Gospel Hall Go-Preachers

by George Sanborn

In March 2000, an item was sent to the New Brunswick Mail List that explained a term - "Go-Preacher" - that one might find in various writing about religion in New Brunswick. It is being reproduced here with his permission.
The term "Go-Preacher" is a disparaging term used by some people to describe a member of the Gospel Hall, an evangelical, fundamentalist Christian movement. Each Hall is an independent group, who call their minister from among themselves or another Hall, and who hold Sunday services and prayer meetings throughout the week, and often meet in warm months in large regional groups in fields or under tents.  Tent Meetings are common throughout the Maritimes.
I have never met one who was not very sincere about his or her religious beliefs, and an honourable member of the community.  I am sure that over the years many people have had their feelings hurt by being called "Go-Preachers," or the less pejorative "Gospel Hallers."  However, once members of other religious groups (or of no religious group) get to know them better, greater understanding and tolerances prevail, as is the case with most other instances of name-calling.  This seems to be an extension of the "school-yard bully" mentality which we have all seen, if not experienced.
Members of the Gospel Hall believe in reading, teaching, and following the Bible, and do not admit of other trappings.  They believe that the Bible is the word of God, and they can read and interpret it as well as somebody else.
Perhaps you will remember seeing the big tent set up in Sussex every summer where they have week-long tent meetings.  It's right handy the Trans-Canada.  Also, you will be familiar with the customary signs that Gospel Hallers often post on their barns and on their property with quotations from the Bible, admonishing people to repent, confess, get their lives on track, and be ready for the inevitable. Those signs are usually a strong clue that the owners of the property, if not the residents there, are members of the Gospel Hall.  You see these signs all over the Maritimes.

Updated:Sunday, 01-Dec-2002 16:30:25 MST