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“…the deepest and most far reaching of all interests: ” – Murray and the United Church

“After moving from Fredericton to Halifax in 1892, [Murray] soon became an elder of St. Matthews, the oldest Presbyterian church in Canada. … It was in Halifax and as a member of St. Matthews that he became converted to the idea of a larger church union. Five years before he decided to move west himself, Walter Murray had thrown his enormous energy into what would become the longest campaign of his life, working out the details of a new Church of Canada and persuading his fellow Presbyterians to accept it. Here, too, St. Matthews provided a precedent. Murray’s study of its earlier years, when it was in fact a unionist church, sparked the beacon of unionism within him.” (The Prairie Builder, p.136-137)

Walter Murray held fast to his faith throughout his life.  Indeed, it seems an essential part of his character, fundamentally important to understanding much of his thought and action.  In Saskatoon, he served as an elder of Knox Church from 1911 until his death; the baptismal font was dedicated to Murray, as Knox Church’s “oldest, most faithful and active member.”

Knox also recognized Murray’s “persistence, tolerance, understanding and statesmanship so ably employed in…the bringing into being the United Church of Canada.” (The Prairie Builder, p. 156).

That union – of the Methodist Church, the Congregational Union of Canada, and 70 % of the Presbyterian Church – was formally inaugurated on 10 June 1925, and “was the first union of churches in the world to cross historical denominational lines.”  Walter Murray was one of the signators of the Basis of Union.