Born in Slavery: The Story of Methodism in Anguilla and Its Influence in the Caribbean

Born in Slavery: The Story of Methodism in Anguilla and Its Influence in the Caribbean

Born in Slavery: The Story of Methodism in Anguilla and Its Influence in the Caribbean

Born in Slavery: The Story of Methodism in Anguilla and Its Influence in the Caribbean

Synopsis

"Methodism in Anguilla was born in slavery. Yet, by 1760, slaves were being set free in Antigua, some 80 years before emancipation became law. It was from Antigua and the sister islands that they carried their revolutionary message of salvation and justice. This book has been written to bear witness to some 250 years of service and ministry and to the significant influence through the Caribbean of Anguilla, the most northerly of the Leeward Islands."

Excerpt

Methodism in Anguilla and the Caribbean was born in slavery.

The slaves were of different hues, mostly brought from the diseaseridden West African countries, while others were brought in densely overcrowded wooden sloops from the plantation States of Georgia, the Carolinas and their direct neighbours to an uncertain future in the British controlled islands of the Caribbean.

By 1760 slaves were being set free in Antigua after Nathaniel Gilbert, an island landlord, politician and slave owner, was redeemed during a visit to London where he invited John Wesley to preach at his home. This was some 80 years before emancipation became law. It was from Antigua and the sister islands that the freed slaves, enriched by salvation, freedom and liberty, sailed through this pearl-strung group of sun-kissed islands with their revolutionary message of salvation and justice, encountering strong and at times violent opposition from a scared English minority who rightly saw these preachers as a severe threat to their comfortable life-style.

Over the next several years some colonial governors attempted the ‘divide and rule’ method of governing as a way of keeping the lid on the spiritual revolution that was taking shape in their midst. But that was proved to be a short-lived, ill-thought, non-workable method of governing and enabled the undaunted freed slaves to establish meeting places on the islands as centres for worship and song. This was to pave the way for schools as a source of learning and awareness building and which, when coupled with the message of the redeeming love and social justice, was dynamite in the Caribbean.

The story that follows has been written by the sons of those freed slaves and combined represents some 250 years of witness and service in the islands of the Caribbean; in Belize in Central America and Guyana on the South American mainland. Some repetition is necessary to enable each chapter tell its own story.

Their story is unique. From the small most northerly Leeward island . . .

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