Samuel Alexander Bill was a British missionary Nigeria. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and influenced by the preaching of D. L. Moody, Bill trained for missionary service at Harley College in London. In 1887 the principal, Henry Grattan Guinness, announced that he had received a letter from Scottish missionaries working in Calabar conveying an appeal for help from people farther to the east in the Niger Delta. Bill responded by offering himself for service. He sailed for Africa without organizational support and commenced work among the Efik-speaking people at the mouth of the Qua Iboe River. He devoted the rest of his life to service among the Efik and Annang peoples of what is now south-eastern Nigeria. The Qua Iboe Mission was founded to support the work; interdenominational by nature, it drew considerable support from Ulster Presbyterians. Bill lived to see remarkable growth in the Qua Iboe Church, especially following a revival movement which commenced in 1927. His sympathetic response to this “Spirit movement” helped retain converts within the church and led to further expansion of the work northward to the kingdom of Igala. He was awarded the Member of the British Empire in 1938 at a ceremony at Eket. He is buried at Ibuno on the bank of the Qua Iboe River beside his wife, Gracie, and his first convert, David Ekong.
David W. Smith
Jean Corbett, According to Plan: The Story of Samuel Alexander Bill (1977). On the Spirit movement, see David Smith, “A Survey of New Religious Movements among the Annang of Nigeria,” NZM 42, no. 4 (1986): 264-275. Archival material is held by the Qua Iboe Fellowship in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.