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MHSI Spring Lecture – Three Methodist ex-slaves in nineteenth-century Ireland


7:30 pm - 8:45 pm

Event Type

The rapid growth of Methodism in America ensured that slaveholders were well-represented in its congregations. So too were the victims of slavery. This lecture explores the experience of three Methodist escaped slaves who made their way to Ireland.

Nigerian-born John Jea, enslaved by Dutch farmers in New York. He was a writer of hymns in which slavery illuminates redemption. He was a sailor who landed at Limerick to begin a street-preaching ministry, before taking his Irish wife to minister in the slave-trading ports of England.

Frederick Douglass, an ex-slave and local preacher, whose searing exposure of his Methodist owners’ cruelty caused such consternation in Wesley Chapel Cork, that the leaders warned their counterparts in Belfast to deny him the pulpit.

Amanda Smith, escaped slave who found her call to preach rebuffed on grounds of gender. Drawn to Dublin by one faithful supporter, her repeated tours of Irish churches helped to sustain her missionary work in Africa.

Lecturer – Chris Skillen He is the minister of Larne, Craigyhill and Carnlough Methodist Societies. He previously taught religious studies at Shimna Integrated College, Newcastle, and Russian studies at Queen’s University Belfast.






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