"An excitement amongst the people": Richard Burpe, Maritime Baptists, and Foreign Missions, 1810-1853.
Bachelor of Arts
History & Classics
In the early 1820's the Maritime Baptists, a Protestant denomination of like-minded believers from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, began an obsessive interest in foreign missions. So strong was this interest that by 1845 they had sent out their own foreign missionary, Richard Burpe. In order to send him, the denomination required leadership, financial support, and a strong centralized denominational framework. This thesis will examine what sparked the interest in foreign missions, the campaign to send and support Burpe, as well as the significance of the foreign mission itself to the community. Richard Burpe's departure represented more than a desire to Christianize foreign peoples; it signified a campaign to show the organizational, financial, institutional, and leadership maturity of Maritime Baptists. When Burpe's mission ultimately failed due to the misguidance from his own mission board, and his contraction of pulmonary disease, Maritime Baptists rejected the symbolic significance of the mission. By reducing their support for strong, centralized denominational efforts, they temporarily set aside the course of religious institutionalization.
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