• 1 Society for the Propagation of the Gospels

    The Society for the Propagation of the Gospels in Foreign Parts (SPG) was a missionary society affiliated with the Church of England. It was created in 1701 to support the establishment of the Church in Britain’s American colonies and to evangelize the continent’s Native population. After the American Revolution (1775-1783), the SPG withdrew from the United States and focused its attention on British North America, where they became hugely influential. They sent missionaries, paid clergy, supported the construction of churches and provided advice and expertise to the colonial church. Between 1702 and 1900, the SPG sent nearly 400 clergymen to Ontario. Despite the fact that they saved the colonial church from numerous crises, the SPG’s activities in Canada were fraught with difficulties. The society was directed by a secretary who was based in London and usually had little understanding of the hardships that faced the colonial church. Friction between colonial bishops and SGP secretaries was common. Colonial bishops were continually frustrated by the fact that although they had jurisdiction over activities in their dioceses, the SPG often held the purse strings. The SPG’s influence in Canada began to wane in the later half of the 19th century as their funding declined. It wasn’t until 1940, however, that the Anglican Church in Canada decided to forgo all further SPG grants.

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