Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revisiting "VENN"-ette

Reverend Henry Venn (1796-1873)

In the midst of my research on Sarah Forbes Bonetta, I’ve discovered a great treasure in the process: Reverend Henry Venn (1796-1873). Since I’m not quite ready to write about the African Princess, I decided to take a side jaunt and allow some other folks to speak for me about this revolutionary thinker. Credited with coining the term “indigenous church” and siring the man credited with creation of the Venn diagram, Reverend Henry Venn was a man ahead of his time in missionary thought. The following excerpts tell the tale of a dedicated, passionate, progressive missionary in the heat of battle against Victorian views and the English class system.

“[Reverend Venn] wanted the missions in Africa to be run by the natives of the country they were in. he was also determined to bring education to young girls as well as boys, thinking that the well-being of girls would often determine the strength of the family. Eventually, he would have an important influence on Sarah’s life.” (Myers, p. 48)

Venn Diagram

It is no wonder that he often clashed with the Society. As Myers explained, “The missionaries often had a low regard for the Africans. They considered the native religions ‘primitive,’ and their writings often referred to blacks as savages.” Furthermore, “the white missionaries rarely considered the black girls [at their school] equals.” (Myers, 48-49, 56)

“Distinguished visitors to Sierra Leone were always shown the schools, including the Female Institution, as it was in these schools that Reverend Venn thought the future of the continent was being formed.” (Myers, p. 61)

Fourah Bay School (e. 1827), Sierra Leone

“[In 1862, the] Church Missionary Society was still involved in a controversy over who should lead the schools and the mission stations. The English women who taught at the Female Institution in Freetown often considered themselves culturally superior to the Africans they were teaching. The class system in England was part of the ideology the missionaries brought with them, and the English teachers did not want to work under the direction of the native peoples. Alienation between the church and the Africans often resulted. Reverend Venn was among the few who believed that African teachers and clergy should be the ones to overcome this barrier.” (Myers, p. 123)

“[Reverend Henry] Venn and Rufus Anderson of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions were the first to use the term ‘indigenous church’ in the mid-nineteenth century. They wrote about the necessity for creating churches in the missions field that were self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating (Venn used the term ‘self-extending’). Venn is often quoted as encouraging the ‘euthanasia of missions,’ which meant that missionaries were to be considered temporary workers and not permanent.” (Wikipedia/Henry-Venn)

A Snowy Morning

Snowy Morning-Blue Jay
I'm writing to you in the quiet stillness of a snowy morning. I will be writing a post for you today, but the power has already been flickering on and off a bit. Hopefully, it will remain strong. If not, I will post my thoughts for you tomorrow.

See you soon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011



This past week I’ve been juggling several different projects, feeling behind in every one of them. I have been so overwhelmed, some days I don’t know where to begin. Rather than grind myself into oblivion by pushing myself to get another well-researched post out to you this week, I decided to let up on myself and take this opportunity to share what has been going on in my world.

First, we are moving out of state in less than four weeks! Whenever I say that, I want to go hide in a corner. That alone is sufficient to keep a mom busy full time. My list of things to do seems to be growing rather than shrinking, though I received some great strategy tips from a friend last night. This past week it feels like I’ve spent more time spinning my wheels than actually making progress. Yesterday, I wrote in my journal all the things pressing on me. Though I risk single-handedly raising your blood pressure, I’m going to use this space to sort it all out.

House Hunting

I am knee-deep in research, trying to find us a place to live. It is a tricky thing, as most people are looking to fill their rentals by March first. Since we are not moving until March 12th, sometimes it seems like we’re still a little premature. On the other hand, without knowing where we’re going to live, it’s hard to be confident that we will actually be able to move on March 12th. It’s a fine balancing act, for sure.

I did breathe a sigh of relief yesterday when I found out we will get a decent tax return, which will mitigate the costs and transition time involved in moving. Phew! However, this will only provide a small cushion, which leads to another thing on my list…finding paid freelance work. I love writing my blogs, but they don’t pay right now, so I’ve been looking for writing/editing gigs. I’ve got a solid company to write for, but I’ve been stuck in the goo of writer’s block again. Yep, I know…it’s fear!! It’s all fear!!


I’m happy to report that the block seemed to lift yesterday when I decided I was going to keep my focus very narrow for right now. The problem was that they told me I could write about anything I wanted. I thought that if I wrote about different topics, things I know more about than jewelry and queens, it would be faster and easier.

Unfortunately, I am me…I can’t just write off the top of my head without verifying what I’ve written. The freedom was killing me! So yesterday I decided to stick to what I’m researching now…gems, jewelry, and queens. Since I’m already building a significant database of research about what I’ve been blogging about, I’ll save myself a ton of time by sticking with that.
So that leaves the kids and the packing. The kids have been left to their own devices for weeks now. I have been so consumed by finding work, making these huge decisions, finding us a place to live, packing, and writing (when I’m not stuck in the muck)…poor little things. We did go for a walk together yesterday, but it was cut short by rain and the fact that I didn’t take a ton of time beforehand to be sure we were dressed appropriately for the weather.

It was still fun to get out and do something where I could concentrate my full attention on them for a bit. All I really have energy for these days is reading books to them. My kinesthetic son wants me to play with him and do science experiments. I feel like such a bad mom saying no. He has so many amazing ideas, and I hate to squelch any of them. As much as possible, I’ve been encouraging him to work on those things on his own. It’s not enough for him, but it's all I have to offer. I’m glad we’re going to be on the other side of this very soon!

Anyway, thanks for reading today. Send prayers and thoughts of peace my way in the coming weeks. I will continue to post weekly until the computer gets packed up.

Until next week, I wish you peace and joy!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I'm traveling, but will be getting back to posting Thursday or Friday this week. Hope you're having a great time with whatever it is you're doing to fill your time!

Mercy, mercy! I always overestimate my abilities and underestimate the challenges of transition. I will be posting again next week! Looking forward to getting back into my groove after a nice extended weekend away!