The development of methodism in Natal with particular reference to the Ìndian mission'.
Seethal, Vivian Bennedict.
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This study on the development of Methodism in Natal with particular reference to the Indian mission records the most significant events in the history of the mission from its inception in 1862 until its dissolution as the 'Indian Mission' in 1972. This study indicates that the growth in the initial period was substantial and this must be attributed to Revd Ralph Stott and his son Revd Simon Horner Stott who were appointed by the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society to pioneer the mission. Equally significant is the role played by Indian pioneers who in no small way aided the development and consolidated the Indian Mission. Among them was Mr John Choonoo, a catechist who having served with the Church Missionary Society for some fifteen years in Mauritius came to Natal in 1881. Revd Theophiluis Subrahmanyam, a Brahmin converted to Christianity came from Madras, India and served the mission between 1908-1911. Mr John Thomas, who later became an ordained Methodist minister, arrived in Natal in 1883 and pioneered the Indian mission in Pietermaritzburg. In addition the mission was fortunate in having a dedicated group of lay Indian members who rendered unstinting service to the mission. The period that followed the pioneering phase reveals that once a worshipping community had been established, numerical growth became less important and concentration shifted to nurturing new converts. In the first half of this century the emphasis of the Indian Mission was on the planting of the various churches while in the second half development took place in newly proclaimed. Indian townships created through the implementation of the Group Areas Act. This study reveals that the Indian Mission pioneered Indian education in Natal and was responsible for the erection of some sixteen schools. In addition the churches of the Indian mission led in creating non-racial circuits and thus proved that such circuits can function effectively. The Indian mission played a key role in breaking down racial barriers and eliminating racial prejudices in this way.