Under the Northern Cross
The Church of England Bishop of Newfoundland and Bermuda, Llewellyn Jones (1840-1918), was away in Bermuda at the time, but was expected back any day. Meanwhile, preparations were underway for an ordination service on Trinity Sunday.
Rev. George M. Johnson, head of the examining chaplains, informed Smith that he was to appear before the board for examination.
“ I assure you,” Smith declared to Johnson, “there isn’t the slightest reason for my giving you or the other chaplains any trouble on the score of my proficiency in sacred studies, for I passed very successfully the examination for Holy Orders held by Oxford and Cambridge Universities, having obtained a first class. And, even the diocese of London itself would be satisfied with that!”
Smith’s objections amounted to nothing. “ Newfoundland,” he reminisced, “ had its own standards.” Nevertheless, he succeeded in satisfying the examiners.
His ordination took place in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. A capacity congregation, including the Governor of Newfoundland and his staff, crowded into the building. Smith “was made deacon, along with others, and read the Gospel. No more beautiful setting for an ordination service could then have been found on this continent... for St. John’s Cathedral, the creation of Sir Gilbert Scott, wanted nothing in dignity.”
A few days later, Smith accompanied Bishop Jones as his chaplain to Conception Bay. They visited, among other places, Harbour Grace, then a town of 6,000 and the next town in importance to St. John’s. It was Smith’s “good fortune to settle as curate and to remain among a loving and attached people for well nigh a year and a half.”
To be continued.