Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

are 2,680 other mission workers, 52,058 Church members; 84,113 children and young people having
instruction in the schools. But these figures would give a false idea of the progress of the work if

compared with the statistics of 1837; for then our missions included vast regions that have now

their own Conferences. When the Queen ascended the throne Fiji was a nation of cannibals. Two years

before her accession our Missionary Society commenced operations in those islands. John Hunt laboured

with apostolic zeal, and died breathing the prayer, "God, for Christ's sake, bless Fiji, save Fiji." The

prayer is already answered. All these islands have been won for Christ, and are trophies of Wesleyan

missionary toil. There are 3,100 native preachers under the care of nine white missionaries; 1,322

chapels, 43,339 members and catechumens, and more than 42,000 scholars. Fiji has become almost a

nation of Methodists. But it were vain to look for traces of this vast achievement in the "Minutes of

Conference" of 1896; for a special feature of our missionary policy is the establishment of affiliated

Conferences, which in course of time become self-supporting. In 1883 all the branches of the Canadian

Methodists united to form one Canadian Conference. The first French Conference met in 1852. In 1855

the Conference of Eastern British America was formed. The same year the first Australian Conference

met, and took charge of the Missions in Fiji, the Friendly Isles, and New Zealand. The first South African

Conference met in 1882, and the two West Indian Conferences in 1884. Although more or less

independent of the mother Conference, they still retain the characteristics of Methodism. A distinct

branch of Mission work, known as the Women's Auxiliary, has been established, and sends forth ladies

to engage in educational, zenana, and medical work. They are doing good service in India, China, and

other parts of the world. In 1896 they expended more than L10,000.

The total expenditure last year (1896) was L124,700, incurred by our own Mission work and by grants to
the affiliated Conferences. It is satisfactory to note that in the districts helped, including those covered by

these Conferences, an additional L185,000 was raised. We have magnificent opportunities; and with full

consecration of our people's wealth there would be glorious successes in the future. Foreign Missions

have been the chief honour of Methodism, and it is to be hoped the same affection for them will be

maintained; for wherever Methodism is found throughout the world, it is the result of mission work.

Meanwhile there has been no sacrificing of home interests. Never were greater efforts made by
Methodism for the evangelisation of the masses in Great Britain. The Home Mission Fund, first instituted

in 1756, was remodelled in 1856. Its business is to assist the dependent circuits in maintaining the

administration of the gospel, to provide means for employing additional ministers, and to meet various

contingencies with which the circuits could not cope unassisted. Our needs as a Connexion demand such

a Contingent Fund. One-third of the amount raised by the Juvenile Home and Foreign Missionary

Association is devoted to Home Missions. The income, which in 1837 was less than L10.000, is now

more than L36,000; an increase witnessing to a spirit of aggression and enterprise in modern Methodism.

This fund provides for the support of the Connexional evangelists and district missionaries.

In the year 1882, under the head "Home Missions," there was a new and important departure, by the
appointment of the first "Connexional evangelists," of whom there are now four; they have already been

the means of great blessing throughout the country, showing that the old gospel, preached as in the old

days, is still mighty to awaken and convert.

Under the direction of the Home Mission Committee, commissioners visit certain districts, to give advice
and discover the best methods for improving the condition of Methodism where it appears to be low.

Special attention is given to the villages. The "Out-and-Out Band" subscribed for four Gospel Mission

 

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