American Ceylon Missions: Served God by developing the community
American Ceylon Missions: The American Ceylon Mission (ACM) to Jaffna, Sri Lanka started with the arrival in 1813. Opening the first printing press in Sri Lanka is a revolutionary contribution by these Believers. During this time, they engaged in original translations from English to Tamil, printing, and publishing, establishing primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions and providing health care for residents of the Jaffna Peninsula. These activities resulted in many social changes amongst Sri Lankan Tamils that survive even today. ACM was sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The British colonial office in India and Ceylon restricted the Americans to reside only in the relatively small Jaffna Peninsula for geopolitical reasons for almost 40 years. The critical period of the impact of the missionaries was from the 1820s to early 1900s. They also led to the attainment of a lopsided literacy level among residents in the relatively small peninsula that is cited by scholars as one of the primary factors contributing to the current civil war. Many notable educational and health institutions within the Jaffna Peninsula owe their origins to the missionary activists from America.
Uduvil Girl's College: Asia's First girls boarding School
Uduvil Girl's College also known as Oodooville seminary was established in 1820 by missionaries associated with the American Ceylon Mission (ACM). It was situated in abandoned Fransiscan mission built by the Portuguese. Harriet Winslow (1796-1833), a missionary turned it into an all girl’s boarding school in 1824. It was called Missionary Seminary and Female Central School. It was Asia’s first all girls boarding school. In 2005, it had 1,600 students.
Eliza Agnew: Woman of Prayer, spent 42 years faithfully promoting Women's education in Sri Lanka, which was a radical act at that time. Eliza gave her last breath in Ceylon' soil.
The first Presbyterian Missionary, who became a Christian in a revival rally in NY. After her parents died, she joined the Ceylon Mission of the American Board of Boston in 1839and sailed from Boston to Jaffna, Ceylon. She served as teacher for 42 years without furlough in the Female Boarding School in Uduvil, just north of Jaffna, Ceylon. The Missionary Herald (September, 1863) rewarded her pioneering efforts in Ceylon towards helping girls and women. She was a woman of prayer, concerned with the spiritual welfare of her students. Of one thousand people of three generations under her influence, six hundred got to know Jesus Christ. She visited and assisted graduates and ex-pupils with home economics and spiritual affairs. Then she resigned as principle of the school in 1879 and moved to Manepay. She died from a paralytic stroke in June 1883 and was buried in Oodooville near the school over which she presided.
Rev. Miron Winslow: Tamil scholar and The compiler of the first "Comprehensive English Tamil Dictionary"
Rev. Miron Winslow (1789-1864) was an American Congregational missionary. He was born at Williston, VT., studied at the Andover Theological Seminary and 1819 went to Ceylon. Lived there for 44 years. He prepared the most advanced Tamil and English dictionary, completed in 1862. It was based in part on manuscript material of the Rev. Joseph Knight, of the London Missionary Society, and the Rev. Samuel Hutchings, of the American mission, and this was considered the most complete dictionary of Tamil language published at that time.
Rev. Dr. John Scudder, Sr.: The first Western Medical Mission in Asia
Rev. Dr. John Scudder, Sr., M.D., D.D., was born in Freehold, New Jersey, U.S.A. on September 3, 1793. He founded the first Western Medical Mission in Asia at Ceylon and later became the first American medical missionary in India, beginning more than 1,100 combined years of missionary service there by 42 members of 4 generations of the The Scudder family of missionaries in India.
He went to Ceylon in 1819 and founded the first Western Medical Mission in Asia at Panditeripo in Jaffna District as part of the American Ceylon Mission. He served there for nineteen years in the dual capacity of clergyman and physician. His most important service was the establishment of a large hospital, of which he was physician in chief. He was especially successful in the treatment of cholera and yellow fever. He also founded several native schools and churches. He later became the first American medical missionary in India, beginning more than 1,100 combined years of missionary service there by 42 members of 4 generations of the Scudders in India.
Dr. Samuel Fisk Green: Founded the First Medical School in Sri Lanka
Dr. Green, an American served the people of Northern Sri Lanka. The Green Memorial Hospital in Manipay, Sri Lanka was founded by Dr Samuel Fisk Green in 1848. It is a charitable hospital run by Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI). This hospital was first medical school in Sri Lanka, and was used by Dr. Green to train more than 60 locals as doctors during his 30 year tenure in Sri Lanka as part of the American Ceylon Mission. In the middle of the 20th century, it was a state of the art medical institution that served the rich and the poor alike. Currently it is no longer considered to be premier medical institution in minority Sri Lankan Tamil dominant Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka.
Learn more about American Christians' Historical involvement in Sri Lanka:
*American Women in Mission By Dana Lee Robert
*Nineteenth century American medical missionaries in Jaffna, Ceylon : with special reference to Samuel Fisk Green By Thiru Arumugam
*Christian Heritage of Jaffna, Sri Lanka; work of the American Missionaries By Samuel Arnold
The Church of the American Ceylon Mission (since 1816) in Sri Lanka :