'1786-1986 Celebrate Together'

Scope and Content

Principally autobiographical accounts made by missionary personnel of their experiences working overseas for the Methodist Missionary Society and the Methodist Church Overseas Division in their missions in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. Most of the accounts were composed in 1986.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1986 the Methodist Church, through the auspices of its Overseas Division, celebrated 200 years of mission under the title '1786-1986 Celebrate Together'. Whilst Methodist missionary societies themselves did not come to be formed until some 30 years later the first impetus of the Methodist Church to engage in overseas missions began with the Methodist Conference in Bristol in 1786. Here it was agreed that Thomas Coke, with three other ministers, should depart for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia [Canada] and Antigua where Methodist societies had already been established. However, poor weather conditions at sea forced their ship off course to Nova Scotia and they were compelled to make land in Antigua. Here they found that the Methodist societies both in Antigua and the surrounding islands were so flourishing that Coke decided all three ministers should remain there rather than any going to Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, and William Warrener was appointed as the first British Methodist missionary to Antigua.

Throughout 1986 the Methodist Church - and particularly the Overseas Division under the leadership of its general secretary the Rev Dr Albert W Mosley - publicised the bi-centenary commemoration with events, merchandise, publications and religious services. Of particular note was the publishing of Cyril Davey's biography of Thomas Coke (entitled 'Mad about Mission'), a specifically composed piece of music by David R Hill entitled 'Crows and Methodists', a three day 'International Celebration of Mission' over a weekend in June at Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire, and the collecting and recording of the experiences of serving and retired missionary workers. The latter forms the basis of the collection here.

Further Reading:

MCOD, Celebrate together 1786-1986 [1986];

MCOD, International Celebration of Mission, 20-22 June 1986, Trentham Gardens (1986);

MCOD, 'Now' - editions for 1986.


Weeded at Methodist Church House by Rev Dr Albert W Mosley and Rev John R Pritchard. With some additional biographical material from other sources added by them into the pre-existing structure which is loosley modelled on Methodist mission areas. Contemporary alphabetical indicies were created by current (2011) World Church Relationships staff for each area and these indicate entries which do not form part of the original sequence. Material repackaged into archival folders, boxes, etc, at SOAS as part of cataloguing process.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Transferred from Methodist Church House by Mike King, Team Leader, World Church Relationships, July 2011.

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Copyright held by Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes.