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This week in Christian history: ‘God of Our Fathers,’ Georg Schmidt arrives in Africa

Georg Schmidt arrives in Cape Town – July 9, 1737

Georg Schmidt
Georg Schmidt (1709-1785), a Moravian missionary noted for his work in Southern Africa. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Moravian missionary Georg Schmidt, known for his evangelistic work in Africa, arrived in Cape Town after a four-month voyage.

For years, Schmidt worked to reach the Khoi Khoi, teaching the community how to read and write, and eventually baptizing his first converts in the 1740s.

Schmidt’s work was disrupted, however, when Dutch authorities and local clergy took issue with layman like Schmidt baptizing people, instead of an ordained Reformed minister.

“Zinzendorf (a properly consecrated bishop) sent ordination papers, but the Dutch rejected them. Schmidt had no recourse but to return to the Netherlands in 1743 to plead his case,” noted the Christian History Institute.

“The Dutch never allowed him to return to South Africa. In fact, not until fifty years later were Moravians readmitted to the African colony. Then they found an old woman whom Schmidt had baptized, whose granddaughter was able to read a Dutch Bible Schmidt had left behind.”

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