May 16, 2006 by Joseph Krohn
Ministering to the poor and to those that are imprisoned:
Aware of John Wesley’s legacy, Canadian Methodists dedicated themselves to the alleviation of human distress on any front, their vision here being no less than social transformation. They exerted themselves on behalf of convicts and ex-convicts, prostitutes and impoverished immigrants, all the while campaigning for better housing, improved public health, unemployment insurance, pensions, compensation for injured workers, the eight-hour work day, humane working conditions and homemaking skills. Salem Bland and James Woodsworth were the most visible exponents of the Social Gospel movement in Methodism, the latter eventually leaving the ministry in order to co-found the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. The prosecution of social justice, it was thought, would largely eliminate the sources of social disharmony. At the same time leaders such as Samuel Chown continued to uphold the necessity of personal regeneration.