Status: Complete

preacher in various parts of England until he was invited to the West Orchard Chapel at Coventry in 1783, being fully recognised in 1784. It was no wonder then, that Burder felt that anyone could become a preacher and could be suitable as a missionary. He also initiated Sunday schools at Coventry in 1785, a movement which no doubt vastly impressed Rowland Hassall who was recruited to start the Sunday school there and began to do some lay preaching using the Village Sermons written by Burder for use by field preachers whose religious training and theology was limited. It was probably on one of those lay preaching trips that Hassall was stoned by the villagers at Welston as was commented on by his son, Thomas Hassall, years later when Thomas visited the district. Burder was a prominent member of the London Missionary Society and did much to encourage the society to establish foreign missions and it is believed that the first money "ever contributed to the London Missionary Society was raied at a meeting held in the vestry of West Orchard Chapel." In 1803 Burder moved from Coventry because he no longer enjoyed being there "for the obstinate, wicked notions and behaviour of the people in two late Elections made me pretty much dislike my situation ..." He became pastor of the Fetter Lane Congregational Church in London and became secretary of London Missionary Society of which he became life director in 1827. Later he became one of the founders of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
The Directors of the London Missionary Society felt the need to select suitable people for their mission to the South Seas. Because it was felt that these people should not only instruct the islanders in religious matters but that they should also teach them suitable craft skills, the Directors deliberately chose pious artisants with very little religious training. These missionaries have been described as "a Set of Tinkers," "selected from the dregs of the people" who look like "humble petitioners at a gentleman's door, and it is easy to observe that they are men of no education." Those selected for the first venture were quite unfamiliar with the task ahead of them, were extremely young and on the whole not very literate. The few ordained men among them were not regarded as having any special control over the others, in fact on the voyage one of the ordained men, Reverend John Jefferson, was actually excommunicated on board the Duff for expressing Arminian opinions and his accuser was one of the artisan missionaries. Most of the unordained missionaries had had some experience as lay preachers or Sunday School teachers and their wives had also had some similar kinds of experience.
In 1796 Burder recommended that Hassall should be accepted by the Society to become an artisan missionary in Tahiti and described him as a "'stout young man' with a 'rather bold' disposition who could read and write tolerably well but was 'rather illiterate than otherwise'". Burder was to continue his contact with Hassall and other missionaries by correspondence after they had moved to the Pacific and later to Australia, and was significant as mentor and advisor. Hassall was accepted as a carpenter, a curious change from his early occupation as silk weaver,

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page