History of the Canadian British-Israel Association
Abridged from remarks given by J.S. Brooks at the Fiftieth Anniversary Conference held in Toronto in September, 2006.
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY ADDRESS
CBIA-The Servant People
Welcome to the 50th anniversary celebration of CBIA-The
Servant People. I bring you personal greetings from Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit received its name from French words meaning, “the strait,” but
for centuries before that the Indians called the area, “Wa-we-a-tun-ong,”
meaning, “the crooked way.” [Clarence M. Burton, “The City of Detroit”,
1922] The Indians were referring to the circuitous route of the
Detroit River through the landscape, but some might find in that
name a more modern meaning with a moral connotation. Such is the world
we live in! Be that as it may, it is good to be with you all here again
in Canada. I was interested to hear that the name, Canada, apparently
comes from Indian words meaning, “the land of unwalled villages.” That
is a phrase found right in our Bibles in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
Israel in the latter days was to dwell in “the land of unwalled villages...
all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.”
(Ezek. 38:11) So while I’ve seen a lot of articles written about the
United States in Bible prophecy, let’s not forget Canada, which is also
a land of unwalled cities and villages, one of the marks identifying
the modern regathered house of Israel in the world today.
The Canadian British-Israel Association, which is now also known as The Servant People, had its first organizational meeting in September, 1956, with a convention in the city of Winnipeg. The principal organizers were Cuthbert (Cubby) Gladwin, of North Vancouver, B.C., who served as first president, and W.H. (Howard) Bennett, of Windsor, Ontario. Howard Bennett took over the chair as president in 1974, and continued in that role until 1988, when age and health forced him to pass on the presidency to the late Firth Hubbell, also of Windsor. Upon Firth’s passing in February, 1998, Mary Bennett became president, and has continued in that role ever since that time. Each of these respected individuals who served as president lent their particular skills and abilities to this organization in various ways. Howard Bennett authored two books and dozens of tracts in a long-time teaching role. Firth Hubbell set up our website and book catalogs. Mary Bennett made some hard but important decisions to ensure the financial viability of the organization, overseeing the move from our long-time leased office in downtown Windsor, to the purchase of our own headquarters building about a mile away. CBIA presidents were unpaid servants donating their time and abilities to the organization. Howard Bennett was a Canadian Customs Agent until his retirement. Firth Hubbell had several business interests including a garden center and an accounting practice. Mary Bennett is also an unpaid employee with an outside job; she works as a nurse three days a week, and the rest of her time is spent filling book orders, fielding phone inquiries, writing letters, and many other CBIA duties all on an unpaid basis. We should be very grateful for these individuals who so unselfishly have donated their time and skills to help our cause. As a result, CBIA remains today totally debt free and solvent on a yearly basis. We also want to give recognition to one of our founding members who is still with us today, Margaret Read, who is also a long-time board member. She is still going strong while well up into her 90’s, and we pray that she may have many more happy, healthful years to come. We have prepared an anniversary booklet filled with more information and pictures from our history as an organization.
There are many fond memories, and just plain interesting memories, after all these years. Wonderful conferences, including our large 1961 Windsor conference that was attended by nearly 100 people. Our magazine, The King’s Messenger, was edited by Ida Ferguson and Georgie Hern, and has evolved into a quarterly newsletter. There are memories of our past chairmen. Cubbie Gladwin was never without his favorite smoking pipe. Howard Bennett traveled by train to conferences along with quite a number of lady members, and people used to refer to them as “Howard’s harem.” Howard had to use all of his interpersonal skills in defusing a loud and angry squabble between two ladies on the train back from the Ottawa conference in 1966, which he skillfully defused successfully. At that conference, the hotel overbooked, and several people, including Mary Bennett, had to sleep on cots in a storage room for a night! And there are memories of our late much-esteemed chairman, Firth Hubbell, who was often referred to as the “late” Firth Hubbell because he was always late for meetings!
On a personal note, after I joined CBIA in 1975, I spent many vacation days from work at the CBIA headquarters office in Windsor, where Howard Bennett gave me personal tutoring all day in British-Israel history, theology, and prophecy. You might say I schooled at Howard Bennett University! I have many fond memories of those days. One special thing that I learned from Howard was that this British-Israel belief strengthens our faith in God and His Word as we see the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies and promises in our world today.