- Blackmore, Sophia
- (1857-19 45)Methodist missionary and educatorSophia Blackmore, the first female missionary of the Methodist Church in Singapore, was born in Goulburn, Australia, on October 18, 1857. A chance encounter with Isabella Leonard, an American evangelist, led her to accept a call to the missionary's life. Australian Methodists at that time did not support unmarried females as missionaries. Nevertheless, Blackmore accompanied Leonard to India. There they met Bishop William E Oldham (1854-1937), who at the time needed someone to work among the women and children who attended the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore. Blackmore offered herself and was accepted.She arrived in Singapore in 1887. Within a month, she founded the Tamil Girl's School there at the request of several Indian businessmen, and one year later she opened the Eairfield Girls' School. These two schools expanded to serve young women of every ethnic community on the island, and seeded a series of girls' schools in neighboring Malaysia. In her first year in Singapore, Blackmore also opened the Nind Home, a hostel for women named for the Minneapolis woman who had raised much of the financial support for Blackmore's work. Similar hostels were established in Malaysia.Blackmore also worked at evangelizing the Baba Chinese women, her efforts resulting in the formation of a Baba church, now Kampong Kapor Methodist Church, which grew to be the largest Methodist congregation in the region.After 40 years of work, Blackmore retired and went back to Australia, where she lived until her death on July 3, 1945. The institutions she founded have served Singaporeans ever since, with a brief hiatus during the Japanese occupation of World War II. Today, the Kampong Kapor Methodist Church and over a dozen schools carry on the effort initiated by Blackmore in the 1880s.Further reading:■ Theordore R. Doraisamy, Forever Beginning, One Hundred Years of Methodism in Singapore (Singapore: Methodist Church in Singapore, 1985); , Sophia Blackmore in Singapore (Singapore: Methodist Book Room, 1987)■ Ernest Lau, "Sophia Blackmore." Available online. URL: http://www.trac-mcs.org.sg/discipleship/pdf/sb1.pdf.
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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