Project Canterbury

Fifty Years in Western Africa
Being a Record of the Work of the West Indian Church on the Banks of the Rio Pongo

By A.H. Barrow, M.A.
Vicar of Billinghurst, Sussex

London: SPCK, 1900.

Chapter XX.

The Bishop of Jamaica on the Mission--the Bishop of Sierra Leone's tour in the West Indies--Girls' boarding school--Progress at Kambia--The Bishop of Jamaica's "Memorandum"--Death of the Bishop of Antigua.

IN the early part of 1895 the Bishop of f Jamaica, in his address to his Provincial Synod, reviewed the work of the Mission, and sketched out its present circumstances and future prospects, alluding in detail to the discussions which had taken place at the late Conference he attended in London. He then alluded to a proposed visit of the Bishop of Sierra Leone to the West Indies in the following weighty words:--

"In connection with this subject I am justified in mentioning to you, what has to some extent come to your knowledge already, that the Bishop of Sierra Leone has, partly through his connection with the Rio Pongo Mission and in other ways, been led to the conclusion that an effort ought to be made to ascertain how far the West Indian Church can supply men needed for the missions of the Church in Western Africa generally. If it is in the order of God's Providence that this should come about, I believe the call will evoke the necessary enthusiasm, and the necessary devotion. I am rather inclined to think that the West Indian Church generally is suffering for want of some demand of this kind on its self-sacrifice. I do not underrate the value of lives of quiet, self-sacrificing devotion, which are being lived in our own times and under our own observation, and which compare not unfavourably with what is shown in the history of the Church even in bygone days of great effort and success. But I am thinking of heroic demands for complete and absolute self-surrender, for a zeal that places the whole life and the whole career on the altar of God, and that leads men to go forth as pioneers of Christianity and civilization into the cheerless and dark places of the earth, counting not their lives dear unto them."

The Bishop of Sierra Leone arrived in Barbados in the following June, and made his promised visit of inquiry. From Barbados he went on to the Leeward Islands and thence to Jamaica, returning home, viĆ¢ Bermuda and New York. Bishops, clergy, and laity alike gave him a hearty welcome, and co operated most cordially with him in the objects he had in view.

A most interesting account of his tour was published by the Bishop as soon as he returned to England, under the title of "The African in the West Indies." Shortly after this, the primate of the West Indian Church issued a "Memorandum" respecting the Mission, in which he dealt with its constitution and organization. This memorandum was carefully considered by the committee at home; also by the board in Barbados, and by the Bishop and missionaries in Conference in the Rio Pongo, and continued to engage their deliberations during the year.

Mainly through the untiring efforts of Miss Cole, secretary of the Clifton branch, whose zeal and self denying labours in behalf of this Mission must here be recorded with the deepest thankfulness, a girls' boarding-school was now opened at the Isles de Los. Such au institution was the natural sequel to the similar one for boys, which proved so successful an undertaking.

The Rev. C. Farquhar says, on November 11th:--

"Your latest heart's wish was attained on 6th inst., when the girls' boarding-school was formally and solemnly opened. There was Choral Litany at the school chapel, Cassa, and a special office at the school house itself and Miss Alice McEwen and Mrs. Duport are fully installed. The number at starting was small, but we do not despise the day of small things, and we have to face the fact that our people will find it harder to give up their girls for Christian training than the boys, but the cause being God's we cannot doubt that He will remove all our difficulties in His own good time. Mr. McEwen has made the place look well and cheerful."

An irreparable loss soon fell upon the English Committee, and indeed upon the whole Mission, before the year was closed. The venerable Bishop of Antigua, Dr. William Walrond Jackson, one of the original promoters of the Mission, and from its commencement its most loyal and loving supporter, was called to his rest. At the same time, the fact that he was spared so long and took such an unfailing interest in all that concerned the Mission up to the last, called forth the gratitude of all who had the privilege of being associated with him. The Bishop was born on January 9, x8ir, and died November 25, 1895.

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