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Posnett, Charles Walker, K-i-H
1870-1950; e.m. 1895

WM missionary to India, was born in Sheffield on 7 December 1870. The son of Robert Posnett (1831-1908; e.m. 1855), grandson of Leonard Posnett (e.m. 1810; died 1850) and nephew of Joseph Posnett (see under Leicester), he was educated at Kingswood School and Richmond College. He served from 1896 to 1940 among the 'untouchables' of Hyderabad, showing deep compassion for the victims of famine and disease. His outstanding powers of leadership made the village of Medak the centre of a Mass Movement among Malas and Madigas. During his 44-year ministry in Medak the Christian community rose from 4,254 to 121,098. The mission included hospitals, schools and the great central church which he built in Medak itself and which became the CSI's largest cathedral. A gifted teacher, he established a training centre for student-evangelists, for whom he wrote 'Outlines of Biblical Characters'. Many outcastes were converted, but also a number of caste Hindus. He served as Chairman of the Provincial Synod in South India. He died at Bournemouth on 30 September 1950.

His sister Emilie Posnett K-i-H (1866-1966) trained at the London Hospital. With her close friend Sarah Harris (d.1955) she served as a medical missionary in Medak 1896-1939, becoming known to her Indian friends as Pedda Dorasani ('the great lady'). They campaigned vigorously against both social prejudice and appalling sanitary conditions. At the time of the mass movement in Hyderabad, working in close co-operation with Posnett, they organized the training of young Indian wives as Bible Women. Emilie died two days before her 100th birthday.

Posnett's son, Sir Richard Neil Posnett, OBE, CMG, KBE, born in India on 19 July 1919, was educated at Kingswood School and St. John's College, Cambridge. His distinguished career in the colonial service, including over twenty years in Uganda, was marked by his enthusiasm for decolonialisation. He died on 11 May 2009.

Sources

  • Methodist Recorder, 5 & 12 Oct 1950; 8 & 15 Dec 1966
  • F.C. Sackett, Posnett of Medak (1951)
  • Daily Telegraph, 21 May 2009

Entry written by: EMJ
Category: Person

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