The Sierra Leone experiment to 1815

In West Africa the evangelical cause was represented by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) ofthe Church of England, founded in 1799, although, instructively, the first CMS recruits were German evangelicals, Melchio Renner and Peter Hartwig, who arrived in Sierra Leone in 1804. With its hints of unruly enthusiasm, evangelical religion was suspect among probably most Anglicans, and churchmen found the idea of missionary service unfamiliar and unacceptable. Consequently, the CMS became by force of circumstance an ecumenical and trans-national missionary organization. Even then, it was a rocky beginning for the CMS. Hartwig abandoned the missionary life, disappeared promptly into Susu country, not to convert Africans but to become a slave trader. Undaunted, the CMS dispatched a second batch of missionaries, all Germans, who arrived in 1806: Leopold Butscher, Johann Prasse and Gus-tavus N ylander. N y lander was to become the pioneer agent of the CMS in Sierra Leone, and he stayed in Freetown as agent ofthe Sierra Leone Company. (Sierra Leone became a British crown possession after 1807.) He was a man who wore many hats: as chaplain he ministered to a flock of European churchgoers, and at home he played husband to a Nova Scotian. The tropics stripped whatever surviving religious habits his European parishioners retained, and they deserted the chapel, leaving Nylander with no flock to tend. The chapel

0 0

Post a comment