The Moravian Missionary Experience: .
The West Indies, Guiana and Surinam, 1732-1800.
The Moravians were a Protestant sect that, under the leadership of Count Nikolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf, experienced a strong revival in the 1720s. The doctrine of the Moravians centered on the sufferings of Christ on the cross and involved much contemplation of the various wounds he received therein. Zinzendorf began the practice of sending Brethren to minister among the heathens in the New World and Africa, and potential missionaries underwent extensive indoctrination: .
These missionaries, both men and women, envisioned themselves as "brides of Christ" whose father was God and whose mother the Holy Ghost. In this imagery, the church was born in the savior's side wound, betrothed to Christ in Holy Communion, making it the daughter-in-law of both God the Father and the Holy Ghost (Price, 57).
Missionaries were taught to not involve themselves with politics or commerce in the colonies, although this did not always hold true. They also accepted slavery as the status quo, and in some cases, became slave owners themselves.
II. The West Indies.
The Moravian presence in the New World began with the death of Frederick IV of Denmark and Norway. Count Zinzendorf, wishing to relinquish his secular title and gain some office within the Danish court, traveled to Copenhagen to gain contacts within the court of the new king, Christian VI. This protracted visit failed to gain the Count any appointed office, but his new connections within the court shed light on a problem that fell well within his realm as spiritual leader of the Moravian Brethren. A slave named Anthony, the body servant of an acquaintance of Zinzendorf's, told the Count of "the dark moral and intellectual and religious condition of the slaves in the Danish West Indies" (Hamilton 50). His plans for recognition within the court of the new king quashed, the Count immediately began to plan missions to the Danish holding in the New World.