The origin and growth of Newfoundland Methodism, 1765-1855

Parsons, Jacob (1964) The origin and growth of Newfoundland Methodism, 1765-1855. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Few people realize the importance and full effects of the Methodist movement which began in the mid-eighteenth century. It is true that it gave rise to a new religious denomination but it was much more than that. It meant new hopes and new values as well as moral and spiritual buoyancy for its many followers. Nowhere was there a greater need for this than on the island of Newfoundland. -- Methodism v/as brought to the new world in the 1760's by a group of Irish immigrants who settled in Eastern North America. It was introduced in Newfoundland in 1765 by Lawrence Coughlan, v/ho established the movement in Conception Bay. Although there was a dearth of religion in the island, the movement made very little headway at first. In addition to facing serious economic problems and the opposition of the Church of England, Newfoundland Methodism lacked the guidance and assistance of either the British or American Connexions during its early years. It was not until 1815 that the Newfoundland mission showed signs of organization and independence. However, with the formation of the Newfoundland District in 1815, and a general improvement in the island's economy, the movement became more progressive. It soon developed the missionary spirit of English Methodism and began to extend its religious services to all isolated areas. By 1845 Methodism had been extended to the main inhabited areas of the island and had been making a substantial contribution toward the improvement of the island's social and moral structure. In spite of the financial difficulties that beset the movement, the Methodists succeeded in establishing an educational system that became an effective weapon against illiteracy in the island. Although the Methodists continued to extend their services to the inhabitants, they were continually under the care and support of the Missionary Society in England. This was a relationship that the Newfoundland Methodists tried desperately to retain. However, the parent society was not in a position to continue to finance the Newfoundland mission, and in 1855 it insisted that the mission become a part of the new Connexion of Eastern British America. This was Newfoundland's first permanent link with the mainland of North America, and subsequent events have shown that it was the beginning of a new era for Newfoundland Methodism.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7382
Item ID: 7382
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 158-166.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1964
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Methodism--History;

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