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Part One of a Three-Part Series




MYRTLE MCADONALD, B.Sc., U of Alberta, M.Sc.A., McGill University and Author—VOICE FILE PHOTO




n my long life working in 6 provinces from coast to coast in Canada and in 4 countries overseas, I have gained first hand knowledge of the various ways churches function.  I always found a church where I felt welcome and nurtured. There were some people who were friendly. They usually had lived in other places, so understood the difficulties newcomers have finding compatible friends.  Those who have attended the same schools and cultural centres their whole life, lack this experience and being busy, give little time to newcomers.   

My first hand experiences are of many denominations. I grew up in a multicultural community where my parents had many friends. Our Moravian Brethren church was 50 miles away so most Sundays we worshiped in other denominations, getting to know and like them. Friday afternoons for years an Anglican clergy taught Bible heroes in my one room school. When I was in grade eight a Salvation Army Officer did.  

When I was in high school I taught Sunday School in that small school.  The leader was a school teacher but could not have a job because she was married.  She was Anglican.  Sunday School and youth teachers/leaders need knowledge and love of the Bible.  I learned a lot by using the excellent Scripture Union quarterly teacher guide.  Friday evenings I was active in the church youth group where we were divided into two groups which led the Bible study, fun and games alternate weeks, assisted by a deacon who stayed in the background. That was great training.  I was also in C.G.I.T. (Canadian Girls in Training) a group for girls from all churches.  One girl was Jewish.

In Edmonton for five years I was in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.  I got to know several denominations. After marrying my medical officer husband I followed him in his postings.  In Montreal a nurse friend introduced me to her family and friends.  Her church decided to sponsor us when we were accepted as medical missionaries in India 1946-53. 

In India each denomination had agreed on responsibility in a large geographic area not overlapped by other denominations.  We met for a variety of conferences annually. My husband and I even wrote a grammar of the Oriya language, assisted by Danish Lutherans and indigenous people. 

Back in Canada 1953-57 in Edmonton and Toronto we were in a variety of churches.  I remember in choir practice there was lots of chatter about Christmas events they were participating in and inviting one another to, but I was left out.  I went to the pastor who was Irish, and asked about this and said I did not know whom to invite to our home for Christmas. He said he and his wife had no invitations or plans, so they came to our home.  My daughter was in grade 7 and often shared family fun with a Finnish girl.

Part Two: 1958-1975



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