Pioneer Models of Methodist Missionary Enterprise

Fiona Vernal

in The Farmerfield Mission

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199843404
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950546 | DOI:
Pioneer Models of Methodist Missionary Enterprise

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Chapter two examines pioneer Methodist evangelism at the Cape and the establishment of a chain of mission stations among Africans living beyond the borders of the Cape Colony. Proselytizing at a time when Africans still maintained their political, economic and cultural autonomy, missionaries made little impact on Africans. Africans responded to the Christian message with a mixture of curiosity and disregard and mélange of political refugees, social pariahs and other individuals on the fringes of African societies occupied the earliest missions. Even as missionaries accepted Africans’ uncertain spiritual engagement as an inevitable characteristic of pioneer work, they grew increasingly impatient with the persistence of what they called nominal Christianity. Circular huts, bodies bedaubed with red ochre indicated the persistence of “incipient” civilization. By the 1830s when the small number of actual converts seemed incommensurate with the great missionary zeal and effort expended, missionaries were ready for a new strategy.

Keywords: Albany; Methodism; missionaries; pioneer missions; nominal Christianity; incipient civilization; Salem; 1820 settlers; frontier; Eastern Cape

Chapter.  15271 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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