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.