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Photo Friday: Have Tent, Will Travel

Bert Sherk (right), bishop of the Black Creek District in Ontario, Canada, was a popular Brethren in Christ evangelist in the early twentieth century. (Courtesy of the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives)

Today’s Photo Friday installment shows Bert Sherk — bishop of the Black Creek District in Ontario, Canada, and a popular evangelist in the early decades of the twentieth century — after loading up tent equipment and chairs with the help of Norman Church and his son, Neil.

Sherk, who was converted by Brethren in Christ evangelist Noah Zook, became an in-demand evangelist after his election to the ministry in 1909. As his biographer, E. Morris Sider, once wrote of him:

In Bert Sherk, the Brethren in Christ Church in Canada had one of its most colourful characters. A strong, relatively uninhibited personality, not entirely characteristic of his church contemporaries, combined with a more typical caring and conservative nature to produce a leader almost unique to the Brethren in Christ of his time.1

Elsewhere, Sider described Sherk this way:

He had many of the qualities that Brethren in Christ in those days looked for in their evangelists: he was witty, plain-speaking, a good storyteller, active behind the pulpit, and spoke without notes. He traveled over the church in this role, as far west as California. In Oklahoma . . . he held meetings under a brush and grass arbor.2

Sherk was popular in other corners of the denomination as well; Sider records that he was particularly favored by the church in Ohio, where he preached in almost every congregation.3

1. Sider, Canadian Portraits: Brethren in Christ Biographical Sketches (Grantham, Pa.: Brethren in Christ Historical Society, 2001), p. 189.
2. Sider, The Brethren in Christ in Canada: Two Hundred Years of Tradition and Change (Nappanee, Ind.: Evangel Press, 1988), p. 208.
3. Canadian Portraits, p. 202.

4 responses to “Photo Friday: Have Tent, Will Travel

  1. Hey Devin,

    Just found your blog. This is totally great! Thanks for doing it. There’s so much here I could gladly read to procrastinate in writing my paper that’s due on Monday!

    1. Hi Ben: Thanks for “finding” me! Glad you like the blog… and glad it can give you a way to procrastinate. Those of us in grad school need all the help we can get!

  2. Devin: I have been enjoying your blog for sometime now, especially when articles such as this appear. Older family members and friends who are “shy” to face book are thrilled by such nostalgia, especially when we see items with our dearly departed loved-ones! Thanks so much.

    1. Ken: Thank you so much for this warm, positive affirmation. I have been enjoying your comments. Glad that the blog can be useful to you, your family, and your friends.

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