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Missionary work in the West Indies.

July 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times July 22, 1927

The Rev S Avill, formerly of Millhouses, Darfield, has for the past three years been engaged in Wesleyan missionary work in the West Indies. Mr Avill,  was formerly a local preacher. He received his training at Clifton College, Sheffield and Handsworth Wesleyan training College.

His first appointment was to the island of Barbados, where for 12 months he ministered to the natives. From then went to St Vincent, where he stayed for another year. At present he is on the island of Grenada, and has been invited to stay there for a long period.

In his letters home he gives some interesting facts about the natives. He is the only white person on the island of Grenada. The islanders are highly civilised and have some good schools. It is one of Mr Avill’s duties to pay the teacher salaries. Many of the native speaker good English, and the girls are particularly clever at needlework. A preacher gets on well out there if he is “an out and out Christian,” but tact, firmness and sympathy are necessary.

Practically all the islanders are Christians, Roman Catholicism predominating. Mr Avill,  often attends as many as seven different chapels on one Sunday, and never fewer than five, his first service being at 7 am.

In the West Indies the people are addicted to rum and gin, which are cheap, and the “gin houses” are one of the great evils the missionary has to cope with.

Climatic conditions are trying to the white man. When it rains all services have to be cut out for nobody can venture out in the torrent. The heat is very intense. Tennis is the chief pastime indulged in.

Mr Abel says that the coconuts which grow in his garden taste delicious when plucked fresh. Nutmeg and arrowroot growth in tremendous quantities.

When a native builds a house, it is customary to have a priest blessing before it is inhabited. It is Mr Avill’s intention to stay out there for a period of seven years. At present he is on holiday at Trinidad.