In the 1920s a journey to the Arctic was perilous. Most settlements were accessed from Britain just once a year, by boat, and travellers faced the risks of drowning, exposure and starvation.
But in 1925 two Church of England clergymen, sent out with the newly formed Bible Churchmen’s Missionary Society (now Crosslinks), began this dangerous voyage. Rev CH Jenkins and Rev FH Gibbs were motivated by the knowledge that, “the Good Shepherd has members of His flock who must be sought in the icy wilds and permanent darkness of the Arctic winter, and there are none but His own people to go and seek for them” (BCMS, The First Twenty Five Years, Wooten and Wright).
Jenkins and Gibbs’ trip to the Arctic included a night spent on a sheet of floating ice after their ship began to leak. Rescue came the following day when a sister-ship picked them up and transported them the rest of the way. When they reach their destination, they found the isolation severe and climatic conditions exceptional.
Sadly neither Jenkins nor Gibbs were able to remain long in the mission field. They were replaced in 1928 and 1929 by brothers Arthur and Jack Turner who stayed in the frozen north for many years, to the glory of God.
In their memory, the Arthur Turner Training School (ATTS) was opened in the 1970s. The goal of the school is to train and empower indigenous people for ordained ministry – so that the work began by Jenkins, Gibbs, Turner and Turner can continue. Today, the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed throughout the vast region and there is a strong desire to handle the word of God well.
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