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Coke, Thomas

Thomas Coke (kŏŏk, kōk), 1747–1814, English clergyman and early bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. After taking orders (1777) in the Church of England, he openly allied himself with the Methodists. He was president of the Irish conference in 1782 and two years later was ordained as superintendent for America by John Wesley. When Coke was styled bishop shortly after the American conference of 1784, the change was not approved by Wesley. Coke visited America nine times, the last time in 1803. Always deeply interested in Methodist missionary work, he sought (1813) an appointment by the government as bishop of India, agreeing to return to the Established Church. As the request was not granted, he himself secured funds for a Methodist mission, but died on the way to Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

See biographies by W. A. Candler (1923) and J. A. Vickers (1969).

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