Angas, William Henry (1781-1832)
William Henry Angas was an English Baptist preacher, who awakened and vitalized a missionary spirit among the Mennonites of Holland and Germany. The Dutch Mennonite Missionary Aid Society owes its origin (on 18 May 1821) to his efforts, for (Mennonitische Blätter, 1895, 46) it was originally a Dutch branch of the missionary society of the English Baptists at Serampur. In a leaflet printed in Dutch the director of this aid society appealed to all his co-believers for support of foreign mission work. Leonhard Weydmann, the Mennonite preacher of Monsheim, translated it into German and sent it to the Palatine Mennonites on 19 January 1824. But nothing more happened. Then Angas, on a tour at his own expense through Prussia, Poland, Bavaria, Switzerland, and France, everywhere visiting Mennonite churches, arrived in the Palatinate. He stayed here about four weeks, visiting all the churches. His zealous efforts brought about a small "conference" of the Palatine-Hessian Mennonites at the Spitalhof, 13 July 1824, the first conference of this group since 1805, on whom he seems to have made a deep and lasting impression. It was here decided to put up a missionary box in every church and to take a missionary offering on the first Sunday of every month, after reports on and prayer for this important cause. The contributions were given to the English Baptist Mission until the founding of the Dutch Mennonite Missionary Society in 1847. Angas also sent two Mennonite youths, at his expense, to the school at Beuggen to study for the position of teacher-preacher in the Mennonite churches.
Angas' work among the Mennonites bore fruit. Conferences were held annually. In mission work a common, unifying task had been found, which led to dealing with other important church problems. A small part of the Palatine Mennonites of course viewed the mission cause with distrust as an innovation. The Amsterdam Mennonite Library possesses a printed letter of Angas in German, dated at Danzig, July 1823 (26 pages), in which he writes about the mission field at Serampore in India, and its stations, also mentioning a number of mission schools and translations of the Bible or parts of the Bible in 42 Indian languages. At the end of the letter he asks for support of this mission work and returns thanks for the love and friendship which the West Prussian Mennonites paid him when visiting their churches.
An die Aeltesten, Lehrer und Mitglieder der sämmtlichen Mennonitten Gemeinden in West Preussen. Danzig: 1823.
Fox, F. A. Memoirs of H. W. Angas. London: 1834.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe; Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 72.
Mennonitische Blätter (1895): 46; (1907): 89.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 122-123. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Neff, Christian. "Angas, William Henry (1781-1832)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 21 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A5398.html.
APA style: Neff, Christian. (1953). Angas, William Henry (1781-1832). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/A5398.html.