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Sunday, 29 December 2013

William Carey

In 1792 a Baptist pastor, William Carey (1761-1834), co-founded the Baptist Missionary Society at a house in Lower Street Kettering.

Carey had for many years had an interest in worldwide mission and his avocation of the sending of missionaries to convert the heathen was unusual in an age when much of the church believed that missions had died with the apostles. His interest in mission once led him to make an inventory naming every place in the world and its religion. From that he calculated there were 731 million people in the world, of which 421 million were pagans.

Carey and his family together with another minister, John Thomas, were chosen in 1793 as the first Baptist missionaries to India.

Carey achieved much in India, he founded mission schools, conceived the idea for a college to train native church leaders and campaigned against widow burning, infanticide and assisted suicide. In addition he developed a vast library system, printed the first Indian language newspaper, and introduced the idea of saving banks.

A gifted linguist, Carey translated the entire Bible into the major Indian languages and from 1801-30 he was the Professor of Oriental languages at Fort William College, Calcutta.

Carey is considered to be a pioneer of the modern missionary movement and laid the foundation for many succeeding missionaries in India. A legacy of his trailblazing work, is that by the end of the nineteenth century there were over half a million native Indian Protestants.

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