Bland, Salem Goldworth

Salem Goldworth Bland, Methodist (later United Church) minister, author (b at Lachute, Canada E 25 Aug 1859; d at Toronto 7 Feb 1950). A leading popularizer of liberal theology and the SOCIAL GOSPEL, Bland held a succession of churches in the St Lawrence and Ottawa valleys, then taught at Wesley College, Winnipeg, from 1903 to 1917. When a financial crisis at the college during the war was used as a reason for staff reorganization and for Bland's dismissal, his removal became a cause célèbre across the west. A CHAUTAUQUA lecturer and columnist for the GRAIN GROWERS' GUIDE (1917-19), he returned to the pulpit ministry in Toronto in 1919 and became a regular columnist in the reform Toronto Star, under the byline "The Observer."

Always in the reform wing of the church and immensely popular with young people, Bland mixed temperance, sabbath observance and church-union advocacy with moderately socialist views. He spoke widely in the West. A favourite of the labour movement and farmers' organizations, he was an early advocate of a third party for Canada, helping to form the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION in Ontario in the 1930s. He was a founder and mentor of the Fellowship for a Christian Social Order in 1934, a participant in Popular Front organizations in the mid-1930s (a children's home in Spain was named after him), and an ardent supporter of the Allied cause in WWII. He wrote The New Christianity (1920) and James Henderson D.D. (1926).