David Mainse on Eugene Vaters

After reading about the passing of television host and founder of 100 Huntley Street David Mainse at 81 on 25 September 2017, I went to my correspondence file to see whether I had any letters from him.

David Mainse

On 1 August 1988, while researching the life and ministry of Pastor Eugene Vaters (1898-1984), general superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland (1928-62), I asked Mainse for his impressions about the Newfoundland Pentecostal pioneer.

“He was a great blessing to us,” Mainse begins his response, dated 28 August 1988. Featuring Vaters on 100 Huntley Street was, Mainse adds, “like having one of God’s patriarchs as our special guest.

Eugene Vaters

“Eugene Vaters is a man of towering statue, in my experience of ministry. I’ve heard him preach. I’ve visited in his home and I have seen the results firsthand of his apostolic calling in the great success of the Pentecostal Assemblies ministry throughout Newfoundland. He was and continued to be, in my thinking, to the Church a figure of great importance. In the history of our Nation one would have to draw an earthly comparison to [John A.] MacDonald [1815-91) or [George-Étienne] Cartier [1814-73], some of the early Fathers of Confederation. I don’t wish to minimize the importance of political contribution that these men made to nationhood, but the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth is of infinitely greater importance than the work of anyone following a political calling.”

When Vaters’ daughter, Pauline Shaw and her husband Geoffrey were with 100 Huntley Street for several years, “the character of Eugene Vaters was very much a part of their lives,” Mainse writes. “I saw and appreciated his legacy daily during the time.”

When Mainse was in Vaters’ presence, he “sensed an unbending integrity and yet a heart full of compassion and understanding. In short, a man who had, throughout life’s journey, became conformed to the image of Christ.”

Actually, Mainse knew both Eugene Vaters and his wife, Jennie (1895-1986). “Together,” he reminisces, “this couple was a formidable team striking fear into the hearts of the enemy and planting the banner of the cross firmly throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and having a great influence far beyond those shores.”

High praise indeed!

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