The Meadows' Story
by James Robertson
The story of the Rev. Harry Meadows and his wife Elsie contains moments of excitement, laughter, hardship, drama, tragedy, and achievement, which began in the native settlements of Northern Manitoba in 1937. Author James Robertson chronicles the many talents of Harry Meadows as a man of great vision, strength of character, and fortitude, who demonstrated his colourful and dynamic personality as a teacher, missionary, broadcaster, and minister. The most dramatic episode of Harry's work in the native communities took place in 1941 when a flu epidemic struck Poplar River, 270 miles north of Winnipeg, bringing death to 4% of the population. Mr. Meadows and his wife helped save the community from complete disaster. The story of this tragedy was extensively reported in the Toronto Star Weekly.
After he was ordained, Harry served congregations in Belmont United Church, Manitoba, Fifth Avenue United Church, Medicine Hat, Chalmers United Church, Vancouver, where he also had a regular radio ministry, and McDougall United Church, Edmonton.
Meadows was an activist, and his opinions, actions, and initiatives were regularly reported in the popular press. He was instrumental in forming the Edmonton City Centre Council of Churches, serving as its first President. In 1970, this organization became the Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation, (E4C) which is now one of the major deliverers of social services to the inner city.
During the 60s Harry gathered a number of highly successful business and professional people together to form the Bissell Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization. Harry became its first chairman. Together, they built the Meadowcroft Residence for Senior Citizens, one of the largest of its kind in Canada. It provided accommodation for 532 seniors and was opened by Premier Lougheed on January 4, 1973.
Meadows, with the support of his wife, provided outstanding leadership, example, and inspiration to those who were fortunate to know them.
About the Author: Jim was born in Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, Scotland and educated at McGibbons Marine Engineering College, Glasgow. He served in the British Merchant Navy for eleven years. When he left the Merchant Navy in 1953, he married Rita Grassom and emigrated to Canada where he worked for the Alberta Department of Labour for almost 30 years, retiring in l985. Always active in the Church, Jim served as Chairman of the Official Board at McDougall United Church in the 1970's. He also served as Chair of The Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation, established through Harry's leadership.
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