Only four editions are known to exist
Eugene Vaters ( 1898-1984) was general superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador ( 1928-62). Before becoming a Pentecostal pastor, he was a Methodist minister. Before that, he founded and led an evangelical mission in Victoria, Conception Bay. He also established and edited a magazine, The Independent Communion.
Vaters was born in Victoria, where he was raised a Methodist and received his early education. He experienced religious conversion around the age of 11.
He became a teacher at 17. At Rantem Station and, later, Little Harbour Deep, he also conducted church services in the absence of clergy.
Entering the ministry in 1916, Vaters spent six years on the Methodist circuit on the island and in Labrador.
Disaffected by what he perceived as “modernism” invading the Methodist Church, he resigned in 1922.
He attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. In 1923, he became the first known Newfoundlander to attend a Pentecostal Bible school, in Rochester, New York.
Leaving the institution prematurely, Vaters and his wife, Jennie Sarah Gray (1895-1986), returned to Victoria. In 1924, they founded a mission. The Independent Communion grew out of their effort.
Only four editions of the Communion are known to exist ( June, July and August-September 1924, and January-February 1925).
Eugene was the editor. The magazine was published by the Literature Distributing Centre of Carbonear. It was printed by Barnes & Co., St. John’s.
Below the masthead of his publication, Vaters inscribed two rather dark and brooding verses from the Bible. A portion follows: “ When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
The editor described his magazine as “an independent religious monthly, (D.V.).” The D.V. (Deus Volent), is Latin for “God willing.”
The Communion was “dedicated to the work of God in Newfoundland and elsewhere, as (God) may see wise to use it.”
Vaters assured his readers: “ We endeavour to hold forth a full-gospel message.”
His “ full-gospel message” consisted of five tenets: “1. Salvation from sin by faith in Jesus Christ alone; 2. A complete separation from the world in spirit and practice; 3. A full dependence upon God in every circumstance of life; 4. The Lord as the only healer of his people; (and) 5. The second coming of . . . Jesus Christ . . . and the necessity of a ‘ walk in the Spirit’ and ‘not in the flesh.’ “
The Communion was offered free and would be “sent to any who request it.” However, Vaters added, “ We depend upon voluntary offerings, given as unto the Lord.”
The editor added a gender-specific request, “Brethren, pray for us.”
The Communion published articles by Eugene and Jennie Vaters, as well as reprints from other publications.
Little is known about the Communion publisher, the Literature Distributing Centre. However, it was, in all likelihood, another of Eugene’s ventures.
The centre is introduced with this advertising jingle: “ We can help you get what you want.” The centre aimed “to place in the hands of the people good, sound literature at as cheap a price as possible. Our own literature is free as the Lord provides.”
In the July 1924 issue of his paper, Vaters described it as “non-sectarian and undenominational. We advocate the doctrines of no particular school. Contending for the faith of the Son of God.”
A sixth tenet was added to the “ full-gospel message”: “A dedication of all that we are and have to God.”
The editor informed his readers that “ bundles are sent to any upon request for distribution in needy localities.
“In order to assure its continuance to any address, it will be necessary to write us at least yearly.”
By this time, Vaters was referring to himself as “Rev.,” although he would soon eschew the title.
In the August-September 1924 issue, Vaters revised his doctrinal tenets to include a seventh item: “Sanctification and Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
In an editorial, he elaborated on the purpose of the Communion: “ We pitch our standard independently in the camp of presentday movements.”
In the January-February 1925 issue, Vaters apologized for having prefixed his name with “ Rev.” He explained, “ It is now some years since the Lord showed (me) the utter inappropriateness of a human being taking to himself the title which God has reserved to Himself alone.”
Later that year, Vaters amalgamated his mission at Victoria with Bethesda Mission, in St. John’s, the first meetinghouse of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador.