William L. Faulknor -- By: Kenneth C. Fleming

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 009:1 (Summer 2000)
Article: William L. Faulknor
Author: Kenneth C. Fleming

William L. Faulknor

Kenneth C. Fleming


William Faulknor becomes an historical figure of interest largely because he was the first assembly missionary commended from North America. He was never well known. He did not accomplish what men would call significant tasks in his missionary work in Africa. Nor did he write anything that made a marked impact on the world of his day. Yet his brief service as a missionary is well worth our consideration because of his devotion to God and the example he left of selfless sacrifice for His Lord.

Conversion and Early Christian Service

In the month of June 1874 brethren Donald Munro and John Smith from Scotland were having evangelistic meetings in Hamilton, Ontario. On the last night of a six week campaign Thomas Muir was saved. He recalled, “Two nights

later (that is after the first meeting he had attended) I was back again, and faced the same question, — this time to acknowledge that I was a sinner, and dying as I would perish forever, but while John 3:36 was being quoted from the platform, I looked away from self and sin, and found peace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”1 Seated next to him was William L. Faulknor an acquaintance. Turning to him and noticing his distress Thomas Muir said, “Will, have you everlasting life?” “No,” was his reply, “but I want it. Have you got it?” “Yes,” Muir answered, “I received Christ as my Savior a few minutes ago, and I know I have everlasting life.” Within a few minutes the young man, William Faulknor, was saved.2 He dedicated his life to the work of the Lord. Those meetings were the roots of an assembly in Hamilton where believers began breaking bread on June 14, 1874.

Over the next few years Faulknor’s faith deepened and his vision widened. Mr. Muir went on to become a much used evangelist and teacher in North America. His first series of evangelistic meetings were held within one year in Straffordville, Ontario in June 1875. Little else is known of Faulknor’s early Christian life, but we do know that he was one of the early workers in Northern Ontario. We can safely assume that not only was he actively involved in outreach, but that he had become interested in the reports about the opening of Africa to the Gospel. He would have heard of the pioneering work of missionaries in Central Africa beginning with David Livingston. He also had read of pioneer assembly work in Central Africa led by F. S. Arnot. God led him to offer himself for this work. The brethren in Orillia, Ontario agreed that God was calling h...

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