We were blessed with the presence of Friends from many parts of

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					Timothy Rogers revisits Yonge Street Meeting
May 6, 2001 was a sunny Sunday morning, as Friends and visitors gathered at
the Meeting House on Yonge Street in Newmarket to commemorate the 200th
                                                                                   by Virginia Dawson
anniversary of the arrival of Timothy Rogers from Vermont to settle the area,
an event which led to the founding of the Town of Newmarket and the
establishment of the meeting that became Yonge Street Monthly Meeting.


                                                e were blessed with the presence of Friends from many parts of Canada as

                                     W          Represen tative Meeting had been meeting in Tor ont o th e pr evious day,
                                                and as well m any Friends from Toron to Meeting made the journ ey
                                     north. The large attendance was reminiscent of the days when Canadian Yearly
                                     Meeting used t o meet at Picker ing Colleg e and come to Yonge Street for th e
                                     Sunday Meeting for Worship. We were also joined by many members of the
                                     Newmarket town community for whom the 200th celebrations had begun earlier in
                                     the week with a re-enactment of the arrival of the original settlers by horse and
                                     wagon; filmed for television , suit ably by Rogers Cable ( Ted Roger s, th e CEO of
                                     Rogers Cable being a direct descendant of Timothy Rogers).
      How has Truth                       After Meeting for Worship, during which many gave thanks for those Friends
    prospered among                  who, both in the past and more recently, were faithful to Friends' beliefs and
                                     practices, the beautiful weather al lowed us to spill out on to the lawn and porch
            us (you)?                for a pi cnic l unch , with opport unities for conversation an d the renewal of
                                     friendships.
                                          We then gather ed back i n th e meeting room to hear greeti ngs fr om the Town
                                     of Newmarket. Th e clerk of Yonge Str eet Meeting, Virgin ia Dawson, welcomed
                                     everyone and invited Gordon McClure as clerk of Canadian Yearly Meeting to
 How are Friends in                  welcome Timothy Rogers on his "return visit" to Canadian Quakers. This Gordon
  Peace and Unity?                   did most apt ly by posing two of the earliest queries; How has th e Truth prospered
                                     among you (us) ? How are Fri ends in peace and un ity ? Gordon then ponder ed
                                     some possible answers to these queries to give Timothy Rogers a sense of what
                                     Canadian Quakers have done and stood for in the years since he had departed.
                                     Gordon responded to the second query first, describing the separations of the 19th
                                     century and then the work of Canadian Friends Service Committee in peace and
                                     social justice leading to the eventual reunification of the three yearly meetings in
                                     1955 into Canadian Yearly Meeting. Gordon spoke of the work of Friends both
                                     then and now for peace and equality and their opposition to war and military
                                     service. Friends' rel ation ship with First Nations people was h ighligh ted as part of
                                     the testimony to that of God in everyone. He described how Timothy Rogers and
                                     the other Quaker settlers were welcomed to Newmarket because of this relationship
                                     and tha t Friends nowadays also continue th ese relationships in supporting Fir st
                                     Nations people. Gordon finish ed by describing for Timothy Rogers, the awareness
                                     by modern day Friends of the need for a new testimony, that of Unity with Nature.
                                          All of this set the scene most appropriately , for Timothy Rogers (aka David
                                     Morris) to take us back in time and describe his leading (and explain what a
                                     leading is) to come to this new land called Upper Canada, coming at first with his
                                     son-in law Rufus Roger s, an d find ing a good mill si te some 40 miles north of
                                     Toronto. He envisioned a settlement halfway between the Friends' settlements at
                                     Adolphustown on the Bay of Quinte and Pelham in the Niagara peninsula to help
                                     Frien ds in Upper Canada be un ited. He then returned to Ver mont where his wife
                                     Sarah had recen tly given birth to a son, na med after th e Chief Justice of Upper
                                     Canada, John Elmsley, with whom Timothy Rogers had established a mutually
                                     warm relationship. He then persuaded several related families to leave Vermont



 12                                                                                 August 2001 The Canadian Friend
 in January with sleighs and they arrived in May on wagons, having visited and
rested with the Frien ds at Adolphustown on the way.
     David's port rayal was so auth entic, th at one could im agine wha t it must have
been like to travel in the winter with small children, knowing that one's survival the
next winter was dependent on the arri val time, which would determi ne th e length of
the growing season.      We could share Timothy's sadness when five of his
daught ers died in the typhus epi demic, which affected the whole commu nity so much
that the plans for the building of the meeting house, in which we were witnessing this     Many of us in the
presentation, and now worship, had to be scaled back in size.
     David conveyed most sensit ively Timothy Rogers' strong lead ings an d prin ciples    room that day,
as well as his humanity. The story of his admonishment of his son Obadiah and the
subsequent reconcilation was moving . He spoke warmly about his children and his
                                                                                           and indeed in
wife Sarah, noting the tri als and tribulations to which he had subjected her, an d then   Canadian Yearly
tenderly of her last days. We learned of Timothy's move to Duffin's Creek near
Pickering and the establishment of a meeting there. His visitation among Friends
                                                                                           Meeting, are
continued extensively both in Upper Canada and with the parent meetings in the             immigrants
United Stat es. We heard how durin g the war of 1812 , he was given sa fe passage
through the battle lines in order to attend New York Yearly Meeting, as many Friends       whose thoughts
in the Yonge Street settlement still held membership in that yearly meeting.
     When David sat down to spontaneous Quaker (silent) applause, Friends felt a
                                                                                           still travel to other
deep sense of gratitude for having been part of revisiting a chapter in Canadian           communities of
Quaker history and having heard so vividly of the faith that the original settlers
brough t with them and their vision to start a meeting in this place, which we now
                                                                                           Friends as
call our spiritual home.                                                                   Timothy Rogers'
     Our day continued with refreshments and an opportunity to visit the booths that
different groups had set up: Canadian Friends Historical Association, Canadian             thoughts must
Yearly Meeting Archives, Yonge Street Friends Burial Ground, Yonge Street author,
Kyle Jolliffe, Quaker Book Service, Canadian Friends Service Committee,
                                                                                           have done.
Orangeville Worship Group, a display of the renovations that were undertaken at the
meeting house in 1975 , Friends Committee in Unity with Nature, and Pickering
College.
     The sense of fellowship and outreach continued long into the evening and
though the formal proceedings ended with a short Meeting for Worship, in many
ways the whole day had been worshipful. Thanks were expressed to the organizing
committee for their vision in bringing this event to fruition and informing
present-day Friends of the traditions they have inherited , while inspiring us in a
reaffirmation of our faith.
     Many of us in the room that day, and indeed in Canadian Yearly Meeting, are
immigrants whose thoughts still travel to other communities of Friends as Timothy
Rogers' thoug hts m ust have done. The words of the Elders a nd Brethr en of
Philadelphia writing in 1683 to their friends three thousand miles away still
resonate. [ Christian Faith and Practice, #677 ]

" Oh. remember us, for we cannot forget you :
       Many waters cannot quench our love,
       Nor distan ce wear out the deep r emembran ce
       of you in the heavenly Truth:
....................................................................
       And though the Lord has been pleased
       to remove us far away from you,
       as to the other end of the earth,
       Yet are we present with you,
       Your exercises are ours;
       Our hearts are dissolved
       in the remembrance of you,
       Dear brethren and sisters in th is heavenly love; "

    Volume 97, Number 3                                                                                            13

				
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