“This is a valuable tool for historians and theologians,” Mackey says, helping Canadians see how Christian faith has been shaped through gripping stories of real people who have lived out their beliefs.

Online database aims to preserve Canadian Christian heritage

Encyclopedia honours leaders of the past and future

Those behind a new Online Encyclopedia of Canadian Christian Leaders are hoping to chronicle the faith lives of influential people who have helped shape a country.

Created by retired Christian author and faith-political journalist Lloyd Mackey, the project is part of his work earning a Doctorate of Ministry at Tyndale Seminary. The vision is to create an online database of leaders from the first 150 years of Canada’s history as a nation.

“I want to include leaders from across the years,” Mackey says. “And some future leaders who are starting their important work now.”

So far, leaders include those such as writer and tireless worker for women’s rights Nellie McClung (1873-1951) who called Western Canada the “Land of the Second Chance” and others like Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919), founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. As one writer put it upon Simpson’s death, “His epitaph is written in the hearts of countless multitudes at home and abroad… no one in this age had done more effectual, self-denying service for Christ and His Gospel.”

Mackey hopes the project becomes a collaborative effort between historians, teachers, journalists and others with an interest in Christian history in Canada. He is looking for more suggestions for leaders to include, as well as more writers to contribute. Mackey hopes the database will include over 200 entries by July of 2017.

“We recognize that Christian leaders come from different categories of life,” Mackey says, adding each entry falls under government and politics, Church, business and philanthropy, media, entertainment and the arts, healthcare, and education.

For potential entries Mackey looks to answer the question, “What is it about an individual that they have shown leadership and brought their Christian faith to bear,” he says, while trying to keep in mind the importance providing a cross section of leaders across the denominational spectrum.

“As long as they are Christ-centred and biblically based,” Mackey says.

The online nature allows researchers to access the data from anywhere in the world, though Mackey says the project is not a wiki that anyone can edit. Mackey is currently bringing together an editorial board to review and edit entries as they come in.

“This is a valuable tool for historians and theologians,” Mackey says, helping Canadians see how Christian faith has been shaped through gripping stories of real people who have lived out their beliefs.

To learn more visit www.canadianchristianleaders.org or to suggest leaders for inclusion e-mail Mackey at lloydmackey@shaw.ca.

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