Cope, Thomas John
1838-1927; e.m. 1861

Founder and first warden of the UMFC Deaconess Order, he was born at Lostwithiel on 16 March 1838. Appointed to Westmoreland Street Church, Pimlico in 1890, he began employing women in response to the social deprivation of the area, because of the need for 'good women set apart to minister to the people in their homes, in such ways as only women can'. The result was the formation of the UMFC Deaconess Order, with Bowron House as its first headquarters. He continued as its Warden and Secretary until his retirement in 1912, being described as 'its ceaseless driving force'. He wrote an account of the Order, These Twenty Years, in 1911, along with other books on women's work.He died on 10 February 1927.


'The man and the Institute are indissolubly associated in the history of the Methodist Free Church and of the United Methodist Church. With those who know either history, to think of Mr. Cope is to think of the Deaconess Institute and to think of the Institute is to think of Mr. Cope... His youngest son, Mr. Vincent Zachary Cope, has said very truly that founr things characterised his father - first, his optimism; second, his unbounded energy; third, his great faith; fourth, his vision... He believed. He prayed. He dreamed Dreams. He saw visions.He heard God's voice speaking to him directly. Because of all this he felt he must begin the Deasonsess Institute.

H. Smith, J.E. Swallow and W. Treffry (eds.), The Story of the United Methodist Church(1932) pp.61-62

  • E. Dorothy Graham, Saved to Serve, The Story of the Wesley Deaconess Order 1890-1978 (Peterborough, 2002), pp.444-45 etc.

Entry written by: EDG
Category: Person
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