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Lawrence Coughlan (?-1785)

Lawrence Coughlan was born and educated in Ireland. A Methodist convert from Roman Catholicism, he entered the itinerancy in 1755 and travelled until 1764 when he was ordained, without Wesley's permission, by the Greek Orthodox bishop Erasmus. He set up a dissenting meeting house in Bermondsey, London, and in 1765 was invited by a group of Anglicans and Congregationalists from Newfoundland, to be their minister. After his arrival on the island he commenced a ministry organised on Methodist lines.

In 1767 some of the colonists petitioned the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel to appoint him as their missionary. He returned to England and was ordained by the Bishop of London with Wesley's approval. Coughlan returned to Newfoundland and formed one of the earliest Methodist Societies in North America.

Coughlan resigned his position and crossed the Atlantic for the final time in 1773, after the Methodists in Newfoundland began to suffer persecution, which was encouraged by local merchants and the governor of the colony. He subsequently served as a minister at Cumberland Street Chapel in London.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)

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