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

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'. This book is a study of the ambitions, activities and achievements of Methodist missionaries in northern Burma from 1887-1966 and the expulsion of the last missionaries by Ne Win. Henry Venn, the impeccably evangelical Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), was the most distinguished and inspiring of nineteenth-century mission administrators. Wesleyan missionaries often found property development more congenial than saving souls. In Pakokku in December 1905, a 'weak' American missionary from Myingyan and a couple of Baptist Burman government officials began 'totally immersing' Wesleyans. Proselytism was officially frowned upon in the Indian Empire. The Wesley high schools were extraordinarily successful during the early years of the twentieth century. The Colonial Government was investing heavily in education. A bamboo curtain descended on Upper Burma in May 1942. Wesley Church Mandalay was gutted during the bombing raids of April 1942 and the Japanese requisitioned the Mission House and the Girls High School soon afterwards. General Ne Win was ruthlessly radical in 1962. By April 1964 Bishop was the last 'front-line' Methodist missionary in Upper Burma and the last European of any sort in Monywa. The book pulls together the themes of conflict, politics and proselytisation in to a fascinating study of great breadth.

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executions took place. He had bouts of fever, and an officious High-Church District Commissioner tried to fob him off with a site out of town. He held out and acquired 4 1\2 acres in the town centre for the bargain price of 400 rupees. 33 It provided space enough to build a mission house, church and at least one school. Bestall was a chip off the Winston block and it was not long before the Missionary Committee detected the tell-tale warning signs. Bestall slipped into the role of ‘wheeler and dealer’ on the edge of empire. It was the

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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became the Methodists’ unofficial wartime headquarters, just as U Po Tun was their unofficial leader. 16 Wesley Church Mandalay had been gutted during the bombing raids of April 1942 and the Japanese requisitioned the Mission House and the Girls High School soon afterwards. The Methodists reopened a small school in Mahazayabon and they held weekly services in Saya Klaipo’s house. 17 The regular Burmese congregation was augmented from time to time by an eclectic mixture of Buddhists, ‘Burmese princes’ and

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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by 300 per cent since 1939 and rice cost ten times more than before the war. The going rate for servants was Rs 300 per month (Rs 600 for a married man), while missionaries’ salaries had remained the same. The mission houses were dilapidated, unsanitary and riddled with white ants. It was rumoured that forty new Baptist missionaries were on their way to Burma, that their cost-of-living allowances had been increased by 75 per cent and that ABM was going to pay their income-tax bills. Life seemed very unfair. The

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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Pe (the pompous Deputy Mayor of Kalaw) was a Privy Councillor, and a shifty nightdurwan (night-watchman) from the Mandalay Mission House had collaborated with Japanese officers in the Silver Grill Café. 5 Only welfare workers were being issued with civilian travel permits, so Firth applied to become a Red Cross Assistant. He was turned down, but assumed the bogus title of ‘Superintending Methodist Chaplain for Burma’ which did the trick. 6 At 10.30 p.m. on 4 December he boarded a train bound for Mandalay. The

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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in the most unbroken harmony; humility, peace, and love reign there in a higher degree than the writer ever remembers to have witnessed elsewhere.’ 95 On 14 August 1863, Christian Gotthilf Weigle stood before the door of the Basel mission house and would train there for four years before departing for India on 3 October 1867. 96 Samuel Hebich also spent time in the mission house in Basel, having

in The Germans in India

Kyaukse Mission House housed the Chinese Authority. 31 Pakokku High School building had become a hospital. 32 Hawtin had left to join the Burma Army leaving his deputy, Mr Devar, in charge. 33 Acheson was helping in the Evacuation Department when he discovered that private evacuations were to end in February 1942. All evacuation plans would have to go through the District Commissioner for Monywa. Work on the Kalewa-Tamu Road had been completed and evacuations were planned to commence from 1 March. 34 Chapman

in Conflict, politics and proselytism
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established in these missionary stations not only in India but also in other locations. In fact, in many cases the missionaries lived in the mission house, which dominated the stations established by missionaries of all denominations throughout the world. Within the individual rooms the Europeans tried to recreate an ordered existence, separate from that of the indigenous population, in which the wife played a central

in The Germans in India

children. This was carried out either on the veranda of the mission house or in the homes of the local people, and it was seen as an extension of domestic work. 1 Attempts by single women to gain support from the missionary societies to be sent as missionaries were in almost all cases blocked. 2 This situation changed in the second half of the nineteenth century as women began to assert the central role of

in Missionaries and their medicine

‘curios’ at the Mission House in 1897, which advertised the collection and explained its rationale.88 Mary Tooth (1777–1843), who lived with Mary Fletcher from the mid-­1790s, was until her death guardian of the reliquary that comprised the Madeley vicarage, church, and churchyard. Benjamin Gregory recorded that on his visit she ‘seemed proud to show me all the Fletcheriana: the lanthorn which he used in his night-­visits to the sick, a curious piece of Continental mechanism, etc’.89 It was the holiness of the Fletchers that drew the revivalist preacher and founder of

in Making and remaking saints in nineteenth-century Britain