Michael D. Leigh
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The first British Methodist missionaries came to Upper Burma in 1887 and the last left in 1966. They were known as 'Wesleyans' before 1932 and afterwards as 'Methodists'. Missionary societies built hospitals, clinics and schools as practical expressions of their Christian love, although critics dismissed them as instruments of cultural domination. Henry Venn, the impeccably evangelical Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was the most distinguished and inspiring of nineteenth- century mission administrators. The early Wesleyan missionaries in Upper Burma were less racist than Southern Africa counterparts, but they were reluctant to criticise colonial authority and slow to embrace local church autonomy. Politics of proselytism rather than religious differences lay behind most battles with secular and Buddhist leaders in Upper Burma. The British public was fascinated by Burma, imagining it as an 'intangible' corner of a 'Boy's Own' empire.

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Conflict, politics and proselytism

Methodist missionaries in colonial and postcolonial Upper Burma, 1887–1966


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