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The Bishop of the Falklands

By the Rev. C. Stirling

From Mission Life, Vol. III (1872), page 444.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2006

VERY interesting letters have been received from the Bishop of the Falklands, who was conveyed in H.M.S. "Cracker" from Monte Video to Stanley (in the Falkland Islands), the headquarters of his diocese, and landed early in January last, under a salute of seven guns. His reception by the Governor and inhabitants generally was most gratifying. Next day, at a special service, he was formally installed as Bishop, and proceeded in due course to the consecration of the cemetery there.

After a short visit to Keppel Island, the Bishop embarked in the "Allen Gardiner" Mission ship for the scene of his former arduous and perilous labours in Tierra del Fuego. He now writes, under date--

"FALKLAND ISLANDS, on Board the 'A. G.', March 23, 1872.

"We have just returned from Tierra del Fuego, and can report favourably of our work there. The Bridges and Lewises were well, and exerting a wholesome influence on the Indian population. Thirty-six men, women, and children were baptized, and seven couples married as Christians. My little hut is transformed into a school-church, and our congregations in it were crammed to excess during my stay, when the native services took place. A spreading influence for good is manifest, and the future appears to me full of hope for these Southern Indian tribes. It is something that among themselves, and spontaneously, some of the natives have begun to meet for prayer and singing in their own dwellings. On one occasion I was present, and the prayers offered up were most reverent in tone, and earnest, simple, heart utterances; confession of sin, and petitions for Divine aid, mingling with intercessions for others, many mentioned by name. It seemed to me the most interesting prayer-meeting I had ever been present at. My only share in the proceedings was the giving of the Benediction.

"The infant settlement of Ooshuwya has an outward look of beneficence. Stirling House, with its gardens attached, and in splendid order; the tiny church, with its pretty belfry and tastefully-formed cross; the rough but serviceable native-built house, the home of six families; an extensive plot of land, five a a-half acres, devoted to gardens for the natives, and admirably fenced in; a field of two and a half acres in the rear of the houses ('The Parson's Field,' Mr. Bridges calls it), with a cow-house ready for future imports; certain wigwams, of a superior class, dotted here and there in the neighbourhood of the more substantial dwellings, give an appearance of stability, and a homely, hopeful tone to the Christian settlement. Let us hope and strive to enlarge and establish more and more, every year, the Lord's work in Tierra del Fuego."

Years of patient toil and waiting are now beginning to yield a blessed result. My God graciously continue to own the labours of His servants, and increasingly prosper the efforts of the South American Missionary Society!

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