Early Figures in Haitian Methodism

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One is likely when recalling the countless obstacles overcome by the pioneers of Haitian Methodism to think of Toussaint L’Ouverture’s iconic proverb, “To make an omelet one must first break the eggs.” Shells of tradition are as impervious as the twenty feet thick walls of Christophe’s “nest egg of liberty,” his citadel. One can appreciate what Evariste and Charles Pressoir, two youthful Wesleyan converts, must have encountered in efforts to shatter what to their minds was all-encompassing bigotry. They had volunteered in 1818 to succeed two retiring Wesleyan missionaries, John Brown and James Catts, whom President Boyer had advised to abandon their Haitian labors. The English church men had been invited to Port-au-Prince by Boyer’s predecessor, Petion, courageous in his design for religious tolerance and expansion. The Wesleyan missionaries had first preached in Port-au-Prince in Before departing for London two years later they were administering sacrament to a society of forty, had built a small school and were planning the erection of a church. But the passing that year of the President, Petion closed the immediate prospect of advancement. It has been believed by some that Petion’s liberal regard for Protestant and Catholic alike had bred in the older church the creedal animosity soon to break forth.

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