The Stewart Missionary Foundation for African
and the Purpose of the Congress
Prof. E. L. PARKS, D.D.
Gammon Theological Seminary
This Foundation is in the interest, especially among American Negroes,.
of missionary work for Africa. It has been established by Rev. W. F.
Stewart, A. M., of the Rock River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. It is the outgrowth of many years of thought in the consecration of
a large portion of his property. In a letter in the early part of the correspond¬
ence leading to the establishment of the Foundation, Mr. Stewart thus com¬
prehensively states the purpose of the Foundation:
" My hope is that it may become a center for the diffusion of missionary
intelligence, the development of missionary enthusiasm, the increase of
missionary offerings and through sanctified and trained missionaries hasten
obedience to the great commission to ' preach the gospel to every creature.'
In addition to the direct work of the recitation room, I have contemplated
other educating means that would reach our schools and missions and the
whole membership of the church."
Mr. Stewart has set aside for the endowment of the Foundation a group of
farms in Central Illinois, comprising in all some six hundred acres. The
whole tract is tile-drained in a systematic and thorough manner, so as to
make every acre of it first-class tillable land.
In placing this Foundation in connection with Gammon Theological Semi¬
nary, Mr. Stewart unites it with a largely endowed institution, which is central
and at the head, in theological education, of one of the greatest systems of
schools for the Negro in America. The Foundation fills an important place in
the very purpose for which the Seminary was established. All the forces of
the Seminary are used to reduplicate the influence of the Foundation. There
is not only a remarkable parallel in the work of Mr. Gammon and Mr. Stewart,
but the fundamental thought which was back of their work is also in perfect
accord. This clearly appears in the following, which shows also that Elijah H.
Gammon was our prophet, as well as the founder of the Seminary. As early
as August, 1887, he wrote :
" I believe it most thoroughly, as Ethiopia stretches out her hands to God,.
help must come through your school. Who but you can furnish the thou¬
sands of missionaries for Africa? You may as well attempt to understand
and comprehend the astronomy of the heavens as the possibilities of your~
The work of the Foundation has been inaugurated by offering prizes for-