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Leader Resource 1: The Words of Quillen Shinn

Writings of the Reverend Quillen Hamilton Shinn (1845-1907).

I am not on a pleasure trip wholly; the grandest recreation I get is working to spread our faith. Every liberal thinker in all this region is my parishioner. I own the mountains. Upon entering a new place the first impulse is to find if any Universalists are there. Missionary work! I can no more keep it out of a pleasure excursion than I can keep Universalism out of my sermons.


Our Church has had missionaries. We have some now, but the supply is meager while the demand is great. There ought to be adjustment here. It puzzles one to know why partialist churches get missionaries for every field they desire to enter. Our faith is more truly evangelical than any other. It means something better for all. Is not that good news? And spreading this is missionary work. The very faith compels every believer to be a missionary.


I am bold in saying that young men who are not ready to undertake hard things who are not willing to sacrifice much, and certainly such as are not willing to give up such inexcusable habits as the use of wine and tobacco, are not fit for Universalist missionaries. I know that the tobacco part of my statement is hard on some who are splendid fellows. I can't help it. I want to make them angry with me if only that will stir them to the heroism they are capable of. The greatest faith calls for the Church of the faithful.


Let us cultivate the missionary spirit. It is our great need. We must educate our people to be missionaries in desire and in action. Then we will grow as do other churches. Every Universalist must be kindled with the sense of obligation to do something for the spread of his faith. There ought not to be an idle Universalist, surely not an indifferent one, on the face of the earth. If there are any, they ought to be disturbed. The peace of inactivity cannot be afforded. The task that presses is developing a genius for missionary endeavor and mastery.


We need a tremendous shaking up. Don't be afraid of enthusiasm. It won't hurt us spiritually. If any are starving today, it is because of trying to live on culture only. Some great icebergs are floating around in these days, called 'culture.'


(Texas, Jan. 4, 1904, in a letter to his wife)

Glare of sunshine, but bitter cold! Northwest wind! Ice! Sand! A stretch of desolation dotted with houses! A desert place if there was ever one! New Year's day was spent at Sweetwater, and it was like summer. I stayed at a hotel making out reports for December. Next day, Saturday, it was bitter cold, and I took the stage, an open rattle-trap concern, for this place. Had not got out of the town when I saw I would freeze to death unless I got some protection. I went to a store and bought a blanket and wrapped it all around me. The cutting northwest wind went right through it and it blew so hard I had to hold my hat on all the way, twenty miles, and the wind would get between me and the blanket and blew the latter off repeatedly. My hat went off two or three tunes and so I had to clutch the ends of the blanket with one hand, hold on to my hat with the other, and as a result my hands ached fearfully and yesterday they were all swollen up and remain so yet. Deliver me from another trip like that, and yet the hack-driver sang and whistled all the way.

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