committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

A HISTORY
OF THE
Negro Baptists of North Carolina

CHAPTER IV.
FOREIGN MISSIONS--THE HAYES & FLEMMING FOREIGN MISSION SOCIETY.

        The object of the Hayes & Flemming Foreign Mission Society was to aid in support of Rev. J. O. Hayes and Miss Lula C. Flemming, engaged in Foreign Mission work in Africa.

        Soon after these two consecrated servants graduated from Shaw University they went to their fields of labor. Brother Hayes felt called to go to Liberia West Africa; Sister Flemming to the Congo Free State. To give them direct support, although the Nation Baptist Foreign Mission Convention was in operation, this society was organized; and while its headquarters were in Raleigh, branch societies were organized and operated in different sections of the State.

        Much of the Foreign Mission spirit which afterward prevailed in North Carolina was the result of the Hayes & Flemming Society, with its branches, exerting an influence here and there.

        The work became so successfully organized until almost every week during the year a Foreign Mission contribution came into the main office. This was kept up until the Foreign Mission Convention of the United States adopted Rev. Hayes as their missionary. Until this time his entire support came through this society. And, too, in that dark period there was nothing like the method in sending Foreign Mission money as prevailed afterward.

        It was an inspiration to meet in a Hayes & Flemming Society meeting. Usually a program was provided; reports from the missionaries were read and sent broadcast, and everything to enlighten and inspire characterized these meetings. Hence the rapid growth which led to more extensive work in the Dark Continent. Hardly a Baptist meeting of any import was held in the State unless a place was provided for a missionary sermon. Dr. H. M. Tupper, President of Shaw University, was possibly the most active worker the society had, and no work of his life of usefulness appealed more closely to him than this work. As in all other work he undertook he spared neither time nor money to make the society go, and it went.

        Like some lovely flower which seems born to bloom and give its fragrance and pass away, the Hayes & Flemming Foreign Mission Society existed but for a short time, but not like the fragrance of the flower to die, it can not die, for through its influence, as we have already said, life was infused into the Baptist forces of the State, and to some extent on the country; its influence was and will be felt in the redemption of precious souls on the burning sands of heathendom.

        Such women as Miss Lula C. Flemming are seldom found. Whatever she undertook to do she did it fearlessly, and "with all her might." She soon went beyond human endurance. She not only undertook to administer to the souls of men, but she came back to Philadelphia, took a course in medicine and went back with more zeal and earnestness to administer to both soul and body. It was while contributing to the latter that she fell a victim to a disease from which she never rallied, although by a special Providence she was spared to reach her native land. Missions, the essence of Christianity, can not die. Although Miss Flemming was called to a merited rest, she adopted Rev. Tule, brought him to this country to be educated for the work of the ministry in Africa, and her mantle though worthily worn, fell on the shoulders of an energetic and faithful successor.

        With Rev. J. O. Hayes in the hands and under the direction of the Foreign Mission Convention, and with Miss Flemming transported to her place of final rest, there remained no longer a cause for the existence of the Hayes & Flemming Foreign Mission Society. Hence the organization united with the National Convention forces.

THE LOTT-CAREY BAPTIST HOME AND FOREIGN MISSION CONVENTION OF THE UNITED STATES.

        This Convention was organized in the city of Washington in 1897.

        In the National Convention, which met in the city of Boston a year previous to the organization of the Lott-Carey Convention, great dissatisfaction was expressed by many of the delegates on the ground that the Convention covered too much territory, and a great deal of money could be saved to the cause of Foreign Missions by the Convention organizing itself into districts, and each district hold its annual meetings and report through the regular organization. A committee was appointed and a report was submitted to the Convention, but was voted down. Cooperation with the Northern and Southern white Baptists was on trial in several of the States. The Convention not only showed hostility to the districting plan by an open vote in Convention, but its disapproval to the plan of cooperation. The delegation from North Carolina were a unit for the district plan and for cooperation. An informal meeting was called of the brethren in Boston, and while no definite action was taken it was evident that a new convention, whose policy should be cooperation and economy in Foreign Missions, would be formed. In the fall meeting of the North Carolina Convention in Charlotte, N. C., after careful consideration a committee was appointed to issue a call to other States to unite in the formation of a Foreign Mission Convention. Delegates from Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania and other Eastern States, met in the city of Washington and organized a convention, afterward named the Lott-Carey Home and Foreign Mission Convention of the United States.

        Dr. P. F. Morris, of Lynchburg, Va., President; Dr. W. M. Alexander, of Baltimore, Corresponding Secretary; Dr. A. W. Pegues, of Raleigh, N. C., Recording Secretary; Dr. C. S. Brown, of Winton, N. C., was elected President in the second annual meeting. With these men in the lead, and with the loyalty of the Conventions, associations and churches which had espoused the cause of the new convention it took on new life in the beginning.

        At first the Lott-Carey Convention met much opposition from the old Convention, and led to divisions in nearly all the States composing the new Convention; but through this rivalry the forces on either side were greatly strengthened and a much greater work was accomplished on the home and foreign field.

        Beginning with an annual collection of four hundred dollars, the Lott-Carey Convention soon grew to the collection of as many thousand dollars each year. The collections for the first six years were ten thousand dollars.

        Standing for cooperation as one of its principles, the plan was fairly tested in North Carolina and Virginia. Not only were the organizations in these two States enabled to do the usual amount of work but by far the greatest work in their history. Their reports for their State work were much better and their Foreign Mission collections were more.

        In the annual Convention held in Baltimore it was decided that the women should be organized into a separate organization, auxiliary to the regular Convention.

        The organization was formed and known as the Woman's Auxiliary Convention. The women proved at once their ability to raise money, and the first year they raised as much money as the entire Convention raised at its first session.

MISSIONARIES AND THEIR WORK.

        Rev. J. O. Hayes, who had labored in Africa for a number of years and at one time missionary under the supervision of the National Baptist Convention, accepted an appointment under the Lott-Carey Convention; Rev. John Tule, a native African, was also appointed. Rev. C. C. Boone and Mrs. C. C. Boone were afterward appointed.

        The labors of these missionaries were abundantly fruitful and successful. Rev. Tule, although laboring under the supervision of the Lott-Carey Convention but five years, having been removed by death, baptized three hundred native Africans. The death of Rev. Tule was quite a blow to the Foreign Mission cause, but in his death the Convention's life was by no means extinct. One of the converts of Rev. Tule was Mdodana. Soon after Mdodana was baptized he gave evidence of a call to the gospel ministry. He made known his call and a desire to prepare for his life work.

        Provision was made for Mdodana in one of the Home Mission schools at Selma, Alabama, and after three years of study Rev. Mdodana was prepared to take up the mantle laid down by Tule.

        After traveling through North Carolina and certain portions of Virginia Mdodana set sail for the field December 25, 1904.

        Mrs. C. C. Boone had but fairly begun her work among the heathen when she was called from labor to reward. Only eighteen months in the work; but they were months of arduous toil and care, and the accomplishments for so short a time were an inspiration to the husband still left to labor a little longer. The Missionary Union of Boston greatly facilitated the work of Rev. and Mrs. Boone. The Lott-Carey Convention, maintaining as one of its principles "cooperation with any and all Christian organizations for the advancement of the Kingdom," entered into cooperation with the Missionary Union of Boston on condition that the union should furnish "the base of operation" for its missionaries, while the salary and other expenses were to be met by the Convention. This was a great advantage to the Convention and to Rev. Boone, the first appointee under the plan. Full of zeal and faith in his ability to do the great work of soul saving, Rev. Boone proved himself a great power in the Foreign Missionary work. Many souls were brought to Christ, and a broad foundation was laid for future results.

        North Carolina, first in the organization, and having two of her sons in the foreign field, had a great incentive to the activity which characterized her relations to the Convention from the beginning. Rev. James O. Hayes, the veteran missionary, hailed from Sampson County, North Carolina. After graduating from Shaw University he gave his whole life work to "the land of his fathers." While much of his time was given to school work, he wrote his name high on the roll of the Christian missionaries. We have already said that the rivalry between the two Conventions caused both to do more than they would have done otherwise. The missionary force from the National Convention was largely increased, more money was raised for the foreign work and more care used in its appropriations.

        The first seven years, in summing up the results, the Corresponding Secretary showed that seventy per cent of all collections raised on the home field had been expended on the foreign field; that ten thousand dollars had been raised and seven hundred persons had been baptized as the direct results of the missionary work of the Lott-Carey Baptist Home and Foreign Mission Convention.

        The reversal of the National Convention after seven years proved the convincing influence of the Lott-Carey Convention.

        Cooperation as taught and practiced by the Lott-Carey Convention was called subordination by the parent body, but after six years the National Convention reversed itself and entered into cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention (white), to the exclusion of the Northern Baptists. After seven years moving over a vast territory they decided to organize a district convention, and in the same city, just as their brethren of the Lott-Carey Convention had done seven years prior. Thus the Lott-Carey Convention was fully vindicated.

        With the years the feeling between the two Conventions was better, and at their sixth annual session a commission was appointed by the Lott-Carey Convention to meet the National Convention, looking to some kind of peace terms. While little apparently was accomplished, it did much to modify the feelings of the Conventions to each other. Viewing the Lott-Carey Convention in its relation to cooperation, and its organization at a time when the plan needed a firm friend; viewing it in its bold stand for economy in Foreign Mission work, it was none other than a creature born from above, and its mission none other but a mission of righteousness.

PRACTICALLY UNITED.

        Recognizing the change in the parent body, and realizing the necessity of closer relations between the two great Baptist organizations of the country, delegations clothed with authority to effect a closer unity were sent successively to the annual meetings of the National Convention in Philadelphia, Chicago and Memphis, Tenn. At first their brethren regarded their coming with some suspicion, but when they saw the earnestness of their plea for unity they received them with open arms; and while they saw the wisdom of the continuation of the district body, in spirit and in kindly interest they became united. Rev. Mdodana who had labored in South Africa independent to his brethren, was placed under the direction of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Convention.

        The barriers which had stood in the way of the progress of both Conventions were removed, and bitterness, the worst feature of the differences which had existed for ten years, ceased.

        Representatives and officers of the one Convention felt free to attend the meetings of the other. Contributions were sent from the one to the other, and a spirit of genuine love prevailed.

        North Carolina Baptists, feeling themselves largely responsible for the existence of the Lott-Carey Convention, were faithful and loyal all the way. It was the meeting of the Lott-Carey Convention in the First Baptist Church of Winston-Salem, N. C., that North Carolina, in defiance of the opinion of the others, took the lead for the union which afterward followed. "First in war," when a principle was involved, and "First in peace," when opposition to this principle was removed. The Woman's Convention of North Carolina, in its annual session at Reidsville, 1907, voted the entire support to Miss Cora A. Pair, one of the young women of North Carolina who made known her call to the mission field of Africa. In 1908 she set sail for the Dark Continent to spend herself in the work of saving the heathen. Three from among Negro Baptists of North Carolina, within its short history of twelve years, were sent out by the Lott-Carey Convention besides its contributions in money. With the angel of peace and good will hovering over the two Conventions, and with zealous-hearted men and women on the home field and in the wilds of Africa, going forth bearing to the heathen world the gospel, great glory came both to the sender and the sent. Much of the wonderful activity and progress of the work on the home field came from the untiring efforts of the President of the Convention, Dr. C. S. Brown, of North Carolina, and much from Dr. W. M. Alexander, the Corresponding Secretary, of Baltimore, who, though hindered with the arduous duties of a city pastorate, awakened much interest throughout the bounds of the Convention.

 
 
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