The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Letters

The Centennial of the Bible Christian Church, Salford: An appeal to Vegetarians

Dear Mr. Editor,

We desire to bring to the notice of your readers the fact that we are about to celebrate our ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY; also to give some reasons why we feel justified in soliciting their contributions to our Centenary Thanksgiving Fund; and to correct the erroneous idea that we are related to the Bible Christian Methodist Church. We would point out that our Church is not officially connected either with the Anglican or the Free Churches. We stand alone in Europe as the only Vegetarian Church. No other Church requires that its members shall abstain from eating fish, flesh, and fowl. The name "Bible Christian" was given to our Church by its founder, the Rev. Wm. Cowherd, who protested against the calling of churches by the names of men. We do not adopt any formal creed, simply believing in God as the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and requiring from our members abstinence from animal flesh as food, and from intoxicating liquors.

With the formation of our Church in the year 1809, the propagation of Vegetarianism among the Western races may be said to have had its beginning. The early advocates by their untiring zeal and enthusiasm, have made the way easy for present-day vegetarians. One hundred years ago, the idea of the sufficiency of a fleshless diet to sustain life was ridiculed, the cause was laughed at, and its adherents classed as cranks and faddists. To-day, the testimony of scientific men, and the sympathy of the humane, are with us. Vegetarians are numbered by thousands, and are to be found in every quarter of the globe.

A century ago, the advocacy of vegetarianism was confined to the Salford Bible Christian Church. To-day, vigorous Vegetarian Societies are to be found in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe and Asia and in America.

In the year 1817 forty emigrants from our Church landed in Philadelphia, and a little later founded a Bible Christian Church in that city. At the head of that small, but noble band, was Mr. Wm. Metcalfe, M.D., who not only gave much gratuitous service in the healing of men's bodies but ministered (without salary) to the spiritual needs of his flock for more than forty years.

It was the beneficent results of the work done by that Church in spreading the principles of vegetarianism, which led Dr. Kellogg to conceive the idea of the great Sanitarium at Battle Creek, whose branches are to be found to-day in almost every part of the world.

Sixty-two years ago, in 1847, Mr. Joseph Brotherton, M.P., (then minister of our Church) and Mr. James Simpson, one of its most prominent members, were the chief instruments in the formation of the Vegetarian Society. To commemorate that event in a suitable manner, a "Social" and "Exhibition of Vegetarian Foods" will be held in the Church Schoolroom, Woodbine Street, Salford, on Wednesday, the 13th October, at 7-30 p.m. On that important occasion your readers are kindly invited to join with the members and friends of the Church in making the united gathering a huge success.

In connection with the Centenary Celebrations the final services will be held on Vegetarian Sunday, the 17th October, as follows:

10-45: Rev. Prof. J. E. B. Mayor, M.A., D.D., (President of the Vegetarian Society).

2-30: Miss F. Nicholson, (Secretary, London Vegetarian Society).

6-30: Rev. A.O. Broadley will preach the Centenary Sermon.

There will be special music at all the services. To the services and the meetings your readers are cordially invited.

During this centenary year we are making an effort to raise the sum of 500, to meet the cost of the urgently needed repairs and alterations in the Church and School buildings, to place the Church in a sound financial position, and to enable us to continue the good work. It is hoped that by the contributions of the members of our congregation, and the help of vegetarian friends, this sum will be realised. Already some of your readers have contributed, and we appeal for the generous help of others, feeling confident that there are many who will be ready to show their gratitude at the completion of a century's work, by contributing to our Fund.

Donations will be received and gratefully acknowledged by our Treasurer, Mr. H. Clark, 19, Lancaster Road, Pendleton, Manchester.

On behalf of the Centenary Celebration Committee,

A. O. Broadley, (Minister), Chairman James Hough, Secretary

From The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review, September 1909.

Reproduced with Thanks to the Vegetarian Society.  

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