A ‘Tent’ for French

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CVA – Bu P174 – [Evangelistic Tabernacle under construction – site bounded by Hastings, Cambie, Pender and Hamilton Streets] May 12, 1917.

The building under construction in the photo above is what would be the setting of evangelistic meetings from May – July, 1917. The structure was known as the Evangelistic Tabernacle and was located on the site where Victory Square is today (the land on which the first Court House stood from 1890-1913).

The ‘ring leader’ of the evangelistic meetings at the tabernacle was American Presbyterian minister, French E. Oliver. Oliver was invited to lead the 9 weeks of ‘tent’ meetings by an interdenominational group of theologically conservative businessmen, professionals, and clergymen who together were known as the Vancouver Evangelistic Movement (VEM). The general ministerial was not supportive of Oliver.

I would be willing to bet that among the VEM reps (and contruction workers) shown below were more than a couple of members of First Baptist Church. J. L. Campbell, senior minister at FBC at the time, was one of Oliver’s prominent defenders and a speaker at the meetings.

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CVA Bu P175.2 – [Group portrait of construction workers and the congregation at the Evangelistic Tabernacle building site], May 12 1917.

Source: Robert K. Burkinshaw. “Conservative Protestantism and the Modernist Challenge in Vancouver, 1917-1927.” BC Studies, 85 (Spring 1990).

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