Title: Emily (Martin) Garrett fonds
Extent: 1 folder of textual records and photographs
Repository: The United Church of Canada Archives Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Conference and All Native Circle Conference
Retrieval Information: 14 – 23
Emily was born to a pioneering farm family near Belmont, Manitoba July 7, 1902. Her early schooling took place in Belmont and nearby Baldur, and, she attended Normal School in Brandon. She spent two years teaching in rural Manitoba. The Martin family attended Belmont Presbyterian Church and at Church Union in 1925 they became United Church.
Emily took classes toward her B.A. at Wesley College, in Winnipeg, the former Methodist school but she graduated from the two year Manitoba College Deaconess Program in 1927. Manitoba College, formerly Presbyterian, began the Deaconess program in 1920, the only training program of its kind west of Toronto. Emily was designated as a United Church Deaconess in June 10, 1928 by Manitoba Conference after a year of probation at St. Andrew’s Elgin United Church. She worked her entire ministry career, from 1927 to 1939, at St. Andrew’s, in one of Winnipeg’s inner city neighbourhoods. Emily spoke of working with immigrant people in the area, mostly Scottish immigrants at that time. It was the Great Depression and it was demanding work being with people who experienced poverty and all the challenges of being in a new land. The church was the centre of activity with a full schedule of Sunday services, Sunday school, Mission Band, Mother’s Club, CGIT, and in the summer, Fresh Air camp. She spoke of pastoral situations that moved her; of funerals for folks who were so isolated that only she and the attending minister were present, of personally helping to pay for needed medical treatments in the days before universal Medicare. Emily had a strong passion for the social gospel. Although generally quiet and reserved, she was quick to speak out against stereotyped biases about people and poverty.
In 1939, (August 23) when she married Jack Garrett, whom she met at St. Andrew’s, she was officially disjoined from the Deaconess Order.
The church put an end to Emily’s formally recognized ministry but she didn’t let the lack of official designation stop her from conducting ministry, albeit informally. She continued to be active at St. Andrew’s until Jack took a job with Winnipeg Hydro at Pointe Du Bois, an isolated dam site community, in 1943. There Emily was an active lay person in the Anglican Church, the only church in the company town.
After moving to Transcona (in Winnipeg) in 1950, Emily became actively involved in the life of Transcona Memorial United Church. She gave lay leadership in many areas. She was a life member of the United Church Women, having previously been active in one of its forerunners, the Woman’s Missionary Society. Beyond the congregation, she was involved in Winnipeg Presbytery and outreach work within the Presbytery.
Emily also sustained personal relationships with some of the St. Andrew’s people and her Deaconess friends, like Zaidee Stoddard. She followed with keen interest the work of other Deaconesses, here and in mission fields across the world. She always respected the role and contribution of single women. She encouraged others to consider church vocations. She was proud of the work of the United Church in establishing pension plans for unmarried women.
Emily returned to volunteering at St. Andrews in her later years and was volunteering in the clothing depot the day that fire destroyed the old building, November, 12, 1968.
Emily was widowed in 1983 and moved to Senior’s Housing in Transcona. She maintained a lively interest in politics and in issues facing the church. She attributed her ability to live independently to the kindness and practical support of neighbours and church friends. Those church friends and clergy supported her through a 16 month stay in palliative care at St. Boniface Hospital, and when she gained sufficient strength to be moved, they cared for her a further 6 years at the Convalescent Home until she welcomed death at age 96, on November 5, 1998.
A biography of Emily can be found at UCCDeaconessHistory.ca
Scope and Content
The surviving records of Emily Martin Garrett are 38 photographs (some original and some printed from digitized versions) from a taken from a photo album that included photographs of a personal nature as well as photos from her work at St. Andrew’s and from a holiday she took to Norway House, Manitoba between 1936-1939. The collection also includes: Winnipeg FreePress obituary, November, 1928; newspaper announcement of her wedding, 1939; Jacqueline Louise Garrett (daughter) Certificate of Baptism (photocopy); “Congregational Life” Transcona Memorial United Church Newsletter, c. 1989; excerpt from Transcona Memorial United Church 50th Anniversary publication, 2003 (photocopy); excerpt Manitoba Conference Record of Proceedings, June 10, 1928 (photocopy); Letter from Bill Blaikie, MP for Winnipeg-Transcona, November 23, 1993 after an article in the Winnipeg FreePress featured Emily voting in an election; “Order of Service” and “Stories” Apology to Women Denied Access to Ministry Because they Married, Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario, May 24, 2014; Emily Martin Garrett 1902-1998, a biography written by Jackie Garrett (2014) for Deaconess History Project undertaken by Caryn Douglas.
All the photos have been digitized. An item description is available, see the link in the left column.
The collection was donated to the Archives in 2014 by Jackie Garrett, Winnipeg, Emily’s daughter.
Related Materials in other Repositories: Vox Wesleyana (1929), available from the University of Winnipeg Archives, contains a photo and short biography of Emily. Note: the photo of Emily Martin and that of Emily Hayter are incorrectly placed. Emily Martin is recognizable with her round glasses.
Language: The records are in English.
Restriction on Access: No restrictions apply.
Accruals: No further accruals are expected.