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Seven The Methodists The Southern Migrants and the Methodist Mission James M. Dawsey The Methodist Church of Brazil celebrated its centenary in 1967. The church dated its "uninterrupted presence in Brazil" from the arrival in the port of Rio de Janeiro on August 5, 1867 of the Reverend Junius Eastham Newman, a minister from the Alabama Conference and part of the migration ofSoutherners who eventually settled near the property of Col. William Norris in what was then called the province of Sao Paulo. Newman organized the first Methodist church among the settlers on the third Sunday of August 1871. Two of the nine charter members were Mr. Alfred I. Smith and Mrs. Sarah]. Smith-known to readers already from their daughter's account of the family's migration from Texas to Juquia, and then to Santa Barbara. A. I. Smith was the music leader of the congregation. Given Newman's founding role, and the location and membership of the first congregation, one would expect a close connection between the Southern colonists and the Methodist missionary effort that followed Newman to Brazil. But what was the nature of that connection? What role exactly did the colonists play in starting the mission? And what was the role of the mother church? It was certainly the case that Southern Methodism, more than Northern Methodism, influenced Brazilian Methodism. As Duncan A. Reily pointed out, the Southern influence was so strongly felt because the large majority of Methodist missionaries came from Southern states.1 In fact, after an initial effort by the Reverend R. Justin Spaulding and family from New England (1836-41) and the Reverend Daniel P. Kidder and family from New York (1837-40), and except for some isolated activity in Para; in the Amazon ,3 and in Rio Grande do Sul,4 all of the Methodist missionary activity in Brazil prior to 1930 was carried forward by Southerners. Conversely, a very large part of the missionary effort of Methodists in the South of the United States was directed to Brazil. For over forty years, 116 The Methodists Brazil was the only South American mission field maintained by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South,5 and as late as 1907, the mission in Brazil was one of only five foreign missions worldwide supported by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.6 In terms of the global effort of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, from the incipience of the support it directed to Brazil in 1876 to Brazilian church autonomy in 1930, the Brazil mission ranked second only to the China mission in the amount of money expended and missionaries sent to the field. Thus, not only did Southerners labor to implant Methodism in Brazil, but the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was singularly concerned to do so in South America in Brazil. Naturally, one assumes a connection between the arrival of the Southern colonists and the heightened interest of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for missions in Brazil. The hard labor involved in implanting Methodism in Brazil should not be forgotten. While the literature of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, sometimes claims that the mission in Brazil was gloriously successful, including it as part of "a growth which under the circumstances is almost without a parallel in ecclesiastical annals,"7 the establishment of Methodism in Brazil was in fact extremely slow and painful.8 Daniel Kidder's wife died of yellow fever in 1840, and after he and the Spauldings left Brazil, Methodism was interrupted until Newman's arrival in 1867. But the first missionary to Brazil supported by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was not Newman but the ReverendJohnJ. Ransom, who did not arrive in Brazil until 1876. Ransom's first wife also died from yellow fever in Brazil (1880), as did the ReverendJames W. Koger, in 1886, the next married missionary to arrive from the South of the United States. The first Brazilian ministers were not received into full connection with the Methodist church until 1890. The so-called Grande Plano, by which Methodism became economically self-sufficient in Brazil, was not instituted until 1924, and complete autonomy from North American Methodism came only in 1930. It took almost 100 years of devoted effort to implant Methodism in Brazil. From 1876 until 1900, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, sent approximately thirty missionaries to Brazil, and as a result of that effort, in 1900, the Methodist Church in Brazil numbered 2,774 members in a country with a population of 18 million.9 Seldom has...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780817389024
Related ISBN
9780817309442
MARC Record
OCLC
45730752
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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