`Vanners' Have Come Far since Their Humble Origins

By Larmondin, Leanne | Anglican Journal, May 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

`Vanners' Have Come Far since Their Humble Origins

Larmondin, Leanne, Anglican Journal


In the humble beginnings of the Sunday School Caravan Mission in the 1920s, if a van driven by missionaries (or vanners, as they were commonly known) broke down or became stuck, the enterprising young women hired to bring Sunday school to children in isolated communities would either push or repair the van on the spot or hike through swarms of mosquitoes and miles of bush to the nearest civilization.

In the 21st century the vanners need only push a few buttons on a cell phone.

Yes, Eva Hasell would be astonished at some of the changes to vanning in the diocese of Calgary, home to the only such program still in existence in Canada. The program, which, except for a couple of blips, has been in operation for 80 years, is seeking up to four recruits for July and August this summer.

Calgary's vanning program is light years away from the 1920s, when well-meaning young women recruited for the Lord's work by English-born Miss Hasell would arrive fresh off the boat from England and set off for months at a time in sturdy, sparsely-equipped Ford vans.

Those vehicles, modelled after World War I ambulances and painted a blue-grey -- "a better match for prairie dust and mud" -- carried the women, their Sunday school lessons and minimal provisions to remote communities in western and northern Canada.

Today, the vehicles are modern, rented minivans and the young vanners are fresh-faced youth from the diocese. Like anybody working with children in the 21st century, the vanners complete a vigorous application, police check and screening process and they train for a weekend before hitting the road, says Linda Clayton, who chairs the diocese's vanning committee.

The vanners travel on a set schedule to a different community each week. Those communities, usually too small to sustain a regular Sunday school throughout the year, contact the vanning committee in the spring to "book" their week with the vanners.

The young people are billeted with a local family and take suppers with different families from the parish. While in the community, they run a vacation Bible school program from Monday through Friday for children ages four and up.

Ms. Clayton says the program is an outreach tool in the community, as the children who attend are frequently either from another faith or are not churchgoers. The vanners teach a theme from the Bible and use games, crafts and drama to build on it.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

`Vanners' Have Come Far since Their Humble Origins


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?