Community

Model immortalizes historic church ship

Bob Scales was the Thomas Crosby’s mate in 1982, and spent about 40 years slowly working on a model of the vessel that he recently donated to the Museum of Northern B.C. Also pictured is Jean Nicholls, who was secretary of the Thomas Crosby in the late ‘70s, and Nancy Robertson, whose father Ole Borch was responsible for the Thomas Crosby’s books prior to Nicholls.  - Martina Perry
Bob Scales was the Thomas Crosby’s mate in 1982, and spent about 40 years slowly working on a model of the vessel that he recently donated to the Museum of Northern B.C. Also pictured is Jean Nicholls, who was secretary of the Thomas Crosby in the late ‘70s, and Nancy Robertson, whose father Ole Borch was responsible for the Thomas Crosby’s books prior to Nicholls.
— image credit: Martina Perry

For more than 20 years the Thomas Crosby V spread the word of God to people living in isolated communities along the North Coast, also providing church services and much-needed human contact to those living far away from civilization.

The history and contributions of the United Church missionary ship were acknowledged at an intimate ceremony last week, when a handcrafted model of the Thomas Crosby V was donated to the Museum of Northern British Columbia.

“I’ve been working on it off and on for 40 years,” said its creator Bob Scales, a retired United Church minister who became involved with mission ships in 1957.

Throughout the years he spent at sea, Scales was the skip of the Thomas Crosby IV and worked as mate of the V for one year in the early ‘80s.

“It was based in Prince Rupert, so a logical place for it is Prince Rupert,” he said.

Prince Rupert’s Jane Nicholls was impressed with the model’s accuracy. And she’s knows from her time as shore contact for the Thomas Crosby V in the late 1970s and early ‘80s,

“I was the first one to meet them and the last one to see them go,” she explained.

The last in a series of mission ships named after Rev. Thomas Crosby, a Methodist missionary who worked in coastal communities including Lax Kw’alaams, the Thomas Crosby V was put into service in Prince Rupert in 1967 and visited lighthouse keepers and remote communities up and down the Inside Passage until the early ‘90s.

Each month the ship set off from Prince Rupert stopping in remote communities where people awaited medical treatment from the ship’s nurse, medical transportation if required, wedding, baptism and burial services from its minister, reading material from its library and whatever else it could. Nicholls said whatever the church offered in town could be provided to people living in the remote coastal areas by the Thomas Crosby V.

“We did a little bit of whatever was needed ... with so few people, you just kept doing what you could,” said Nicholls, adding for many the most important thing was communication and human contact.

“For some of the people in places along the coast it was their only contact for months on end, particularly in the winter.”

The Thomas Crosby V model is a welcomed addition to the museum’s exhibit, where it will remain.

“The very generous gift will bring back memories to many and provide for others a look into a part of our North Coast past,” said Heather Mclean, a directors for the Museum of Northern British Columbia.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Guns and Hoses raises $3,700 for Down Syndrome research
 
Local rider makes coveted Team Canada Para-Equestrian list
 
Real country living comes to Charles Bailey
Go off the edge of the map with John Pollack at Cafe Langham
 
Friday is Jersey Day in Nelson
 
A book under every tree
Rossland Mountain Film Festival
 
Fundraiser after fire guts home
 
Teachers of Rossland Summit School honoured their We Scare Hunger Food Drive commitments

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 28 edition online now. Browse the archives.