Oct 132014

Printable/Searchable pdf Version:

Rev. J. Douglas McMurtry Fonds


Indian Residential Schools

509/2 Superintendents of Home Missions Excerpt 1: General Files

518/4 Conference Personnel Officer

United Church Deaconess History: Gwen Davis McMurtry

Title: Rev. J. Douglas McMurtry Fonds

Dates: 1920-2003

Extent: 3.31m textual materials

Repository: The United Church of Canada Archives Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Conference and All Native Circle Conference

Retrieval Numbers: Acc: 99-60, 03-23, 03-24; 04 – 19; 06 – 28; ID# 3334

Historical Note
Doug McMurtry, here in 1968, a respected leader during a period of shifting relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.  UCArchivesWpg northern 18

Doug McMurtry, here in 1968, a respected leader during a period of shifting relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. UCArchivesWpg northern 18

Rev. J. Douglas McMurtry was born to (Rev.) James and Elizabeth (Rundle) McMurtry on October 8, 1919, in Mazenod, Saskatchewan. He was one of six children and was raised in various towns in Saskatchewan: Mazenod, Limerick, Semans, and Ogema. McMurtry worked in the town of Cupar until 1940 when he was received as a candidate for the ministry. After his first year of training at St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, McMurtry served the Jenner-Buffalo Mission field. The following summer he served Bright Sands field in Northwestern Saskatchewan. As a conscientious objector, McMurtry was excused from service in the war. He spent the early 1940s continuing his studies and caring for his ailing mother. McMurtry’s pastoral appointment to Smeaton, Saskatchewan in 1944 was cut short by the requirement to do alternative service in China with the Canadian Friends’ Service Committee. On December 2, 1944, prior to his overseas departure, McMurtry married Gwendaline (Gwen) Davis. While he served in China from 1945 to 1947, Gwen, a United Church Deaconess, served Tugaske in the Presbytery of Moose Jaw. Upon his return to Canada, Rev. Doug McMurtry took over the Tugaske appointment from his wife. The McMurtrys remained in Tugaske until 1953, when Doug accepted a call to the Wolseley-Sintaluta charge in the Qu’Appelle Presbytery. Four years later the family moved to Melville, where Rev. McMurtry served First United Church and became very active in Yorkton Presbytery and with the Conference Committee on Indian ministry. In 1962, he became President of the Saskatchewan Conference. The McMurtrys subsequently moved to Grenfell and Doug served the Round Lake (First Nation) Mission. After serving the four reserves of Round Lake for three years, the family moved to Winnipeg and he became the Superintendent of Home Missions. McMurtry, who was responsible for N.E. Manitoba and N.W. Ontario, shared the role of Superintendent from 1966 to 1972 with Ray Smith, who was responsible for S.W. Manitoba.

In 1978, after many years away from pastoral ministry, McMurtry accepted a call to Immanuel Church in Winnipeg. While he served Immanuel, he continued to be active in Conference and Presbytery and the broader community, specifically with the Native Ministry Board, the Stella Mission and Project Peacemakers.

In 1981, McMurtry was elected President of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. Doug officially retired in 1985. Even into his nineties Doug is active in social justice work and building relationships of respect and reconciliation between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.  Doug was made an Honourary Elder of the Jessie Saulteaux Resource Centre (now Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre) in recognition of his long lived commitment to the work of justice and reconciliation.

Towards the end of his career, he was honoured with the commemorative medal of the Golden Jubilee of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Doug and Gwen spent the early years of their retirement traveling and visiting with their children: David (born February 6, 1949), Norah (born August 29, 1951), Michael (born June 21, 1955), and their grandchildren. In 1992, Gwen McMurtry passed away. Two years later, Doug married Grace Searle. Grace died in 2007.

Scope and Content

The surviving records of Rev. J. Douglas McMurtry include: a biography entitled ‘Recollections for my grandchildren’, dating from 1996; an oral history entitled ‘Formation of Keewatin Presbytery’, compiled by Rev. Doug McMurtry and Mary-Ann Gibson, dating from 1995; United Church of Canada and Home Missions Board publications, including ‘Forms of Service – Cree’ (1933), ‘Cree Hymn Book’ (1958), and ‘English-Cree Primer and Vocabulary’ (1955); various Canadian Bible Society pamphlets published in English, Cree and Saulteaux, dating from 1972 and 1973; British & Foreign Bible Society publications, including ‘The New Testament in Plain Cree’ (1946), ‘The Old Testament in Plain Cree’ (1920), and ‘The Gospel according to St. Luke in Plain Cree’ (1940); a ‘Cree Bible Dictionary’ published by the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada, dating from 1961; Sermon Notes from Immanuel United Church, dating from 1978 – 1985,from the Tugashe – Eyebrow Pastoral charge dating from 1947 – 1948,1952 – 1953 and from Round Lake Mission, dating from 1965 – 1966 ;records of the Task Force on Human Sexuality, dating from 1985 – 1988; records of the Task Group on Northern Flooding dating from 1975 – 1991; records of the Task Group on Residential Schools, dating from 1991 – 1999;records of the Conference President, dating from 1981 – 1982; records of the Native Ministry, dating from 1978 – 1989;records of the Manitoba Aboriginal Rights Coalition (MARC), dating from 1998 – 2003; Records of the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Resource Centre, dating from 1986 – 1989; Orders of Service from First United Church in Melville SK, dating from 1959 – 1960, 1962 – 1963;and miscellaneous pamphlets and volumes regarding hymns, gospels and bible stories, dating from 1971 and 1972.

Finding aids

File and item level inventories available.

Documentation Digitization

Relevant items in this fonds related to Indian Residential Schools are included in The United Church of Canada Archives Manitoba Northwestern Ontario Conference and All Native Circle Conference 2014 Index of IRS Related Records and were digitized for submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Contact the Archivist for more information.

Related Material in this Repository

Related material: Files of the Superintendents of Home Missions (Administrative Records of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario) Finding Aid available.

Custodial History

The records of Rev. J. Douglas McMurtry were donated to the Archives of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario by Ian Manson in 1998 on behalf of Rev. Doug McMurtry. Additional records were removed from the Conference Home Missions collection and were accessioned in 2003. Rev. McMurtry deposited more material in the Conference archives in 2004.

Language:  The material is primarily in English, with some Cree and Saulteaux documents.

Restrictions on access: Some restrictions on access may apply.

Accruals: No further accruals expected.