to that at Batcheewauning) at Michipocoton and Neepigon, one travelling Missionary would be able, for some time to come, to compass the work in that region.
It is desirable that a travelling Missionary should at once be appointed to the country lying between Sault Ste. Marie and the Bruce Mines, making Garden River his head quarters, and another on the Manitoulin Island, which is being rapidly settled, and where, I am informed, many Church families are to be found.
For the Muskoka and Parry sound District, the services of a Missionary to take charge of the Rosseau Mission, and a travelling Missionary, are at once required, but in the present low state of our finances and uncertainty as to how our resources are to be replenished, I cannot see my way clear to secure them. Our liabilities for existing ministrations far exceed our present fixed income, and unless funds are sent in, the salaries of those faithful few who are at present labouring with me in this portion of' the Lord's vineyard must be reduced, but I cannot for a moment suppose that the members of our Church will allow this.
The Industrial Home for the education of Indian children is in the course of erection, and will be finished on or before the 1st of April, 1815, when there will be accommodation for eighty children. In the meantime the Rev. Mr. Wilson, who has proved himself so true and disinterested a friend to the Indians, intends to commence work temporarily in a frame building, which is hereafter to be used as a workshop in connection with the institution, and hopes to be able to accommodate some twenty pupils during the ensuing winter.
The See House, for which a lady in England has so liberally provided the funds, is in progress, and but for the severe loss by fire which the contractor has lately met with and the delay consequent thereon, would have been completed [76/77] early next Summer, but as the season is now so far advanced as to render it doubtful whether the roof can be put on and the walls secured previous to the setting in of the winter, it has been thought advisable to postpone the work until next spring, when, preparation having been made during the winter, it will (D. V.) be proceeded with at once, and it is hoped finished before the following winter sets in.
Before concluding, I desire to call your attention to the present position of my clergy in regard to their status in the Church, and the loss of privileges which previous to the setting off of the Missionary Diocese of Algoma, they enjoyed. I refer more especially to the loss of representation in the Councils of the Church, at the meetings of the Provincial Synod, as well as of all claim upon the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, and also upon the Surplus Commutation Fund of the Diocese to which they formerly belonged, and from which they have been cut off by the action of the Church.
Justice to the Clergy who are labouring in my Diocese, and whose privations and difficulties are many and great, requires that something should be done in their behalf in this matter: and while bearing my testimony to the noble spirit of self-denial which they are exhibiting, and the readiness with which they are "enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ," I feel it to be my bounden duty to plead for them; and to ask for their sakes, as well as for the interests of the Church is that section of the country, that this subject may receive your best consideration, and that steps may be taken to relieve them from penalties, such as they are at present suffering, for no other fault than that of disinterestedly laboring as pioneers in the far distant wilds of Algoma.
All which is respectfully submitted.
FREDK. D. ALGOMA.