Ecumenical Spirit among Christian Missionaries in India

The Pioneer Missionary ‘Rev. John Christian Frederick Heyer:

The activities of the American Evangelical Lutheran Missionary Society took foundation at the interest of Mr. Henry Stokes, Esq., the Magistrate-Collector of the Guntur district who had expressed his enthusiasm to secure a resident missionary for Guntur from the Church Missionary Society. The Society had advised Mr. Henry Stokes to persuade Rev. Heyer of the General Council of the Pennsylvania Ministerium to be stationed at Guntur and the Collector formally placed Rev. Heyer at the Anglo-vernacular school in 1842.  This initiative may be termed as a first example of perfect ecumenism in the Missions history of India.  Rev. Heyer's method of gospel preaching was different from that of his contemporary missionary Rev. Noble of the CMS Mission (but not different from that of the CMS Mission itself) at Masulipatnam. For instance, at the beginning of his preaching services he began preaching to the poor and helpless around him where he taught hymns, gospel verses, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. Rev. Heyer was a pioneer missionary who can be considered as the founder of the Guntur Mission of the American Evangelical Lutheran Missionary Society on July 31st 1842. For a year, he had conducted worship services for the English officials and European residents of the East India Company.

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