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Book source: Skrekiboekoe, Chris de Beet (red.), Univ of Utrecht, 1995. ISBN 90-393-0567-6

Subject: [Religion,History] Missionary Work of Hernhutters

Article:

The first "Unitas Fratrum" missionaries arrived in 1735 from Germany in Suriname. They concentrated at first their missionary work among the Amer-Indians. Some Amer-Indians lived in 1760 near Saron on the lower Saramacca River within the missionary post.

The missionary post was also frequented by Maroons from the Upper Saramacca River. One day there was a confrontation between the Amer-Indians and Maroons and the missionary post was burnt to the ground and the post was abandoned.

After the peace-treaty of 1762, Governor General Crommelin convinced three missionaries to work near the head waters of the Gran Rio. In 1765, the missionaries settled near the Senthea Creek in Granman Abini's village. The Moravian brothers were received with mixed feelings as in some they were welcome while in other they were mistrusted by the local religious leaders. There were two reasons for the Saramccas to welcome the Moravian brothers. One was to gain access to the Dutch colonial political power structure and two to learn how to write and read.

The Moravian church was active among the Saramaccas from 1765 to 1813. They were not well received by the Matawai tribe. The Moravian misionaries abandoned in 1813 their work among the Saramaccas because of the un-healthy climate and the poor conversion results. In 1840, missionary work was resumed by Rasmus Schmidt. He established a missionary post at Ginje Bambey where he worked until his death in 1845. The Christian community was moved in 1847 to Gansee. Then in 1851 the Moravian church began their missionary work among the Ndjukas near Koffiekamp on the Sara Creek. Around 1830 the Moravian Church had also received permission to work among the plantation slaves.

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