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Dreaming Dreams and Blazing Trails

Many Canadian young people seem to know more about American history and legends, than about some of their own Canadian heroes. A.B. Simpson is an unsung Canadian hero who has had a remarkable lasting impact on millions of families not only in Canada, but throughout the world. Simpson was a man of vision. He once said that people "must always dream dreams before they blaze new trails and see visions before they are strong to do exploits."

Albert Benjamin Simpson was born on Prince Edward Island on December 15th, 1843 of Scottish Covenanter heritage. The Simpson family had emigrated from MorayShire, Scotland to Bayview, P.E.I. After the collapse of his fatherís shipbuilding & export business in the 1840ís depression, his family moved to a farm in western Ontario. Rev. John Geddie, on his way to the South Sea Islands as Canadaís first missionary, baptized baby Albert and in prayer committed him to future missionary service.

Fresh out of seminary in 1865, Simpson had accepted the call to pastor Knox Church in Hamilton, a congregation with the second largest Presbyterian church building in Canada. Over the next eight years, 750 new people joined the congregation. Dr. William McMullen, another Presbyterian minister, said that Simpson "stood out at that time as one of the most brilliant young ministers of our church in Canada..."

Out of the blue, Simpson was called to lead a Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. The recently ended Civil war left bitterness and division between the various churches. As a neutral Canadian pastor, Simpson was used to bring racial reconciliation and forgiveness among the churches. At Simpsonís encouragement, the pastors went to their knees and poured out their hearts for such a baptism of love as would sweep away their differences. From reconciliation among the clergy came two months of continuous nightly gatherings across the denominations. As the pastors joined their hands together in unity, over 10,000 local residents joined them in prayer meetings lasting for a year.

What was it that led A.B. Simpson to abandon a successful well-paying prestigious position, in order to spend his life among poor immigrants? Click to find out more...

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St. Simon's Anglican Church 
North Vancouver, B.C.