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Edgar Wesley Thompson (1871-1963)

Edgar Wesley Thompson was born in Glastonbury, the son of a Wesleyan minister. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove, Kingswood, Aberystwyth and London University.

Thompson trained for the ministry at Richmond and served as a missionary in India for twenty-five years from 1894. He proved an able and well-known protagonist of Christianity and his public debates with the Theosophist Annie Beasant attracted a great deal of attention. He also acted as the editor of the weekly Christian newspaper Vrittanta Patrike. During the Conference of 1911, while on furlough, he made representations that led to changes in the constitution and administration of the Missionary Society.

Thompson returned to England in 1919 and was appointed General Secretary of the Missionary Society, in which post he displayed considerable administrative ability. The 1950 Conference Declaration of Racial Policy was largely his work. Thompson superannuated in 1934.

While serving in India, Thompson wrote a two-volume history of the sub-continent that remained in wide use for many years. He also wrote acclaimed biographies of John Wesley and Nicholas Gilbert.

Source: Minutes of Conference 1963 and Methodist Recorder 7 Feb. 1963 and Harold Burgoyne Rattenbury papers (MARC)

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