Monthly Archives: July 2013

Lessons from Antigua

This is more from the same story of the ministry of the Moravians

ANTIGUA, 1756.—The case of Antigua offers a striking contrast. During the first fourteen years the cause in Antigua seemed hopeless. Samuel Isles, the first missionary, founded only one station, St. John’s, and baptized only fourteen converts; and judging by his own vivid reports, the chief reason seems to have been, not that his colleagues pursued wrong methods, but that the Antigua slaves were abnormally depraved. Day after day, he tells us, they indulged in drunken orgies; day after day they stabbed and poisoned each other; and once a week, on Monday morning, the planters had culprits to hang. And then came a sudden dramatic change.

At first the work didn’t go well but eventually God moved and the work began to flourish. Read on to see what some of the men that were used did.

For twenty-two years (1769–91) the work in Antigua was under the efficient management of Peter Braun, known to the negroes as “Massa Brown.” During this man’s ministry two more flourishing stations, Bailey Hill (1774) and Gracehill (1782) were founded, and the total number of converts rose to over seven thousand. His success may be attributed to two causes. The first was financial. According to his own explicit statement, Braun and his colleagues had still to earn their own living;† on the other hand, they received parcels from their Moravian friends in North America; and the consequence of this arrangement was that, while the missionaries in Jamaica were too pre-occupied with business, those in Antigua had more time for religious work.

Maybe the preaching business man isn’t good enough at either to be either.

The other cause was Braun’s personal character.

The “BE” level comes through again. He was a man of great character. He was something that he could live out.

According to one of his successors, Bennett Harvey, Braun acquired his influence over the negroes, not merely by his eloquence as a preacher, but by his wonderful tact and good nature. He visited them, says Harvey, in their huts, chatted with them in the fields, and ate with them out of their calabashes.

These are the things that you should be doing in an incarnational ministry. WE love them. We visit them. We eat with them. WE talk with them.

Hutton, J. E. (1922). A History of Moravian Missions (pp. 53–54). London: Moravian Publication Office.