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Methodism on the Canadian Prairies, 1896 to 1914 : the dynamics of an institution in a new environment Emery, George Neil 1970

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METHODISM ON THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES, 1896 t o 1914: THE DYNAMICS OF AN INSTITUTION IN A NEW ENVIRONMENT  by GEORGE NEIL EMERY B.A., Queen's U n i v e r s i t y , 1964  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Ph.Dl I n the Department of History  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1 9 7 0  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l  f u l f i l m e n t o f the  requirements f o r  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  written  gain  permission.  Department of  ti-1  ZT<0  <L  1  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  rn^  >  i*n  shall  not  thesis  Department o r  I t i s understood t h a t c o p y i n g o r  of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l  study.  copying of t h i s  be g r a n t e d by the Head of my  that  publication  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  my  ABSTRACT From 1896  t o 1914,  the Canadian p r a i r i e s  experienced  a g r e a t i m m i g r a t i o n and e x p a n s i o n o f s e t t l e m e n t .  A study  of  p r a i r i e Methodism i n t h i s p e r i o d r e v e a l s the dynamics  of  an i n s t i t u t i o n i n t h e p r o c e s s o f t r a n s f e r e n c e ' : t o  a new of  environment.  T h i s t h e s i s examines t h e c h a r a c t e r  C a n a d i a n Methodism a t t h i s t i m e , t h e manner i n w h i c h  i t p e n e t r a t e d the p r a i r i e s , the o r i g i n . o f i t s r e s o u r c e s and t h e changes w h i c h i t e x p e r i e n c e d i n c o p i n g w i t h  new  conditions. The membership and p o l i t y o f t h e M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h were more O n t a r i o - c e n t r e d t h a n was o t h e r major r e l i g i o u s d e n o m i n a t i o n . dominated t h e G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e for  the e n t i r e Church,  t h e case w i t h any Ontario Methodists  which determined  and o f f i c i a l s i n T o r o n t o  policy closely  c o n t r o l l e d c h u r c h e x p a n s i o n . S t i m u l a t e d by t h e i r e v a n g e l i c a l t r a d i t i o n s and by an a g g r e s s i v e n a t i o n a l i s m , M e t h o d i s t l e a d e r s w i s h e d t o p e r p e t u a t e on t h e  prairies  t h e P r o t e s t a n t c u l t u r e o f t h e e a s t e r n c o n f e r e n c e s . Conv e r s e l y , t h e y opposed t h e p e n e t r a t i o n o f t h e west by r i v a l c u l t u r e s from F r e n c h Canada and E u r o p e . To a l a r g e e x t e n t , t h e p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s o f the Church became v e h i c l e s f o r t h e P r o t e s t a n t c u l t u r e i  of  ii e a s t e r n Canada.  Most o f the laymen were f r o m O n t a r i o ,  and p r o m i n e n t O n t a r i o n a t i v e s worked c l o s e l y w i t h o f f i c i a l s i n Toronto to r a i s e missionary f i n a n c e s to  promote m i s s i o n a r y e d u c a t i o n .  were l e s s d e c i s i v e l y t h e o u t r e a c h conferences  The  prairie clergy  of the  eastern  s i n c e more t h a n a t h i r d o f t h o s e who  be i d e n t i f i e d were B r i t i s h - b o r n .  and  can  Nevertheless, a clear  m a j o r i t y were f r o m e a s t e r n Canada, i n c l u d i n g a g r e a t m a j o r i t y of t h e e x p e r i e n c e d  clergy.  c u l t u r e o f p r a i r i e Methodism was  The  religious  d e r i v e d from Anglo-Saxon  P r o t e s t a n t i s m i n g e n e r a l as w e l l as from t h e conferences.  eastern  However, the O n t a r i o c o n f e r e n c e s  i n par-  t i c u l a r p r o v i d e d the most immediate i n f l u e n c e s : t h e G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e pronouncements, M e t h o d i s t  journals  f r o m T o r o n t o and a c o n t i n u i n g s u p p l y o f c l e r g y and laymen. The  essence o f the p r a i r i e M e t h o d i s t  h e r i t a n c e was  religious i n -  a weakening o f commitment t o t r a d i t i o n a l  forms o f e v a n g e l i s m  and a g r o w i n g w o r l d l i n e s s .  The  t r a d i t i o n o f s a v i n g s o u l s f o r the l i f e t o come had  been  e c l i p s e d by the d e s i r e t o C h r i s t i a n i z e e a r t h l y l i f e — a t r e n d h a s t e n e d by B i b l i c a l c r i t i c i s m and  other  l e c t u a l c u r r e n t s w h i c h were u n d e r m i n i n g the foundations o f t h e new  o f the " o l d t i m e r e l i g i o n . "  intel-  intellectual  Manifestations  o r i e n t a t i o n were m i s s i o n s among the h e a t h e n  i n China, attempts  t o l e g i s l a t e C h r i s t i a n a s c e t i c i s m and  iii e f f o r t s t o g r a p p l e w i t h emerging s o c i a l i l l s i n t h e cities.  W i t h warm s u p p o r t from t h e O n t a r i o c o n f e r e n c e s ,  p r a i r i e Methodists a l s o fought f o r English-language p u b l i c schools i n order t o a s s i m i l a t e French and European i m m i g r a n t s .  Canadians  To P r o t e s t a n t i z e t h e E u r o p e a n s ,  m i s s i o n s were e s t a b l i s h e d as w e l l . P r a i r i e Methodism o n l y p a r t i a l l y r e c r e a t e d t h e s o c i a l environment its  o f Methodism i n O n t a r i o .  Despite  t h r e e - f o l d i n c r e a s e i n membership by 1914,  Methodism  on t h e p r a i r i e s was p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y weaker t h a n i n O n t a r i o , as was P r o t e s t a n t i s m i n g e n e r a l * M e t h o d i s t m i s s i o n s made l i t t l e population.  Moreover,  i m p a c t upon t h e European  M e t h o d i s t growth was l i m i t e d p a r t l y b y t h e  p a t t e r n s of immigration which favoured r i v a l  denomi-  n a t i o n s , i n c l u d i n g t h e Roman C a t h o l i c C h u r c h .  Methodist  o b j e c t i v e s were a l s o hampered by i n a d e q u a t e r e s o u r c e s ; t h e e a s t e r n c o n f e r e n c e s gave t o o l i t t l e and A s i a remained  to missions,  t h e i r chief missionary interest.  F i n a l l y , t h e Church's a p p e a l i n i s o l a t e d , r u r a l communit i e s was r e d u c e d b y i t s l o s s o f t h e " o l d t i m e  religion."  C o n v e r s e l y , M e t h o d i s t s u c c e s s was l a r g e l y c o n f i n e d t o the Anglo-Saxon,  u r b a n m i d d l e c l a s s and t o w e l l - t o - d o  farmers. Spurred by disappointment w i t h Methodist  growth,  t h e d i s g r u n t l e d p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s won c o n s i d e r a b l e autonomy i n t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f m i s s i o n s a t t h e G e n e r a l  iv C o n f e r e n c e o f 1 9 1 0 . Prom a ' d e s i r e t o use P r o t e s t a n t r e s o u r c e s more e f f i c i e n t l y , movements f o r c o - o p e r a t i o n and c h u r c h u n i o n w i t h t h e P r e s b y t e r i a n Church a l s o emerged.  Thus, C a n a d i a n Methodism  was g r e a t l y modi-  f i e d by t h e e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e p r a i r i e  environment.  TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I  INTRODUCTION  1  CHAPTER I I  THE CHALLENGE OF THE PRAIRIES. .  10  CHAPTER I I I  THE CHARACTER OF CANADIAN METHODISM  39  CONCERN FOR PERSONAL ETHICS AND THE GROWTH OF THE SOCIAL GOSPEL  86  ORIGINS OF CLERGY AND LAYMEN I N THE PRAIRIE CONFERENCES . . . .  126  CHAPTER V I  FINANCING WESTERN EXPANSION  165  CHAPTER V I I  METHODISM, THE ETHNIC MOSAIC AND THE ROLE OF THE STATE ; HOPES FOR A SELECTIVE IMMIGRATION POLICY AND SUPPORT FOR NATIONAL SCHOOLS 197  CHAPTER V I I I  MISSIONS AMONG THE "EUROPEAN FOREIGNERS": A L L PEOPLE'S MISSION I N WINNIPEG, 1889-1914 . .  CHAPTER I V CHAPTER V  CHAPTER I X  . .  227  THE AUSTRIAN MISSIONS I N ALBERTA, 1901-1914  261  CHAPTER X  THE EMERGENCE OF WESTERN SECTIONALISM WITHIN THE METHODIST CHURCH 291  CHAPTER X I  THE MOVEMENTS FOR CO-OPERATION AND CHURCH UNION WITH THE PRESBYTERIANS 322  CHAPTER X I I  CONCLUSION  3^2  FOOTNOTES  351  BIBLIOGRAPHY  4-29  v  Chapter I INTRODUCTION The  Canadian p r a i r i e s e x p e r i e n c e d  immigration 1896  and expansion  t o 1914.  of settlement  a great i n the p e r i o d  With t h e i n f l u x o f human and m a t e r i a l  r e s o u r c e s from e a s t e r n Canada, B r i t a i n , the U n i t e d S t a t e s , c o n t i n e n t a l Europe and elsewhere, t h e f r o n t i e r area acquired a v a r i e t y of c u l t u r a l values, and i n s t i t u t i o n s .  The M e t h o d i s t  c o n s t i t u t e d an important  traditions  Church on t h e p r a i r i e s  c u l t u r a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l  t h r u s t from e a s t e r n Canada and e s p e c i a l l y  from O n t a r i o .  A c c o r d i n g l y , a study o f p r a i r i e Methodism i n t h i s f o r m a t i v e p e r i o d r e v e a l s the dynamics o f an i n s t i t u t i o n i n the process  o f t r a n s f e r e n c e t o a new environment.  T h i s t h e s i s w i l l examine the c h a r a c t e r o f Canadian Methodism, t h e manner i n which i t p e n e t r a t e d  the new  r e g i o n , t h e o r i g i n o f i t s r e s o u r c e s , the problems which i t encountered and the changes which i t e x p e r i e n c e d i n t h e course Prior  o f c o p i n g w i t h new c o n d i t i o n s .  t o 1914, the M e t h o d i s t  Church was more  O n t a r i o - c e n t r e d than was the case w i t h any o t h e r major religious  denomination.  Over 60$ o f Canada's  Methodist  p o p u l a t i o n l i v e d i n O n t a r i o i n 1911, and O n t a r i o men 1  2  dominated  t h e h i g h l y c e n t r a l i z e d Church p o l i t y .  O n t a r i o c o n f e r e n c e s o f t h e Church dominated G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e , a n a t i o n a l body w h i c h  The  the determined  p o l i c y f o r t h e e n t i r e C h u r c h , and t h e e x e c u t i v e o f the General Board of M i s s i o n s i n Toronto h e l d a t i g h t c o n t r o l over church expansion.  P r e d i c t a b l y , Methodist  l e a d e r s w i s h e d t o p e r p e t u a t e on t h e p r a i r i e s t h e P r o t e s t a n t c u l t u r e o f O n t a r i o and o t h e r e a s t e r n provinces.  1  To t h i s end, t h e y s t r o v e t o make t h e i r  Church as s t r o n g and i n f l u e n t i a l i n t h e west as i t was  i n O n t a r i o and t o a c h i e v e t h e n e c e s s a r y  w i t h Canadian r e s o u r c e s .  growth  Conversely, they r e s i s t e d the  e x t e n s i o n of French Canadian  c u l t u r e beyond Quebec and  r e a c t e d s t r o n g l y t o the r i v a l customs, l a n g u a g e s  and  r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s of the European i m m i g r a t i o n .  The  e v a n g e l i c a l t r a d i t i o n s which underlay t h i s posture were r e i n f o r c e d by a s t r o n g E n g l i s h Canadian n a t i o n a l i s m . A weakening o f commitment t o t r a d i t i o n a l forms o f e v a n g e l i s m and a g r o w i n g w o r l d l i n e s s was of  the  essence  Methodist r e l i g i o u s c u l t u r e at the time of the  Church's w e s t e r n e x p a n s i o n .  The t r a d i t i o n a l g o a l o f  s a v i n g s o u l s f o r t h e l i f e , t o come had been e c l i p s e d  by  t h e more immediate o b j e c t i v e o f C h r i s t i a n i z i n g l i f e  on  earth.  To t h i s end, t h e Church p a r t i c i p a t e d i n a g r e a t  i n v a s i o n o f P r o t e s t a n t m i s s i o n s among t h e m i l l i o n s o f Japan and C h i n a .  heathen  A t t h e same t i m e ,  3 M e t h o d i s t s promoted an a s c e t i c m o r a l i t y i n t h e i r homel a n d by e x e r t i n g p r e s s u r e f o r m o r a l l e g i s l a t i o n by g r a p p l i n g w i t h s o c i a l i l l s i n Canadian  cities.  The p r o g r e s s i v e l y w o r l d l y o r i e n t a t i o n o f t h e was  and  Church  accompanied by a d e t e r i o r a t i o n o f e v a n g e l i c a l  a g e n c i e s such as t h e c l a s s m e e t i n g , a d e c l i n i n g  sense  o f s i n and o f need f o r C h r i s t ' s atonement and a l o s s o f s p i r i t u a l i n t r o s p e c t i o n among c h u r c h members.  The  s p r e a d o f B i b l i c a l c r i t i c i s m and German m a t e r i a l i s m h a s t e n e d t h e s e t e n d e n c i e s by u n d e r m i n i n g t h e f o u n d a t i o n s of the t r a d i t i o n a l  intellectual  evangelism.  To a l a r g e e x t e n t t h e p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s o f t h e Church became v e h i c l e s f o r an O n t a r i o - c e n t r e d P r o t e s tant r e l i g i o u s culture.  As f a r as can be  determined,  t h e O n t a r i o c o n f e r e n c e s s u p p l i e d most o f t h e laymen.  I n every western c i t y , prominent  prairie  Ontario  n a t i v e s co-operated c l o s e l y w i t h Methodist  officials  i n T o r o n t o i n r a i s i n g m i s s i o n a r y f i n a n c e s and campaigns o f m i s s i o n a r y e d u c a t i o n .  Yet the  promoting  prairie  m i n i s t e r s were l e s s d e c i s i v e l y t h e o u t r e a c h o f t h e e a s t e r n c o n f e r e n c e s ; d e s p i t e g r e a t e f f o r t s by t h e G e n e r a l B o a r d o f M i s s i o n s t o meet w e s t e r n needs w i t h Canadians,  c o n t i n u i n g shortages of c l e r g y f o r c e d the  Church t o r e c r u i t e x t e n s i v e l y i n B r i t a i n . p r a i r i e c l e r g y who  Of t h e  can be i d e n t i f i e d , t h e O n t a r i o  were a b a r e m a j o r i t y and B r i t i s h - b o r n men  men  were more  4 than a t h i r d of the t o t a l .  However, due t o t h e  y o u t h and i n e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e B r i t i s h r e c r u i t s , most o f t h e v e t e r a n c l e r g y and s e n i o r o f f i c i a l s i n t h e west were n a t i v e s o f e a s t e r n Canada, t h e e a s t e r n c o n f e r e n c e s was  The  outreach of  a l s o evident i n the  p r a i r i e t h e o l o g i c a l c o l l e g e s w h i c h were s t a f f e d  almost  e n t i r e l y w i t h graduates of V i c t o r i a C o l l e g e , Toronto and Wesleyan T h e o l o g i c a l C o l l e g e , M o n t r e a l . The r e l i g i o u s c u l t u r e o f p r a i r i e Methodism  was  d e r i v e d f r o m A m e r i c a n , B r i t i s h and C a n a d i a n P r o t e s t a n t i s m i n g e n e r a l as w e l l as from t h e e a s t e r n c o n ferences.  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the O n t a r i o conferences i n  p a r t i c u l a r s u p p l i e d t h e most immediate  influences:  t h e G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e pronouncements, M e t h o d i s t j o u r n a l s f r o m T o r o n t o and a c o n t i n u i n g s u p p l y o f c l e r g y and laymen.  Moreover,  some o f t h e t r a d i t i o n s  w h i c h t h e p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s i n h e r i t e d were p e c u l i a r t o C a n a d i a n Methodism.  Interestingly,  Canadian  M e t h o d i s t t r a d i t i o n s d i d n o t r e a c h t h e west u n a l t e r e d . A g e n c i e s such as t h e c l a s s and p r a y e r m e e t i n g s were t o o weak t o become a s i g n i f i c a n t p a r t o f Methodism on t h e p r a i r i e s . The r e s p o n s e t o t h e F r e n c h C a n a d i a n and E u r o p e a n c u l t u r e s i n t h e west became i n c r e a s i n g l y i m p o r t a n t i n the p e r i o d under study.  W i t h warm s u p p o r t f r o m t h e  O n t a r i o c o n f e r e n c e s and t h e G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e ,  prairie  5 M e t h o d i s t s f o u g h t f o r an E n g l i s h - l a n g u a g e p u b l i c s c h o o l system w h i c h w o u l d a s s i m i l a t e t h e groups.  rival  To P r o t e s t a n t i z e t h e E u r o p e a n s as  m i s s i o n s were e s t a b l i s h e d among them.  In  well, Winnipeg,  i n t h e A u s t r i a n c o l o n i e s o f n o r t h e r n A l b e r t a and i n t h e Crow's N e s t P a s s , M e t h o d i s t c l e r g y worked t o sever the immigrants from t h e i r o l d - w o r l d p a s t . o u t r e a c h o f O n t a r i o Methodism was  especially  The  con-  s p i c u o u s d u r i n g t h e n o r t h w e s t s c h o o l c r i s i s o f 1905* The e d i t o r o f t h e C h r i s t i a n G u a r d i a n and t h e M e t h o d i s t G e n e r a l S u p e r i n t e n d e n t . f o u g h t more v i g o r o u s l y a g a i n s t separate s c h o o l s than d i d the p r a i r i e w h i c h were d i r e c t l y a f f e c t e d .  conferences  However, O n t a r i o  M e t h o d i s t s r e a c t e d p r i m a r i l y out o f f e a r t h a t F r e n c h Canadian  c u l t u r e might spread t o the west.  Western  M e t h o d i s t s , on t h e o t h e r hand, were more a l a r m e d  by  t h e E u r o p e a n p r e s e n c e and by t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a polyglot  society.  The number o f B r i t i s h - b o r n c l e r g y i n t h e  west,  p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e Saskatchewan C o n f e r e n c e , was t h a t Church  a sign  l e a d e r s were o n l y p a r t i a l l y s u c c e s s f u l  i n making t h e p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s v e h i c l e s f o r an O n t a r i o or e a s t e r n Canadian P r o t e s t a n t c u l t u r e .  As  v e h i c l e s , t h e p r a i r i e c o n f e r e n c e s were even l e s s s u c c e s s f u l i n r e c r e a t i n g the s o c i a l environment Methodism e n j o y e d i n t h e e a s t e r n c o n f e r e n c e s .  which By  1914,  Methodism was f a r weaker p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y on t h e p r a i r i e s t h a n i n O n t a r i o , and so was P r o t e s t a n t i s m in  general.  Moreover, t h e p r a i r i e  conferences  commanded l e s s l o y a l t y f r o m t h e i r membership. t h e C h u r c h made l i t t l e  Finally,  i m p r e s s i o n upon t h e E u r o p e a n  i m m i g r a n t s , who were n e a r l y a f i f t h o f t h e p r a i r i e population.  The European m i s s i o n s won o n l y a h a n d f u l  o f c o n v e r t s , and M e t h o d i s t  objectives i n education  were n o t f u l l y r e a l i z e d i n any o f t h e p r a i r i e M e t h o d i s t growth f e l l set  provinces  short of the o b j e c t i v e s  by C h u r c h l e a d e r s p a r t l y due t o p a t t e r n s o f i m -  migration.  Approximately  h a l f the p r a i r i e population  o r i g i n a t e d f r o m c o n t i n e n t a l E u r o p e , B r i t a i n and t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , l a n d s i n w h i c h Methodism was p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y weaker t h a n i n O n t a r i o .  Conversely, the  Roman C a t h o l i c C h u r c h g a i n e d h e a v i l y f r o m t h e E u r o p e a n and A m e r i c a n i m m i g r a t i o n , and t h e P r e s b y t e r i a n and A n g l i c a n churches  g a i n e d more t h a n Methodism from t h e  B r i t i s h immigration.  Secondly,  t h e Europeans w o u l d  n o t have r e s p o n d e d t o P r o t e s t a n t p r o s e l y t i z i n g r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e s i z e o f t h e M e t h o d i s t m i s s i o n p l a n t among them.  I n terms o f c o n t r i b u t i n g s i g n i f i c a n t l y t o  M e t h o d i s t g r o w t h , t h e European m i s s i o n s were doomed to  failure.  T h i r d l y , the resources of the p r a i r i e  c o n f e r e n c e s were i n a d e q u a t e  t o meet M e t h o d i s t o b j e c t i v e  Throughout t h e p e r i o d u n d e r s t u d y , A s i a r e m a i n e d t h e  7 p r i m a r y m i s s i o n a r y i n t e r e s t of the Church, w h i c h was  b a d l y needed f o r p r a i r i e c h u r c h  and money expansion  went r e g u l a r l y t o t h e f o r e i g n m i s s i o n f i e l d . d e t r i m e n t a l t o c h u r c h e x p a n s i o n was  the  Also  expenditure  o f n e a r l y a q u a r t e r o f a m i l l i o n d o l l a r s on the E u r o p e a n m i s s i o n s p r i o r t o 1914, yielded negligible returns. o f a l l was  an o u t l a y w h i c h  The most s e r i o u s weakness  t h e f a i l u r e o f e a s t e r n M e t h o d i s t s t o see  beyond t h e i r own  l o c a l needs and t o c o n t r i b u t e t o  m i s s i o n s what t h e y were r e a l l y c a p a b l e o f g i v i n g .  A  f o u r t h l i m i t a t i o n on M e t h o d i s t s u c c e s s i n t h e west was  imposed by t h e d e c l i n e o f t h e " o l d t i m e  T h i s change was  an a s s e t i n u r b a n , m i d d l e  religion."  class  c o n g r e g a t i o n s w h i c h had a r e l a t i v e l y h i g h l e v e l o f education.  I n the face of B i b l i c a l c r i t i c i s m ,  the  d i s c o v e r i e s o f D a r w i n and a s o c i a l c l i m a t e w h i c h demanded r a t i o n a l e x p l a n a t i o n , t h e y needed a t h e o l o g y and deportment w h i c h was  i n t e l l e c t u a l l y respectable.  However, t h e l o s s o f t h e e m o t i o n a l , s o u l - s a v i n g e v a n g e l i s m was  a l i a b i l i t y among i s o l a t e d , r u r a l popu-  l a t i o n s o f t h e p r a i r i e s w h i c h were l e s s t r o u b l e d by new  intellectual currents.  S i m i l a r l y , the Church  was  u n a b l e t o meet t h e r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l needs o f t h e urban working c l a s s .  As i n t h e e a s t , t h e a p p e a l o f  p r a i r i e Methodism was  p r i m a r i l y t o the u r b a n ,  c l a s s and t o w e l l - t o - d o f a r m e r s .  middle  8 Despite the shortcomings of Methodist  growth  on t h e p r a i r i e s , t h e membership and t h e number o f c h u r c h e s more t h a n t r i p l e d i n t h e p e r i o d u n d e r s t u d y . I n 1904, t h e M a n i t o b a and N o r t h w e s t  C o n f e r e n c e became  t h r e e c o n f e r e n c e s ; w i t h i n a decade, each had become as s t r o n g as t h e o r i g i n a l c o n f e r e n c e had been i n 1896. W i t h e x p a n s i o n o f t h i s magnitude and w i t h even g r e a t e r growth e x p e c t e d , c o n f l i c t w i t h i n t h e Church c o u l d s c a r c e l y be a v o i d e d . stration  The h i g h l y c e n t r a l i z e d a d m i n i -  o f m i s s i o n s came u n d e r f i r e a f t e r  1905-  P r a i r i e M e t h o d i s t s i n s i s t e d t h a t t h e y were more f a m i l i a r w i t h t h e needs o f t h e i r c o n f e r e n c e t h a n were o f f i c i a l s i n T o r o n t o , and a few w e s t e n e r s were e s p e c i a l l y c r i t i c a l of the General Board of M i s s i o n s e x e c u t i v e f o r n o t p u r s u i n g t h e European work more aggressively.  A c c o r d i n g l y , the p r a i r i e  conferences  demanded and o b t a i n e d more autonomy i n t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of m i s s i o n s a t t h e G e n e r a l C o n f e r e n c e s o f 1906  and  1910.  Movements f o r c o - o p e r a t i o n and o r g a n i c u n i o n w i t h t h e P r e s b y t e r i a n Church a l s o emerged.  I n the former,  M e t h o d i s t and P r e s b y t e r i a n o f f i c i a l s  sought t o  eli-  minate w a s t e f u l c o m p e t i t i o n t h r o u g h agreements t o s t a y out o f s m a l l p r a i r i e communities o t h e r was  established.  Due  i n which the  t o t h e atmosphere o f r i v a l