The Shanteymen’s Christian Association and the Messenger III

by John MacFarlane 2017

Messenger III

The Messenger III always looking shipshape. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

The role of the mission boat on the British Columbia Coast has almost disappeared, but these vessels were once integral and essential parts of life in remote communities on the British Columbia coast. Bringing spiritual, medical and dental care, social welfare and material aid they filled a huge void that might otherwise have gone wanting.

The Shanteymen’s Christian Association was established by William Henderson in Toronto in 1903. He aimed to take the Gospel and other comforts to lonely settlers in northern Ontario and Quebec. The movement spread across Canada and was taken up in Victoria BC by J.S. "Uncle Sammy" Whiting. In 1927 Whiting established a branch of the Association in Victoria.

One of its most active members was the Reverend Percy Wills who started evangelistic work in Winnipeg in 1920 and preached across the prairies. He devoted 70 years of his life to missionary work – 35 of which were with the Shantymen’s Missionary Society. He traveled from Sechelt to Bella Coola by truck, boat and seaplane. He started with the Messenger I and in 1947 in the mission vessel Messenger III for the Christian Shantyman’s Association (of which he was the BC head) based at the Nootka Mission Hospital at Esperanza. He retired from coastal work due to ill–health in 1955 when he became administrator of the Association.

Messenger III launch

The Messenger III on the Ways Just Prior to Her Launch (Photo from the Wednesday, July 17, 1946 edition of the Victoria Daily Times)

The launch was attended by 130 members of the Shanteymen’s Christian Association at Falconer Marine Industries Ltd.

Miss Ruth Whiting

Miss Ruth Whiting, daughter of the founder of the Association in Victoria and the vessel’s sponsor, About to Christen the Vessel. (Photo from the Wednesday, July 17, 1946 edition of the Victoria Daily Times)

Messenger III

The Messenger III Looking Pretty Much the Same as the Day of Her Launch (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )

The Messenger III was built in 1946 by Falconer Marine Industries Ltd., Victoria BC. Her design was based on a tuna boat. Her engines and fittings were installed in Nanaimo BC. 45.0’ x 12.7’ x 5.3’ Wooden hull. She was pwoered by a 240hp Chrysler gasoline engine and re–powered by a 72bhp Gardner diesel engine (1959). In 1946–1961 she was owned by Shanteymen’s Christian Association of North America, Toronto ON. In 1967–2000 she was owned by Blayney J. Scott, Victoria BC. In 2001–2017 she was owned by William A. Noon and Megan Scott, Victoria BC. (In 1991 she was designated as a Vintage Vessel by the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.)

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2017) The Shanteymen’s Christian Association and the Messenger III. 2017.

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