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Stephenson, John
c. 1749-1819; e.m. 1788

Irish itinerant, sent as the first WM missionary to Bermuda in 1799. His reception by the governor and other leading citizens was cool because of his Irish background and his association with John Wesley's opposition to slavery. Despite treading warily, his faithfulness and humanitarian concern for the blacks drove him to defy new legislation passed early in 1800 to prohibit nonconformist preaching. He was convicted and served a six-month sentence, during which he is said to have preached to his black supporters through his prison window. He returned to Ireland on his release, but his health precluded his returning to circuit work. He died at Killesandra in 1819.

Sources

  • G.G. Findlay and W.W. Holdsworth, The History of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (1921-1924), vol. 2, pp.240-45

Entry written by: NWT
Category: Person

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