The Early Days
The Fellowship of the Maple Leaf was founded in England in 1917 by George Exton Lloyd, then Principal of Emmanuel College, Saskatoon, and later Bishop of Saskatchewan. In 1921 he chose Philip John Andrews, a lecturer at the College and Rector of a parish near Saskatoon, to be its full-time Secretary. Andrews returned to England and was for forty-four years, along with his wife, the driving force behind the Fellowship’s contribution to the development of the Church’s work in western Canada.
The early aim of FML was to provide teachers for newly settled districts in the Prairie Provinces, and by the end of the 1920s almost 600 had been recruited and sent out from England. They were followed in later years by over three hundred doctors, nurses, bishop’s messengers and clergy. By 1965 when Dr Andrews closed the list of sailings, 936 men and women (mostly women) had left Britain to serve the Church and society in Canada, many to spend the rest of their lives there.
In addition, large sums of money were raised by Dr Andrews and his helpers which, together with substantial gifts from ‘an Anonymous Donor,’ went towards the building of churches, hostels and hospitals in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Changing circumstances required new responses. In
1965 recruitment of workers and fund-raising were discontinued, and it was
decided, with the approval of the Anglican Church of Canada, to use FML’s
remaining assets to assist clergy and lay workers in making visits from the UK
to Canada or from Canada to the UK for study and practical experience, and to
support special projects of the Canadian Church. Grants were made towards
educational and ministry projects in northern and western Canada, including the
Sorrento Centre, an Arctic Catechist School, the development of fieldwork at
the College of Emmanuel and St Chad, Saskatoon, and a variety of Native
Support for Native Ministry training has been a major focus of the Fellowship’s work, and a number of grants have been given to the Native Ministries Consortium at the Vancouver School of Theology, the Centre for Indian Scholars in British Columbia, the Henry Budd College of Ministry in Manitoba and the James Settee College for Ministry in Saskatchewan. Financial support has also been provided to support the meetings of Native Convocations of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In recent years, programmes have been initiated to provide learning opportunities for the mutual benefit of the Church in Canada and in the UK, especially in the areas of ministry, lay and ordained; education; social responsibility; and pastoral work. Increasingly these have been seen in an ecumenical context.