17)    JOHN ANTLE 4:49

 

 

John Antle was born in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1865 into a family of fishermen and sealers. At seventeen, Antle left home. He worked as a school teacher while studying for the clergy. Antle was ordained into the priesthood in 1892 and worked at a number of maritime postings before heading west with his family to Roslyn, Washington in 1897 and then to Anacortes in 1898. In December of 1899, John Antle became the first rector of the Fairview Parish in Vancouver, B.C. where he built the Holy Trinity Church from the ground up. No sooner had Antle established himself in Vancouver when he was struck by the need to establish a coastal mission.

 

In 1903, the Union Steamship Cassiar arrived in Vancouver carrying the bodies of four loggers. Each had been seriously injured in remote camps up the rugged coast. The coastal steamer capable of only 9 knots, had taken days to reach Vancouver. For a parish Priest from the Fairview District of Vancouver named John Antle it was a call to service.

 

Taking a fourteen foot racing dingy he had built in his back yard and with his 9 year old son as crew, Antle sailed north from Vancouver up the Georgia Straight, through the Discovery passage to Alert Bay, stopping in at every camp and homestead in what would become a twenty thousand square mile territory of the Columbia Coast Mission. Reverend John Antle dedicated 35 years of his life administering to the spiritual as well as medical needs of our coastal pioneers.  In its first year of operation, The Columbia Coast Mission had built a hospital, a hospital ship (The Columbia 1) and had a total staff of five. When Antle retired in 1936 the Columbia Coast Mission consisted of three hospitals, five churches, two native missions, a hospital ship and two ambulance ships


 

The north Pacific coastline in the days of sail & steam
Was as inhospitable a place as ever you might dream
Through hope or desperation came the dauntless pioneers
Seeking "the good life" in freedom's last frontier


Up the lonely channels to mills and mines they poured
To logging camps and shanties, all the hardships to endure
In loneliness and injury they suffered so much pain
'Till came a man of mercy, John Antle was his name


There's providence that watches over children and fools

Faith to seize the fallen, and grace to heal their wounds
If ever was a champion so selflessly disposed
Remember John Antle for he was one of those


Born in far off Newfoundland in the eighteen-sixties

Son of a captain, John joined the ministry
But his soul burned with a passion no parish could contain
"Reverend John" could stand his ground, for the sea was in his veins


With fierce determination and abiding faith, he chose

To spread his social gospell through the many scattered coves
He forged a coastal mission, built of hospitals and ships
Exemplified the virtues of a Christian fellowship


There's providence that watches over children and fools

Faith to seize the fallen, and grace to heal their wounds
If ever was a champion so selflessly disposed
Remember John Antle for he was one of those


And providence still watches over children and fools

Faith can seize the fallen, and grace can heal their wounds
If ever was a hero on which you could depend
Remember John Antle, he was such a man

 

Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)
From Tiller’s Folly: The View From Here CD, (1997)

 

Bruce Coughlan: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Laurence Knight: electric bass
Craig McGregor: electric guitar
Mike Sanyshyn: fiddle
Victor Smith: silver flute
Geoff Eyre: drums
Tatiana Hancheroff: vocals

 

Produced by Laurence Knight
Engineered by Craig Stauffer
Recorded and mixed at Magic Lab Studios, Surrey, BC
Mastered by Craig Waddell at Gotham City, Vancouver, BC.
Re-mastered by Joby Baker, Baker Studios, Victoria, BC.