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General Introduction and Guide to the Archive


The Church Missionary Society (CMS) came into being on 12 April 1799 at a public meeting at the Castle and Falcon Inn, Aldersgate, London. Why was it begun then, and into what kind of world was it born?

Its roots go back to the middle of the eighteenth century when there was a great revival in the Church of England inspired by the preaching of John Wesley and others. Although Wesley's followers left the Church (and founded Methodism), other Anglican clergy aimed to revive and reform it by bringing personal conviction into religion at a time when clergy were often negligent and worldly. Their emphasis on individual conversion and justification by faith led them to be called Evangelicals.

As this movement grew there was an increasing desire to spread the Gospel where it had not been heard. At the same time there was a gradual realisation of the essential value of the individual and therefore the infamy of slavery. By the 1780s two groups in London were particularly concerned with these ideas, the Eclectic Society, and the Clapham Sect (members of John Venn's church at Clapham).

The Eclectic Society had at various times discussed missionary needs and methods, partly inspired by the general interest in such matters which had led to the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society in 1792 and the London Missionary Society in 1795. At a meeting in March 1799 John Venn raised the specific question of how they themselves should spread the Gospel overseas and his call for action led to the April meeting at the Castle and Falcon. There a resolution was passed, "It is the duty highly incumbent upon every Christian to endeavour to propagate the knowledge of the Gospel among the Heathen;" and the Society for Missions to Africa and the East was formed (in 1812 renamed The Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East).

At the March Eclectic Meeting Venn had propounded certain fundamental missionary principles and these served and still serve as the Society's guide. They were these:

to follow God in the same way as the missionaries of the early Church
to begin humbly and on a small scale
to put money after prayer and study
to depend on the Holy Spirit

The Society was ready to start work: but at first there were difficulties and delays. As the Society was seeking clergy as missionaries it could not begin work officially until the Archbishop of Canterbury had expressed his opinion of its proposals. He took sixteen months to consider their aims and then returned a neutral answer that "he would look on the proceedings with candour and that it would give him pleasure to find them such as he could approve". He and other leaders in the Church of England did not see the need for another missionary society. Indeed no bishop gave formal approval to the Society until 1815.

There was a further difficulty in choice of mission field. West Africa was the natural first choice, for at Freetown there had been a colony for freed slaves established in 1786, under the charge of the Sierra Leone Company (of which some CMS founders were directors). Elsewhere, however, few places were open. The East India Company did not approve of missionaries to the Indians, although it accepted chaplains for the British communities; in China no foreigners other than traders were admitted; Japan was closed to outsiders.

The final delay was caused by inability to find missionaries. No suitable Englishmen could be found, although many candidates were interviewed and financial support was received from the first. It was not until 1804 that two German Lutheran clergy, Melchior Renner and Peter Hartwig, trained in the seminary at Berlin, sailed for Freetown.



Renner and Hartwig were sent to work amongst the Susu tribe, but after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, opportunities were also opened up at the invitation of the Colonial Government among people rescued from slave ships and settled in Sierra Leone. More missionaries, both German and English, were sent there and many people were converted.

The death toll among missionaries was heavy from the start and reached a climax in the yellow fever epidemic of 1823. CMS therefore considered training Africans for the ministry, realising that they stood the climate better than Europeans did and in 1827 a training institution was opened at Fourah Bay. This was the future University of Fourah Bay, where so many leading Sierra Leoneans were to study, though none perhaps more famous than the very first student, Samuel Crowther.

From the first, education was of prime importance in evangelism and every mission station had its school, at first with the missionary and soon with an African Christian schoolmaster in charge. In 1845 CMS opened a grammar school in Freetown to give secondary education to boys not only from the Colony, but also other parts of the coast. In 1849 a secondary girls' school was begun, later to be renowned as the Annie Walsh Memorial School.

By this time most of the people in the Colony were Christian. Henry Venn was then chief Secretary at CMS headquarters and his judgement and experience had convinced him that all mission churches should be self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating. His idea was supported by the Society and an independent Sierra Leone church was gradually achieved. The bishop was European, but all the pastors were Colony born.

People were encouraged to take their full share in running the church. In the 1870s they began their own missionary society to work amongst neighbouring districts. Work was resumed amongst the Temnes at Port Loko, where Christian Schlenker had worked and studied the language in the 1840s. The missionaries sent there by CMS London were among the first to learn their modern role of servants rather than leaders of the indigenous church.

At the turn of the century CMS was forced through financial crises to reduce the number of missionaries in Sierra Leone and withdraw its support from the Port Loko work. In 1919 it even considered leaving the country entirely. By 1922 this possibility had passed but over the next forty years the missionaries were confined to working in the chief educational institutions. They provided a series of European principals for Fourah Bay College and the two Freetown grammar schools and they also shared with the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Brethren in a Union teacher training college at Bunumbu, which was opened in 1933.

The Sierra Leone Church had developed self-support and self-government, though the bishops who led it remained European. The enormous diocese which covered not only Sierra Leone but also Gambia and North Africa was divided in 1935 and Bishop Wright suggested an African, Rev A W Howells, as his successor. CMS however nominated Canon Horstead the principal of Fourah Bay College with T S Johnson, a Sierra Leonean, as assistant bishop. It was not until 1961, with the consecration of the Rt Rev Moses Scott, that Sierra Leone would have its own African bishop.


The opening up of Nigeria to Christian mission originated in the desire of British merchants to extend their trade on the West Africa coast. Following the discovery of the source of the Niger in 1830 Thomas Fowell Buxton combined commercial argument with his zeal against slavery and urged the government to undertake expeditions into the interior.

The first Niger expedition was in 1841 and two CMS men were members of it. One of them was Samuel Crowther, by then a teacher at Freetown, who was chosen because he was himself a Yoruba from Western Nigeria. The expedition was a failure but the Society, impressed by Crowther's ability, invited him to England for training and ordination. Shortly after his return to Sierra Leone some of the liberated slaves, who had returned as prosperous merchants to their native country around Lagos, asked for Christian teachers. Crowther and a young Englishman, Henry Townsend, were sent to them and began the Yoruba mission, with its headquarters at Abeokuta.

Venn strongly supported economic development as a means of spreading the Gospel. Industrial institutions at Abeokuta (and later also at Onitsha and Lokoja in the Niger mission) provided apprenticeship schemes for the fast developing cotton trade, instigated by Manchester merchants. The missions also led the way in building and architecture, printing and medicine.

In the 1860s the Dahomian wars interrupted European mission work around Abeokuta, but by that time the local Christians were fully capable of continuing unaided and the Church grew.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Nigeria the CMS Niger mission had been started. In 1857 following a successful private expedition up the Niger, Samuel Crowther was commissioned to establish an African mission to evangelise Africans. In Yoruba country the Christians from Sierra Leone had been returning to their own families. Here they came as missionaries, strangers to the country, though of the same peoples.

CMS supported the work with a small grant, but urged Crowther to make the Church self-supporting. In 1864 he came to England to be consecrated Bishop of the Niger Territories, with eventual responsibility for the whole area from the Nupe country in the north to the Delta States in the south. A special endowment fund was set up to support the bishopric. For Crowther both academic and practical education were of the greatest value in evangelism. He centred the mission stations on schools, and at the same time emphasised the need for missionaries and converts to exercise direct Christian influence on the laws and customs of the people.

It was difficult for Crowther always to recruit the type of men he wanted, for although the work swiftly grew there was no increased support from CMS either in money or men. By 1875, with growing commercial interest in West Africa, there was friction between the European traders and the African missionaries. There was a ferment of new ideas in Europe. Venn was dead and Crowther no longer had support from Salisbury Square. Hutchinson, who had taken over Venn's responsibility for the Niger mission, tried to introduce European supervision and sent out young missionaries to report on the state of the mission. Years of controversy followed, exacerbated by the impetuous stubbornness of the English missionaries who were trained in new ways as were the fresh group of Secretaries in London. Confidence between Crowther and CMS was lost.

In 1887 J A Robinson was appointed secretary of the Niger mission which was by then administered by a committee at Onitsha of which Bishop Crowther was chairman. At a meeting in 1890 Robinson attempted to usurp the chairman's power over the clergy and Crowther resigned. His son Dandeson, archdeacon of the Delta, removed his churches from CMS control and established the Niger Delta Pastorate Church. The estrangement between the Society and
the Delta church was to continue for more than thirty years, although the first signs of reconciliation were to come in 1897 with formal approval of its constitution as an independent church.

Crowther died in 1891 and the Niger and Yoruba missions were united in one diocese, Western Equatorial Africa, under an English bishop J S Hill. Not until 1952 was there an African successor to Crowther. Hill's jurisdiction extended over the whole of modern Nigeria and at the very end of the century, his successor, Bishop Tugwell led a small party some 600 miles from the coast near Lagos to Zaria in the north. This was the beginning of the church in that largely Muslim area.

Over the next fifty years in Nigeria the Society's role changed. The government played an increasing part in the financing of education, while as dioceses were created the Society gradually handed over its authority to the indigenous church.

For the long-established work in Western Nigeria it was a time of consolidation. CMS increasingly worked with others, particularly the Methodists, in education and shared in supporting the United Missionary College at Ibadan. The CMS Bookshop at Lagos, supervised by C W Wakeman, supplied schools and mission stations, outstripping similar CMS Bookshops in the Niger mission to become the chief schools' supplier in West Africa. Medical work was not so prominent. The hospital at Ado Ekiti opened in 1936.

In the Niger area CMS extended its work to Awka, where it founded a teacher training college, then to Egbu and Patani and by 1910 to the Isoko people. Archdeacon Dennis translated the Bible into Ibo, producing a Union version in 1911 to replace the Onitsha version till then used in the schools; Henry Procter translated the Book of Common Prayer into the Brass language. For CMS however there was greater interest in the development of the Bookshop at Onitsha (started 1896) with its branches at Egbu (Owerri from 1923) and Port Harcourt 1920. There was also medical work at Iyi Enu from the 1890s, a small hospital being opened in 1908.

The diocese on the Niger was created in 1922. Its jurisdiction included the Niger Delta and Bishop Lasbrey was able to win the confidence of the leaders of the Delta Church as well as the CMS clergy. Integrating the diocese took time, skill and patience but by 1931 a constitution was approved.

The work in Northern Nigeria expanded in four areas. Work amongst the Hausa was pioneered from 1905 at Zaria by Dr Walter Miller, a man of vision and a brilliant linguist. From 1926 it gained a series of recruits from a group of Cambridge University men, the Hausa Band. Max Warren, one of their number, was later to become CMS General Secretary.

Guy Bullen, who proved a leader of sound judgement and a patient negotiator developed the work at Wusasa, where another member of the Band, Dr Norman Cook, was in charge of the medical mission and the building of the hospital from 1930.

Another group of missionaries from Cambridge, the Cambridge University Missionary Party, had been working on the Bauchi plateau since 1907. CUMP like the Hausa Band was a largely self- supporting group within CMS. A new station among the Angass at Kabwir was opened in 1910 and in 1915 the first converts were baptised. It remained a small mission however and in January 1930 the work was handed over to the Sudan United Mission.

Work among the Nupe began in 1903 at Bida and extended to Katcha in 1909. Progress was affected by the isolation of the mission and the lack of reinforcements, but the first Nupe was ordained in 1935.

The Bassa district was a region where the Aladura movement made great impact and Miss K E Ritsert and Miss Christine Matthews were transferred from Lokoja to Kpata in 1931 to work among those influenced by it. They started medical work. By 1936 there were about eight thousand worshippers in the district.


It was Captain Allen Gardiner RN who first brought South Africa to the attention of the Society. He visited Dingaan, the Zulu chief, in 1834 and obtained permission for missionaries to be sent to them. On Gardiner's return to England he spoke at the CMS anniversary meeting and as a result Rev Francis Owen offered to return with Gardiner. When the party got to Cape Town a CM Association for the colony was formed. Owen and his wife and sister then journeyed to Dingaan's town arriving in August 1837. Within months however Dingaan's killing of the Boers abruptly terminated the mission.

Meanwhile CMS, being unaware of what had happened, sent out a lay agent, W Hewetson and a surgeon, R Philips to join Owen. They agreed to try to work at Mosita, a site north of Grahamstown, which had been occupied earlier and then abandoned by the Paris Missionary Society. But that Society sent out fresh missionaries and CMS then decided to withdraw entirely from the country.


At the time that CMS was first considering work in Nigeria and shortly after the closure of its short-lived mission to the Zulus (1837-41), the Rev Ludwig Krapf came to Mombasa.

He and other CMS missionaries had been forced to leave Ethiopia and Krapf decided to attempt to reach the inland tribes from the East Coast.

John Rebmann joined him in 1846 and they established a mission at Rabai, embarking on several expeditions, which were to bring them incidental fame as explorers, not least as the European discoverers of Mount Kilimanjaro. Krapf returned to Germany in 1855 and for twenty years Rebmann was to work on alone, studying the language and cared for, after he became blind, by a small band of Christians.
In 1872 a fresh start was made. The British government sent Sir Bartle Frere to negotiate a treaty with Zanzibar for the suppression of the slave-trade. On Frere's return he urged CMS to establish a settlement near Mombasa for the slaves freed from Arab raiders. The Society sent out the Rev W S Price, who had been working among such slaves at Nasik in Western India. Land was purchased for an industrial colony (named Frere Town) and work began in 1875.

Progress was slow but in 1885 work began to spread to the interior in Taita and Chagga country. Soon afterwards, however, German annexations in Tanganyika led to opposition from the local people and cut off communications. As a result Frere Town and Rabai remained the two centres of the Kenya mission for the remainder of the century.

There were many missionary societies and Christian denominations working in Kenya and as their work grew it led to overlapping of effort. A series of inter-mission conferences was held from 1908 seeking church unity and a federation of societies. The former was not achieved but in 1918 a conference at Kikuyu appointed a representative council of which the main members were Anglicans, Scottish Episcopalians, and Methodists. The alliance aimed to work towards a united ministry based on united training, but its most enduring contribution was in education - in the Alliance High School at Kikuyu which opened in 1926 and to which a CMS missionary, Carey Francis, was appointed headmaster in 1940.

CMS opened a hospital at Maseno in 1920, but in both medicine and education the government was so vigorous in its policies that individual institutions were not so important in mission development as they were in other countries in which CMS worked.

The missionaries did play an important part in political and social problems however. Issues such as compulsory unpaid labour on public works, the emancipation of women and girls, and the ownership of land (particularly relating to the discovery of gold in the Kavirondo reserve) were all taken up on behalf of the Africans by church leaders and missionaries, of whom Archdeacon W E Owen was the outstanding CMS exponent throughout the 1920s and 1930s.


In November 1875 the Daily Telegraph published a letter from the explorer Henry Morton Stanley. The King of the Baganda, the Kabaka Mutesa, had received Stanley, as he had the earlier explorers Speke and Grant and listened to their account of Christianity. Now he sent a message that he would welcome white men in his country. Three days after the publication of the letter £5000 was offered to CMS to organise a mission to Uganda. The Society's established work at Frere Town gave them added incentive to accept the offer and preparations began.

In 1876 a party of eight men was sent out. They were beset with illness and only two, the Rev C T Wilson and Lt Shergold Smith, reached Uganda in June 1877. Smith was killed that December and Wilson remained alone for a year until Alexander Mackay, who had been detained ill at the coast, joined him.

As usual in pioneering days, education and religion went hand in hand. Mackay (working alone, for Wilson had returned to England) was teacher, evangelist, builder and printer. The early Christians were known as 'readers' and by 1880 the first translations of parts of the Bible were circulating, printed on Mackay's own press.

In 1884 Mutesa died and his son Mwanga turned against the Christians. His bitter persecution culminated in about 30 of the pages in his court being burned alive. In 1885 James Hannington, sent out as the first bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, was murdered in Busoga. Years of religious wars and political unrest followed and the Christians were scattered.

Yet in suffering the church found a vital and infectious faith. When Bishop Alfred Tucker came out in 1890, he was greeted by thousands of Christians and a flourishing church. The century was to end with a decade of expansion. The first Ugandan priests were ordained in 1893, the Luganda Bible was completed in 1896 and in 1897 the diocese of Uganda was formed. That same year Dr Albert Cook began his long career at Mengo hospital and, of far greater significance, Apolo Kivebulaya, who had been taught at one time by Mackay, was sent as a missionary to Mboga and began his long ministry in the Congo.

The twentieth century continued the expansion of the 1890s. At Mengo hospital J H Cook (who was later CMS Medical Secretary) joined his brother Albert and a medical school was opened in January 1917. A maternity training school founded and run by Mrs Albert Cook opened in 1918. Dr. Ashton Bond opened a hospital at Toro in 1903, though it was forced to close as an economy measure in 1934. Medical work at N'gora started in 1922 and a leprosy settlement at Ongino was set up in 1926, both still flourishing in the 1940s.

Because the Anglican church was fully organised the responsibility for the schools, including boarding schools, lay with the diocesan council which worked in co-operation with the African chiefs and without government supervision. There were two diocesan public schools, Budo Kings School for boys and Gayaza High School for girls, both founded in 1905 and staffed by CMS missionaries. For clergy training there was Mukono Theological College, which had begun as a small divinity class at Kampala and moved to Mukono in 1913. J C Jones in the late 1930s and J V Taylor (later CMS General Secretary) in the 1940s were outstanding members of staff.

The 1930s were notable for the Revival Movement which had begun among the African staff in Gahini hospital in Rwanda. In 1935 C E Stuart succeeded Bishop J J Willis who had retired after 34 years in Uganda, 22 of them as bishop. Bishop Stuart invited a team from Gahini to lead a convention at Mukono and this led to a campaign of evangelism in 1937 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the CMS mission. Dr Joe Church was seconded from Rwanda to organise and develop a "true holiness movement in Uganda based exclusively on the Bible". There was a danger in the early 1940s that some of the converts might have separated themselves from the local churches but the patience of Bishop Stuart and others prevented a split.


The mission in German East Africa (Tanganyika) sprang directly from the Uganda work. The first station, Mpwapwa, (occupied in 1878) acted as a support station for the supply route from the coast. The main areas allocated to CMS were in the Usagara and Ugogo districts and in 1880 a second station was opened at Mamboya.

The early years were not easy for although the German administration was not unfriendly, the mission did not attract the same interest as the Kenya and Uganda missions further north. Even the division of the diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa in 1897 left the missionaries with remote episcopal supervision and encouragement.

In 1900 work began at Berega and Mvumi, spreading to Buigiri the following year. The work at Mpwapwa was moved to Kongwa in 1904. There followed some years of increasing response to the Gospel, but on the outbreak of the First World War all the missionaries were interned. They were able to return to work in 1917 but then had to face reduction in numbers during the retrenchment of the 1920s.

It had been recognised for some years that a separate diocese was needed for Tanganyika. As there were a number of Australian missionaries working in the country it was proposed that CMS Australia should nominate and help to fund a bishop. In 1927 George Chambers, General Secretary to CMS Australia, was chosen and the Australian society took responsibility for the financial support of the entire mission and diocese.

Despite financial worries and shortage of staff the work grew. The divinity school and teacher-training institute at Kongwa, which had been established in 1913 with T B R Westgate as its first principal, moved to Dodoma in 1928, where it was served for some years by a CMS Bookshop. From 1929 work spread along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. One of Lionel Bakewell's assistants in the work was Yohana Omari, who was later to become the first African bishop of the diocese. In the same year the Africa Inland Mission, the German missions, the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and CMS united in a Christian Council for Central Tanganyika. Medical work developed. Hospitals were opened at Kilimatinde in 1933 and Mvumi in 1938 and infant welfare centres were introduced.

By the time Bishop Chambers retired in 1947 the number of missionaries and African clergy had greatly increased, while in the Western part of the country there was a thriving young church of about 10,000 adherents.


The major partner agency of the Church of England in Rwanda is now Mid-Africa Ministry, a daughter society of CMS, originally named Ruanda Mission (CMS). Its origins can be found amongst the records of the CMS Uganda mission, for MAM's two pioneer missionaries worked for CMS before going to Rwanda.

Dr Leonard Sharp and Dr A C Stanley Smith were convinced of God's call to work in Rwanda and offered to CMS for that work. They were sent at first to Mengo hospital in Uganda, but in December 1916 made an exploratory visit to Rwanda. In 1917 the CMS Uganda missionary committee received an appeal for medical help from Rwandans in Rwanda and Kigezi. The CMS committee in London were unable to agree to this expansion of work because of the lack of funds, but the two doctors began to raise funds independently and by 1919 were able to guarantee support both for four years' work and for a hospital. There were some remaining difficulties over staffing and finally the Kigezi district of South West Uganda was suggested and agreed as a place to start rather than beginning in Rwanda itself. In 1920 the CMS committee in London accepted the doctors' offer, the work to be accountable to the Uganda missionary committee.

In the early days support was given and organised by 'Friends of Ruanda', but in 1926 the Ruanda Council was formed as a CMS committee in charge of the administration of the work. In 1929 it took full financial responsibility for the mission, though it was not separated from the CMS mission in Uganda until 1933.

The Sharps and Stanley Smiths arrived at Kabale in Kigezi in 1921, but it was seven years later when they actually moved into Rwanda and settled at Gahini. Medical work was welcomed from the start and hospitals were opened at Kabale, Gahini, Kigeme and Shyira, while a leprosy treatment centre was established at Bunyonyi on Bwama Island.

In 1934 it was agreed that work should begin in Burundi with three centres Buhiga, Matana and Ibuye. As in Rwanda the aim was to establish a church, hospital and school in each place.

Ecumenical relations with other missions were good and in 1935 the Alliance of Protestant Missions in Ruanda-Urundi was formed. This co-operation was particularly notable in translation work in which Harold Guillebaud was the outstanding figure. By 1949 there was a rapidly growing church.


Mauritius was in French possession for nearly a century before the British annexed it in 1810. A large proportion of the inhabitants were Roman Catholic, and French continued to be the island's official language. A small Anglican church was established in the 1820s but it was not until 1854 that a separate diocese for Mauritius and the Seychelles Islands was set up.

The first CMS missionaries, Stephen Hobbs from Tinnevelly and Paul Ansorge, arrived in 1856 and began work, mainly amongst the Indian coolies on the sugar estates. By 1873 nearly 2000 had been baptised, about half that number returning to India. In 1873, the Rev P S Royston came out as bishop. He had had long previous experience as chaplain and missionary in the island and in India, and he encouraged the development of a CMS native church council on the system he had practised in India.

Although the Society found Mauritius a useful outpost of its India missions, its development was hampered by the dominant position of the Roman Catholic church and in 1907 CMS decided to withdraw. The work was handed over to the church in Mauritius in 1908.

Missionary work in Madagascar had been started by the London Missionary Society in 1820 and many converts were made. During the reign of Queen Ranavalona I (1835-61), however, there was bitter persecution of the Christians and the missionaries were driven out.

In 1862 the mission was renewed and the London Missionary Society asked CMS and SPG to unite with them in the work. The Rev Thomas Campbell and the Rev Herbert Maundrell were sent out, working mainly at Andovoranto. But difficulties arose between the three Societies over the geographical division of their work and not least over the proposed bishop for Madagascar; and in 1874 the CMS mission was wound up.

Work in the Seychelles was at first considered a branch of the East Africa mission and concentrated on an industrial school and settlement for liberated African slaves at Capucin Mountain. The institution was founded in 1875 by the Rev W B Chancellor who called it Venns Town. As the slave trade died, however, it became less useful and in 1894 the missionaries were called home and the work was handed over to the Seychelles branch of the Mauritius Diocesan Society.


CMS work in Sudan began at Omdurman in 1899 and Khartoum in 1900. Llewellyn Gwynne, Dr Frank Harpur and Archibald Shaw were members of the pioneer party which aimed to reach the pagan areas of the south, but it was not until 1905 that they were allowed to enter the area. Funds that had been collected in memory of General Gordon were used for the mission and the first station, Malek was opened in 1906.

As far as the development of the church was concerned the Sudan mission was considered by CMS as two distinctly different areas. The Northern Sudan mission was closely linked to Egypt and remained in the diocese of Egypt and the Sudan from its inauguration in 1920 until Sudan was made a diocese in its own right in 1945. But in 1920 the Southern Sudan mission was placed by CMS under the episcopal oversight of the bishop of Uganda and became part of the CMS Elgon mission. Six years later Bishop Leonard Kitching was consecrated first bishop of the Upper Nile diocese, whose jurisdiction covered the whole Elgon mission area. It was not until his death in 1935 that the Southern Sudan was restored to the diocese of Egypt and the Sudan.

The difference between the north and south of the country is also reflected in the ways in which the missionaries worked and in the results of their evangelism. In the north the work was mainly among Muslims, missionary activity was restricted and the church was small in numbers and largely identified with a few missionary institutions. Medical work centred on the hospital at Omdurman, though from 1926 there was also a dispensary in the north of the city at Abu Rof. In the 1930s there was added a baby welfare clinic, children's home and girls' elementary school. There were also girls' schools in Omdurman itself, Atbara (where work had begun in 1908) and, from 1916, in Wad Medani. In the 1930s the government asked CMS to open schools in the Nuba Mountains and they chose two centres, Salara in 1935 and Katcha in 1939. These schools were taken over by the Sudanese government in 1959.

In the south of the country there was a similar emphasis on education and medicine but the work was among the tribal peoples. Missionaries worked among the Dinka at Malek and Akot, the Nuer at Ler and Zeraf Island, the Zande at Yambio and Maridi and the Bari at Yei, Loka, Juba and Kajokaji.

The mission suffered from a shortage of staff and money in the 1920s and 1930s and found it difficult to fulfil some of the government's requests regarding education. All the stations had elementary vernacular schools for boys and girls but there was only one secondary school. This was the Nugent school, which was begun at Juba in 1920 and moved to Loka in 1929. The best pupils from all the mission schools were sent to Nugent either to the school itself or to its technical department.

By the late 1930s the mission and church were growing. The Revival spread from Uganda to the south of Sudan and by 1941 there were approximately 18,000 Christians. In that year the first ordinations took place, one of the ordinands being Daniel Deng who in 1955 was to become the first Sudanese Anglican bishop.



From its beginning the Society showed its concern for the area now known as the Middle East by encouraging translations of the Scriptures into Arabic and Persian. The latter was carried further by Henry Martyn during his brief stay in Persia in 1812. CMS had a vision of the ancient Eastern churches, then under Muslim Turkish rule, being revived and used as instruments for the conversion of the Muslims they lived amongst. The actual invitation to work towards this came from a Roman Catholic in Malta. In 1815 William Jowett (later to be a Secretary at headquarters) was sent out on a mission of enquiry to visit the oriental churches and, if possible, to start local Bible Societies to print and circulate the Scriptures in the vernacular. He made his headquarters at Malta and was able to establish a printing-press there.

In 1825 men were sent to Egypt to make similar contacts with the Coptic church and in 1830 they attempted to reach the ancient church in Ethiopia. At this time the Maltese press was producing Scriptures and prayer books in Arabic, Turkish, Greek, Italian, Maltese and Amharic. Decrees by the Turkish government against the circulation of the Scriptures had little effect, but Orthodox church leaders who at first welcomed the contact were not influenced by it, and the work did not fulfil the Society's expectations. The work in Malta and Ethiopia ceased in the 1840s and the first mission in Egypt (Cairo) was relinquished in 1862.

In 1849 a second mission of enquiry was sent out, prompted by a request from the bishop in Jerusalem (Samuel Gobat, a CMS missionary) and from British consuls in Syria and Mosul. The enquiry led to the Society's decision to start work in Palestine. In 1851 the Rev F A Klein (a brilliant linguist) was sent to Jerusalem, and other men soon followed, opening several stations, chief of which was Nazareth. The work provoked much opposition and for a time was much reduced, but a conference on Missions to Muslims called by CMS in London in 1875 gave a great impetus to their activity. Educational work was extended, medical work and work amongst women began. The statistics for the end of the century reflect this development for by 1899 there were 59 missionaries in Palestine of whom 28 were single women and three were doctors.

The winning of the Crimean War of 1854-1856 enabled the British and allied governments to force from the Sultan of Turkey a decree which appeared to secure religious liberty throughout the Ottoman Empire. Two missionaries were sent to Constantinople and for a time carried on remarkable work with a number of converts. Continued strong opposition by the Turkish authorities to work amongst the Muslim population made evangelism practically impossible. By the 1870s, when CMS was additionally handicapped by a financial crisis, it was decided to withdraw (leaving the work to the American mission) and the work officially closed in 1877.


After the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 CMS sent F A Klein to Cairo and the mission there was reopened. In 1883 work was also begun in Baghdad but this latter station was given up at the end of the First World War.

The Anglican Church in Egypt grew as a partnership between the missionaries and the British expatriates who had built churches and formed small congregations in Cairo and elsewhere. These groups came under the jurisdiction of the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem but in 1908 Llewellyn Gwynne, a CMS missionary, was appointed assistant bishop of Khartoum.

In 1920 Egypt and the Sudan were made into a separate diocese with Gwynne as bishop until his retirement in 1947. The Egyptian membership of the Anglican Church was small because CMS preserved its original intention from 1818 not to proselytise the Coptic or Evangelical churches but to aim at the evangelisation of the non-Christian population.

Cairo was a strong centre with not only schools for boys and girls but with the renowned Old Cairo Hospital which opened in 1889 under Dr Frank Harpur. In 1905 a book depot opened in Cairo. Its most famous publication was "Orient and Occident", a magazine in Arabic on religious and general subjects, begun by Douglas Thornton and W H Temple Gairdner. Its circulation spread far beyond Egypt and it was still being published in the 1980s. Thornton died in 1906 and Gairdner continued on his own until 1923 when Constance Padwick came as his assistant. All three considered Christian literature work an essential way to advance evangelism in a country of ancient culture and wide literacy.


Work in Iran was begun in 1869 by Robert Bruce, a CMS missionary who had been working on the borders of Afghanistan. Needing a knowledge of Farsi, he obtained the consent of CMS London to visit Isfahan on his way back to India from England. He settled at Julfa, the Armenian suburb of Isfahan and after a year persuaded CMS to let him stay longer, so that he could revise and complete Henry Martyn's translation work. After two years he had some enquirers seeking baptism and the Armenians had asked for a school. A short time later there was a famine and he organised relief work helped by money sent to him from Germany. As a result it was not until 1875 that he finally returned to England on leave, when the obvious support for his work together with his own enthusiasm led the Society formally to adopt the mission.

As in other countries medical work proved a firm base for evangelism. Dr E F Hoernle was sent to join Bruce in 1879 and he began medical work in Julfa. Miss Mary Bird pioneered work amongst women, opening a small dispensary in Isfahan in 1892. Dr Donald Carr carried on Hoernle's work in Julfa from 1894 and three years later the first woman doctor in Iran, Dr Emmeline Stuart, joined him to open and run the women's hospital.

In that year too work began in Kerman and within two years an offer of funding for a hospital was received. It was in Kerman that Dr G E Dodson pioneered surgery for the carpet weavers. He died in 1937 after 34 years service. Iranian dispensers had worked in Yezd from 1893 onwards and the work was officially taken on in 1898. Work at Shiraz, the other main centre began in 1900.

At the turn of the century there was a small but dedicated group of missionaries serving the nucleus of an Iranian church through translation and literary work, school and medical missions. The outbreak of the First World War led to the enforced evacuation of CMS missionaries in 1915 but they returned within eighteen months and after the end of the war there was growing contact with Christians in the north of the country. An industrial school for women and girls was begun in Isfahan in 1916, which assisted the revival of indigenous Iranian crafts.

From the late 1920s there was increasing government pressure on missionary institutions and in 1940 the Stuart Memorial College and nearly all the schools were closed. The Behesht-Ayin school at Isfahan and the Mehr-Ayin school at Shiraz which had Iranian principals survived as private schools for a time, though the Shiraz school was sold to the government in 1951.


CMS work began in Baghdad in 1883 and in 1898 it was set up as a separate mission. A hospital in a private house had been opened in 1896 and work spread to Mosul in 1901, where another hospital was built. Evangelism was directed towards the Shi'a Muslims but converts were few.

At the outbreak of the First World War two of the doctors were interned for a short time prior to all the missionaries leaving for Egypt where they worked during the war years. In 1919 the needs of retrenchment forced the Society to withdraw from its small mission and the property was sold.


In the years leading up to the First World War there was growing dissatisfaction with the organisation of both the church and the mission. In the church there was some friction between the decisions of CMS locally and the Palestine Native Church Council which was rightly developing as an independent body.

Some Arab pastors and their congregations appealed to London against the autocracy of the mission. Some of the women missionaries who were financially independent of the Society and who disagreed with mission policy resigned. This unhappy state of affairs was made worse by the outbreak of the First World War and the enforced departure of all the missionaries, who did not return until 1918.

In 1920 Wilson Cash the mission secretary in Egypt was appointed secretary for Palestine as well. He was later to be CMS General Secretary, the first with practical experience as a missionary. Cash's appointment and visits of delegations from London in 1921 and 1926 gave the mission a fresh start.

The work was divided into five districts, Jerusalem (with Gaza), Jaffa, Nazareth, Nablus and Transjordan. Medical work continued, notably at the hospitals at Gaza (where Robert Stirling had worked from 1893 to 1917) and at Jaffa, which was founded by Miss C A Newton and bequeathed by her to CMS in 1908.

The 1926 delegation recommended closer co-operation with other societies and approved the setting up in Jerusalem of the Newman School of Missions, a school of languages and Islamic studies for missionaries, whose director was a CMS missionary, Eric Bishop.

In education the mission was advised to concentrate on the Bishop Gobat School for boys and the Jerusalem Girls' College. The latter had as its headmistress in the 1940s Miss Winifred Coate, who, after the proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948 became well-known for her work in the Arab refugee camps in Zerka.



By the end of the eighteenth century, SPG was working amongst the settlers and traders in North West Canada, but the Gospel had hardly begun to reach the Indians of the interior or the Eskimos of the Arctic.

In 1822 CMS began its North-West America mission when two clergymen, John West and David Jones, started work on the Red River in Rupert's Land, an area visited by only one ship a year, during the short summer when Hudson Bay was free of ice. By 1837 a community of 600 baptised Indians had been gathered and the work prospered on a small scale. The first bishop of Rupert's Land was appointed in 1849 with oversight of a vast diocese with a thinly scattered population. The next year the first Indian clergyman Henry Budd, was ordained and made many converts among his countrymen on the Saskatchewan River. In 1851 a new centre at Moose Factory on Hudson Bay was opened and in 1858 Archdeacon Hunter undertook a great pioneer journey of 2000 miles beyond the Arctic Circle, opening up a vast new area of work.

By 1868 there were five Cree clergy as well as the missionaries and the newly formed dominion of Canada extended its rule over the entire area. Soon Bishop Machray of Rupert's Land was joined by CMS missionaries John Horden, (1872) in charge of Moosonee diocese, and W C Bompas (1874), responsible for Athabasca, while John McLean (not CMS) was the first bishop of Saskatchewan (1874-1887). This new impetus led to the founding of stations in Hudson Bay and Saskatchewan and rapid growth of the church among the Indians on the Yukon River.
Meanwhile in 1857 another new field had been entered, 500 miles north of Vancouver, when William Duncan was sent to work among the Tsimshean Indians in and around Fort Simpson. The discovery of gold in the Caribou in 1858 with the consequent influx of settlers, and the difficulties found by the young converts surrounded by non-Christians made Duncan decide to set up a Christian settlement elsewhere and in 1862 the mission transferred to Metlakatla. By the late 1870s this flourishing industrial settlement comprised about 1000 people, and in spite of a controversy which led to some of the original settlers moving to Alaska, the church on the Pacific coast spread along the rivers into the interior and among the islands off the coast.

Thirty years later as the centenary of CMS work in Canada approached, the Society began to bring to an end its work in that country, by handing over its responsibilities to the Church of England in Canada.

There had been a Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in Canada which worked among the Canadian Indians and also supported British societies' overseas missions, but had no overseas missions of its own. From 1895 there was also a separate and autonomous Church Missionary Association called the Canadian CMS, which directly recruited and supported missionaries to work in overseas fields under CMS. In 1902 the Canadian Church, realising its responsibility for overseas mission, developed the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society into the Missionary Society of the Church of Canada (MSCC) to which all baptised members of that Church belonged. It was therefore appropriate for it to take on the work amongst its own indigenous people.

It was agreed that CMS should make decreasing grants to eight dioceses for the support of a ministry among the Indians and Eskimos who had been the first care of the pioneer CMS missionaries; whilst the Canadian CMS partially amalgamated with the MSCC (though their candidates for CMS work were always referred to the CCMS for acceptance).
The official handover and CMS withdrawal took place at the centenary celebrations at Winnipeg in the autumn of 1920.


As has been shown it was not always possible for CMS to continue work in areas which were at first open to it; and one of the most important of these missions was in the West Indies. From 1813 in Antigua, through William Dawes (former governor of Sierra Leone), CMS had been involved in helping to provide schools for the slaves on the plantations. The Society's founders and supporters in England also took part in the long parliamentary struggle which led in 1833 to the passing of the Act to abolish slavery in British possessions.

Despite the unpopularity of the Act amongst the white planters many missionary agencies seized the opportunity of government support to expand their work and CMS began an extensive mission. In 1838 the Society had in the West Indies 13 ordained missionaries, 23 lay agents and seventy schools, while its congregations numbered about 8000. Shortage of funds forced a withdrawal about ten years later, but the work was handed over to the colonial church as an active and growing concern. The small mission in British Guiana was closed in 1855 and passed eventually to SPG.



When CMS was founded China was closed to all missionaries, though a small Christian community survived from sixteenth century Roman Catholic evangelism. Knowledge of this stimulated English interest in China and in 1807 the London Missionary Society sent out Robert Morrison; he died in 1834 having failed to penetrate beyond the permitted foreign trading areas. CMS had consulted Morrison when he was in England in 1824 and in 1835 corresponded with Charles Gutzlaff, a Prussian evangelist working under the Netherlands Missionary Society. He was renowned for his journeys in defiance of the Chinese authorities, sailing along the coast, distributing tracts wherever he could. His zeal encouraged CMS to send Edward Squire in 1836 to investigate possibilities of work. His reports were discouraging, however, and the outbreak of the first Opium War between Britain and China forced his return to England.

Ironically it was the Opium War that opened China to the Gospel. By the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 five Chinese ports were opened to Europeans (including missionaries); and Hong Kong was ceded to Britain. Many missionary societies immediately started work in mainland China. CMS was in a financial crisis, but an anonymous gift of £7,000 to start a China mission enabled them to send out two missionaries, George Smith and Thomas McClatchie in 1844. By 1847 work was established at Ningpo and Shanghai. In 1849 George Smith became bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong, having missionary jurisdiction over China.

The development of missionary work was beset by many difficulties. The country was vast with a large population and a sophisticated indigenous culture which was highly resistant to Christianity, regarding it as an insidious form of Western influence. Moreover, the language, with its innumerable dialects took many years to master. The educated Chinese (the literati) were violently opposed to the missionaries and encouraged the Chinese authorities to seek disputes with them, often (as at Foochow) over ownership of property. Property fights soured relationships with the British authorities too, exacerbated by the missionaries' denunciation of the opium trade. Then there were civil disturbances which could cause disruption for many years. The Taiping rebellion against the Chinese government which lasted from 1850 to 1866 was one of the most confusing as the rebels incorporated some Christian elements into their dogma and were at first viewed sympathetically by some of the missionaries. Outbreaks of hostility to foreigners were common, one of the worst resulting in the massacre in 1895 of ten missionaries (among them Robert Stewart and family) by insurgents in Fukien.

Despite all this the work prospered. Successive conflicts gradually opened up the interior of the country to Europeans and missionaries extended their work. In 1873 the Rev W Russell was consecrated bishop of North China and in 1880 the bishopric of Mid-China (Shanghai and Chekiang provinces) was established with the Rev G E Moule as its first bishop. In 1897 the mission was divided into three, South China (covering Hong Kong, Kwangtung and Fukien provinces), Mid-China and West China (Szechwan province); Fukien became a separate mission in 1900.

As in other missions prime emphasis had always been given to the training of native clergy and the development of the native church. One of the most important of the training colleges was that at Ningpo, founded by J C Hoare in 1875.

Unlike other countries, however, in which the British ruled, the authorities in mainland China usually opposed mission school education. Although schools were founded at most major mission stations (notably at Foochow, where Robert Stewart succeeded in establishing a college and boarding school) it was medical work that proved the most important instrument of evangelism.

William Welton, the first CMS doctor to go to China, began work in Foochow City in 1850. He was followed by Dr B Van Someren Taylor who started an itinerant mission, helped by medical catechists whom he had trained.

By the 1880s China had the largest group of dispensary hospitals in any one country in which CMS worked. Outstanding work was being done amongst opium addicts (begun in 1866 at Ningpo) and leprosy patients (notably at Pakhoi, from 1890, and Hangchow from 1892).
There were a very large number of missionary societies at work in China and co-operation and discussion were a particular feature, lacking in other areas of CMS work. The Society in particular learned much from Hudson Taylor's successes in Western China where he worked for the China Inland Mission. In 1890 a conference of missionary societies meeting at Shanghai called for 1000 new missionaries in the ensuing five years and of these a modest 44 came through CMS. Nevertheless by 1899 CMS had 196 missionaries assigned to China and, although Anglicans were a tiny minority of the Chinese Christian community there was scarcely a province to which the Gospel had not penetrated and congregations of believers were scattered throughout the length and breadth of the country.

By 1910 eleven Anglican dioceses had been formed. CMS worked on its own in three - Fukien (1906), Chekiang (1909) and Kwangsi and Hunan (1909), and in partnership with an Anglican section of the China Inland Mission in Western China (1895) and the diocese of Victoria Hong Kong. In 1912 the dioceses united to form the Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui (Holy Catholic Church of China) which in 1930 became a fully constituted province of the Anglican communion.

As CMS work developed the work was gradually separated into five missions. First the work was divided in 1885 between South China and Mid-China (from 1912 called Chekiang). In 1897 Western China was separated from Mid-China; in 1900 Fukien was split from South China; finally in 1911 the work in Kwangsi and Hunan was made independent of South China.


Work had begun in Hong Kong in 1862 and although it was a natural centre for the mission the main work was concentrated on the mainland. In 1886 Dr Horder opened a hospital in Pakhoi and medical work spread to Limchow in 1902 where a dispensary was established and to Yunnan (later called Kunming) in 1913, where Dr Gordon Thompson was head of the hospital from 1915. Canton was declared a mission station in 1898. Its two outstanding institutions were Holy Trinity College begun in 1908 as a boys' school and until 1914 also a training college for pastors; and St Hilda's school for girls, opened in 1916 under Gertrude Bendelack's leadership. Both schools survived until the Japanese invasion of Canton in 1938.

The greatest concentration of schools, however, was in Hong Kong. St Paul's College founded in 1850 became a boarding-school in 1914 and was still flourishing in the 1970s. St Stephen's College was founded by E Judd Barnett, an outstanding pioneer missionary who was its first warden from 1903. Barnett, who was skilled in organisation and fundraising was also instrumental in the setting up of St. Stephen's Girls' College in 1907 and he played a large part in the founding of Hong Kong University.

As the South China mission was the longest-established CMS mission in China it was not surprising that it achieved more nearly than the other missions the gradual transfer of power from mission to church which was a hallmark of CMS activity in the 1920s and 1930s. A Chinese Church Body had been formed in Hong Kong in 1902 and in 1913 the diocese was formally set up with a constitution and synod. By 1929 the diocesan board of missions had authority over foreign missionaries.

The diocese was led by a succession of men very closely connected with CMS and quite clear that mission was their primary task. R O Hall who was Bishop of Hong Kong from 1932 to 1966 was a remarkable and far-sighted man deeply committed to building up a vigorous Chinese church. He was ahead of his time in ordaining worker-priests (the first in 1938) and in 1944 he ordained Deaconess Florence Lee Tim-oi to the priesthood to serve the Anglican congregation in Macao, who were isolated by the Japanese occupation of south China.


CMS work in Chekiang had begun in Shanghai in 1845 and Ningpo in 1848 and then spread to Hangchow in 1865. Ningpo and Hangchow remained the centres from which further stations developed:- Shaohing in 1870 to the west and Taichow in 1892 to the south of Ningpo; the Chuki district in 1892 to the south and Tunglu in 1913 to the southwest of Hangchow.

Chekiang province was assigned to the southern part of the diocese of North China until 1880 when it was divided and G E Moule, the first CMS missionary in Hangchow, became Bishop of Mid-China. There was overlapping jurisdiction with the missionary bishop in Shanghai, who was from the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA. When Bishop Moule retired in 1908 the American bishops recognised Chekiang province as an "English" episcopal area and H J Molony was appointed as bishop in Chekiang. The CMS mission, however, continued to be responsible for work in Shanghai, where it had its headquarters office for all its work in China. As with other missions the transfer of authority from mission to diocese which began in 1910 was delayed by the disturbed state of the country in the 1920s so that it was not until 1937 with the outbreak of war with Japan that real authority was given to the Chinese clergy.

The nub of educational work in Chekiang was Trinity College Ningpo, where W S Moule was principal for twenty seven years. It had a lower elementary practice school as well as a teacher- training class and a divinity class for catechists and pastors. For several decades it provided a steady supply of teachers, catechists and clergy, though by 1923 it was changing to become a source of general education on Christian lines. Apart from the college the main secondary schools were boys schools at Shanghai (where W H A Moule was principal 1890-1924) and Shaohing which opened 1906 with P J King as principal; and two girls schools, St Catherine's Ningpo which opened 1869 with Miss Matilda Laurence as headmistress and the Mary Vaughan High School, Hangchow. All the schools closed in 1927 but were open again by the end of 1928 and survived into the 1930s.

The hospital at Hangchow was the pivot for medical work in Chekiang and the other hospitals at Ningpo and Taichow depended on it for staff and expertise. James Galt started medical work in Hangchow in 1871 but the outstanding name connected with the hospital is that of Dr Duncan Main who developed it from the time of his arrival in 1882. When he retired in 1926 it was dealing with 3,000 inpatients and 60,000 outpatients a year with over 1,000 major operations annually. It also included a fine medical school, whose development had been Main's chief interest from 1908 when CMS had first discussed the idea of medical training. The school was given provisional registration by the China Medical Association in 1926. The hospital was commandeered by the Japanese in 1937.


The Western China mission began in 1891 when J H Horsburgh led a pioneer party to Chungking in the province of Szechwan. By 1894 work had started in Mienchow, Chungpa, Anhsien, Mienchu and Sintu. All missionaries wore Chinese dress and their hallmark was direct personal evangelism. The province was isolated, the missionaries scattered and the persistent disturbed state of the countryside with war, banditry and general unrest made the work difficult and dangerous.

The diocese of Western China was formed in 1895 and the CMS work was in the west of the region, the eastern part being worked by the China Inland Mission. Bishop W W Cassels was working on a draft constitution for the diocese in 1910 but the reluctance at CMS headquarters to encourage rapid constitution making when there were no Chinese clergy in the CMS area and also the delicate relationshp with CIM areas where church membership was considerably in advance of CMS made progress slow. Only the evacuation of all the missionaries in 1927 forced the pace. In 1929 C T Song and H L Ku were consecrated assistant bishops but even in the 1930s the missionary conference was still more influential than the diocese.

Medical work in Western China centred on dispensaries with a hospital at Mienchu for thirty years under the charge of Dr J H Lechler. In education the missions provided primary schools in most stations and there were boarding-schools at Mienchow, but they never developed the large schools and colleges such as those in Hong Kong.

CMS also contributed to West China Union University College by appointing H G Anderson to the teaching staff (from 1938 to 1959 he was to be Medical Secretary at headquarters). The Union University had been set up by four missions from other denominations (American and Canadian) as a centre of Christian education and CMS was not connected with it until 1910 when Bishop Cassels appointed James Stewart as warden of the Anglican hostel. In 1919 CMS became a full partner, providing a series of members of staff in both the medical and arts faculties.


One of the distinctive marks of Fukien province was the large number of dialects spoken by the people. Most missionaries lived upcountry with little or no contact with other foreigners and because of the language problems they did not move about much. Even the Chinese church workers were limited in this respect.

The first work in the area began at Foochow in 1850 but in the 1880s it spread to Funing, Kutien, Lienkong and Loyuan and in the 1890s stations opened at Hinghwa, Kienow, Ningteh and Futsing. The development of the work warranted the mission being set up as an administrative unit in 1900 and in 1906 a diocese was formed with H McC E Price, a CMS missionary in Japan, as its first bishop. He was followed by John Hind who served from 1918 to his retirement in 1940. Bishop Hind was a missionary sent out through the Dublin University Fukien Mission. This had been founded in 1885 to recruit CMS missionaries from the university and to support them financially. DUFM dealt directly with CMS London, not with the mission secretary in Fukien. Together with the CEZMS which had many women workers in the province the three societies formed a strong partnership.

The process of diocesanisation was urged by Bishop Price from 1918 onwards and to some extent was spurred on by the recurring financial difficulties and retrenchment of the 1920s, but, as with other missions, progress was slow and transfer of authority was not completed until 1930. Even then the hospitals and dispensaries, which were numerous and widespread, were not accepted by the diocese, but continued under the Medical Mission Auxiliary, controlled from London. They were finally transferred in the 1940s by which time CMS had completed its gradual withdrawal of financial support.

CMS work was widespread in both education and medicine. There were hospitals with dispensaries in many places, the largest at Hinghwa begun in 1894 by Birdwood van Someren Taylor, who was principal of the Union Medical College in Foochow from its opening in 1911 until 1918. The college, a joint venture of Anglicans, American Congregationalists and Methodist Episcopalians closed in 1922. In 1937 another cooperative venture between CMS and the Methodist Episcopal Mission began at Sienyu. The Christian Union Hospital provided training for maternity nurses, who could help in the development of maternity and child welfare units, particularly in the villages.

In education Fukien mission was responsible for more schools and training institutions than any other of the CMS missions in China. As well as elementary schools in villages, boarding schools, boys and women's schools there was a divinity college at Foochow, theological classes at Hinghwa and Kienning, a teacher-training school and the Stewart Memorial College for Bible Women in Foochow.

CMS shared in a number of ecumenical projects in Foochow, including Fukien Christian University (mainly American and started in 1916), the Union Kindergarten Training School (CMS and CEZMS sharing with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the Methodist Episcopal Mission) and the Foochow Christian Women's School of Industrial Arts planned by CMS, CEZMS and the American Board and started in the early 1920s.

The Foochow Union Theological School which was opened in 1912 was a joint co-operative venture in Christian higher education by six Protestant missions. The co-operation ended in part because of differences in outlook and working practices between the American missions and CMS. There was also difficulty in finding educationally well-equipped candidates for the ministry which several missionaries acknowledged was caused by sheer lack of training offered by the mission.


The first bishop of Kwangsi-Hunan, William Banister, was consecrated in 1909. CMS had work in Kweilin from 1899 and in Yungchow from 1903, and in 1910 with the impetus of Banister's appointment missionaries entered Hengchow. The following year CMS declared the diocese an individual mission with its own secretary and conference, though it was the smallest of the CMS China missions, having only 18 missionaries. Its only large institution was the hospital at Kweilin, which had opened in 1910 and was in the charge of Dr Charlotte Bacon (née Bailey). Negotiations about the constitution of the diocese were begun by Bishop Banister in 1913, but the small numbers of Christians made progress slow and CMS did not agree the formal constitution until 1921. But the Church grew steadily and gradually control moved from the mission to the diocese. By 1930 it was almost complete and the 'Five Years Movement' initiated throughout the land by the National Christian Council of China gave a fresh impetus to evangelism. These years of peaceful growth and development had contrasted with the first twenty years of the century when there were continual power struggles and missionaries ran a constant risk of being captured by bandits. But in 1937 war with Japan broke out and many of the missionaries had to leave. When the republic was proclaimed in 1949 only a few returned and by 1951 they had all gone.


At the end of the eighteenth century Japan was closed to outside influence. No foreign Christian had been allowed to enter the country for some 200 years and Christianity was a proscribed religion, largely because of antipathy to the influence of Jesuit missionaries who had reached Japan in the sixteenth century. In the 1850s, however, the United States of America, needing additional ports for its steamer run to Hong Kong demanded and enforced a treaty, and Great Britain followed suit.

So it was that in 1859 American missionaries were able to enter Japan, though their work was still restricted and extremely difficult. It was not until 1869 that the Rev G Ensor, the first English missionary, landed at Nagasaki; and he was sent by CMS thanks to an anonymous gift of £4000 received two years earlier for the founding of a Japan mission.

Ensor could only receive enquiries privately, but some converts were made. By 1873, however, the government was pursuing a more liberal policy and CMS was able to place missionaries in five of the treaty ports. Osaka (occupied 1873), Tokyo (1874) and Hakodate (1874) remained the centres of CMS work until the end of the century; while from 1879 the work of Rev John Batchelor amongst the Ainu on the island of Yezu was outstanding.

Mission work spread through education and translation work as well as by the direct evangelism of the preaching chapels. The main educational centre was Osaka, where the most famous of the CMS girls' schools, later called Bishop Poole Memorial School, was opened in 1879 though its real development began with the arrival of Miss Katherine Tristram in 1888, who was to be its principal until 1925. The comparable school for boys, Momoyama Middle School, was not founded until 1890.

In 1883 the Japan bishopric was established with Rev A W Poole, a CMS man, as first bishop, and the following year a divinity college for the training of Japanese clergy was set up in Osaka. In 1887 again in Osaka delegates of the Japanese Christians met and formed themselves into the Japan Holy Catholic Church, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai. At the time there were only about 1300 Christians but Edward Bickersteth, then bishop of Japan, was passionately concerned that the small Anglican congregations should be effectively cared for. Before his death in 1897 he and the bishop of the American Episcopal Church saw six dioceses formed.

From then on the missionaries were gradually integrated into the structure of the NSKK, which itself became a province of the Anglican Communion in 1930. Missionary institutions, such as the schools, remained independent, except for the Central Theological College at Tokyo, begun in 1910 and officially opened in 1914. CMS London was already in 1921 suggesting withdrawal from Japan and transfer of its mission property to the NSKK and although this did not immediately take place the very proposal stimulated the movement to a self-supporting church. The number of European missionaries was significantly reduced, partly because some found the new conditions difficult to adjust to. There were many single women missionaries, however, as they had greater freedom than clergy to find new patterns of evangelism, because they were outside any Japanese official or social pattern.

There had been specialised work among soldiers from 1894 onwards and also among the Chinese students in Japan, though this came to an end in 1928 as a result of the wars in China.

There was a lack of progress in rural evangelism in the 1930s, but newspaper evangelism proved effective under the leadership of Rev Murray Walton and Rev M S Murao until radio replaced newspapers after the Second World War.


The Loochoo Naval Mission was begun in February 1843 by a small group of naval officers, who wished to send a missionary to the Loochoo Islands (Ryukyu Islands), aiming thereby to reach Japan. When their application to CMS was refused the officers set up an independent fund and sent out Dr Bernard Jean Bettelheim, who was succeeded by Rev G H Moreton. When Moreton's health failed the mission came to an end. In 1861 the balance of the funds was given to CMS as a basis of support for evangelistic work in Japan, when that should be possible. CMS began work in Japan in 1869.

The very small archive comprises the secretaries' papers and correspondence as well as the lengthy journals of Bettelheim and Moreton. The archive is enlivened by the naval connection, not only by the briskness of some of the comments from the secretaries, but by the inclusion of such odd items as the 1842 designs and plans for "gangway annular scupper mouths" for use in frigates and the description of riots at Dingle, Co Kerry, Ireland c1850.



CMS first corresponded with Ceylon in 1813 and in 1818 four missionaries arrived, Samuel Lambrick (who was to settle at Kotte just outside Colombo), Robert Mayor and Benjamin Ward (who began the work at Baddegama in the south) and Joseph Knight, who worked amongst the Tamils at Nellore in the Jaffna peninsula.

Progress was painfully slow. Ceylon had been ruled by the Dutch from 1658 to 1796 and they had enforced Protestant Christianity on the people. The religious liberty granted by the British resulted in numerous lapsed and nominal Christians who were indifferent to the Gospel.

The missionaries began by setting up printing presses at Kotte and Jaffna and by opening schools, of which the most notable were at Chundicully (later known as St John's College, Jaffna) and at Kandy (first begun in 1857 and re-opened in 1872 as Trinity College). Gradually the church developed. The first two Singhalese clergy were ordained in 1839 and in 1845 Ceylon was granted its own bishop (having formerly been part of the diocese of Madras).

The CMS missionaries did not work well with the bishop. They were in a particularly independent position, partly because of geographical distance from Colombo but mainly because unlike the CMS India missions, there was no Corresponding Committee, which would have had the bishop as chairman. This left all power over mission affairs in the hands of the mission conference which met twice a year, and in particular gave supreme authority to the senior missionary who received and allotted mission funds. The conference moreover, recognised only the authority of the London committee.

By 1876 when young Bishop Copleston arrived CMS work was marked by this tradition of independence. Its missionaries had long experience and were dominated by the conference secretary Rev William Oakley, who had been in Kandy since 1835.

Moreover, in addition to the regular work amongst the Singhalese a CMS missionary had sole superintendence of the special Tamil Coolie mission (begun in the 1850s) with trained catechists from Tinnevelly working under him amongst the coolies in the coffee and tea plantations.

Bishop Copleston wanted the Tamil Coolie catechists to work under the chaplains who ministered to the Europeans on the plantations. The CMS missionaries objected to this, particularly as they distrusted the high church practices adopted by many chaplains. This led to a controversy with the bishop over the extent of his authority which spread to England its bitterness between high and low church parties and very nearly caused a schism.

The main points of the dispute were settled in 1880 however, and friction was lessened by the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in the following year, (when the government withdrew its ecclesiastical subsidies). Final resolution of the debate came in 1886, the year that Oakley died, when the new constitution of the Church was formally adopted.

As in other countries the missionaries were faced with retrenchment and financial difficulties from 1910 onwards. Numbers of staff were reduced and the responsibility for maintaining the system of schools was gradually handed over to the diocese. In the mid 1920s there was a definite policy of concentrating on the education of future leaders of the Church of Ceylon by providing first class secondary education for boys and girls. By 1941 the vernacular and Anglo-vernacular schools had been transferred to the diocese, leaving four English schools. These were CMS Ladies' College Colombo and Chundicully College Jaffna for girls, Trinity College Kandy and St John's College Jaffna for boys.

CMS Ladies College had been founded in Colombo in 1900 by Miss Lilian Nixon, its first principal. She was followed from 1917 to 1944 by Miss Gwen Opie. It became an independent school in 1951 when it opted out of the Singhalese government's free education scheme. Trinity College Kandy had Alec G Fraser as its principal for twenty years from 1904. He aimed to make the pupils good citizens and to train them in Christian leadership. He was also responsible for setting up the training college for teachers and evangelists at Peradeniya. It was the only CMS co-operative mission venture in Ceylon and Paul Gibson was its first principal from 1915 when it began with 10 men. The Methodists joined as partners in 1917 and Baptists also sent some students. Women students were accepted from 1916 onwards with Miss R M Overton of CEZMS in charge of them.


When CMS began work in India the British East India Company would not allow missionaries in the areas which it administered and restricted the official ministrations of its chaplains to the European communities. When Henry Martyn offered to CMS in 1802 and the Society was unable to send him out as a missionary, he was appointed a Company chaplain. His six years in Calcutta justified the Society's hope of his "influence among the heathen", not least in the life of one of the earliest converts, Abdul Masih, who had heard Martyn preach. Abdul was later to work as the Society's first lay agent and be ordained as one of the first Indian clergymen of the Anglican church.

In England William Wilberforce was leading a movement for the revision of the East India Company charter to enable missionaries to preach the Gospel to the Indians. In Calcutta a group of Christians and Christian officials of the Company had formed a committee to consult CMS about methods of preparing for and exploiting any consequent openings. So when in 1813 the Charter Bill was passed, CMS already had missionaries training for work in India. The Bill also provided for the establishment of bishoprics in India and in 1814, the year that the first two CMS missionaries arrived in Madras, the first bishop of Calcutta was consecrated.

Bishop Middleton's relationship with CMS was difficult, though he founded a mission college in Calcutta to which the Society contributed. His successor, Reginald Heber, was an ardent CMS supporter and, unlike Middleton, in his brief episcopate licensed the missionaries and ordained their lay agents.

NORTH INDIA 1799-1857

CMS work in north India developed rapidly, because, unlike any other of the Society's missions it was controlled from the first by the committee in Calcutta. London provided men and money, but other helpers and funds were found locally. The committee decided the location of all the missionaries, catechists and lay agents and was therefore swiftly able to take advantage of any openings. And there were many of these, for Company officials and army officers often started missionary work or raised money for it and then asked the Calcutta committee for missionaries.

The Society was thus enabled to progress by its usual three-fold means of education, printing and the establishment of mission stations with ordained missionaries at their head.

The first CMS school to be opened was Jai Narayan's Boys' School at Benares (the modern Varanasi). The building was a gift from a Hindu, who offered his house as a place where the new western learning might be taught. That was in 1818 and in 1822 the first classes for girls were begun in Calcutta by Miss Mary Ann Cooke, the first woman CMS missionary in India.

In 1837/8 there was a terrible famine and the Calcutta committee supported relief work and opened orphanages at Sikandra and Agra. Because the Christians naturally did not observe caste it was difficult to find trades for the orphans and so a new trade, printing, was introduced. The press prospered so well that it not only paid for the orphanages, but was able to finance other mission institutions in Agra.

One such institution was St John's College. The committee of the local Church Missionary Association in Agra had proposed founding a college where higher English education on Christian lines might be given to upper class Hindu boys. Money was collected and the college opened in 1852. Within five years it had 320 pupils and several branch schools established as feeders.

Also in 1852 came the opening of the mission in the Punjab, where Christian officers administering the newly conquered province and American Presbyterian missionaries approached CMS for help. The mission was centred on Amritsar and from there spread to Peshawar in the strongly Muslim North West Frontier province.

Then in 1857 came the Indian Mutiny. The Mutiny was confined almost entirely to the present Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and, although it originated in a mass of misunderstandings and grievances, it was an unplanned attack aimed by the soldiers at their British officers. In every place where the Mutiny broke out the Christian converts, who were considered followers of the British, were scattered; mission property was looted and destroyed and though CMS missionaries escaped, many others were killed.

SOUTH INDIA 1799-1857

The first two CMS missionaries to India were German Lutheran clergymen, J C Schnarre and C J Rhenius and they were sent to Madras. Rhenius was a brilliant linguist, self-confident and independent in spirit. This, combined with the difficulties of Lutherans working under an Anglican Society led to strain between him and the Madras Corresponding Committee, and in 1820 Rhenius was transferred to Palamcottah (Palayamkottai) in Tinnevelly.

From the first the mission was astonishingly successful. Rhenius enforced discipline amongst his catechumens but, although he collected the converts into Christian villages, they never became dependent on the mission as others in Tanjore and Vepery did. Trouble came in the 1830s, however, when Rhenius was strongly influenced by one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren and attacked Anglican church order so violently that CMS was forced to disconnect him. Schism in the church followed, but was healed after Rhenius' death in 1838. Then, despite some difficulties, the church spread rapidly throughout Tinnevelly.

Madras had for long been the centre of missionary work by many Christian societies of all denominations. CMS matters were administered by a Corresponding Committee, a remarkable group of laymen, with the bishop of Madras as chairman and a CMS missionary as secretary. The work did not grow as swiftly as in Tinnevelly, though an important influence was the Divinity class, carried on from 1837 to 1847, when separate institutions were then opened in Tinnevelly and Travancore.

The mission in Telegu was centred on schools, of which the outstanding one was the Noble College, Masulipatam; while in Travancore, where the work was originally begun in order to help the reformation of the ancient Syrian church, the mission proper continued with schools, printing presses and translation work.


The mission centred on Bombay was always one of the smallest in India. The first CMS missionary arrived in 1820, to work in Bombay itself, but the scope was always confined. The main area of work was in the Nasik district, where in 1854 the Rev W S Price founded the Christian village of Sharanpur. This had not only schools, an orphanage and teacher-training classes, but also gave training in agriculture to some of the children. During the 1860s it was also to include the African asylum where slaves freed from East African raiders were trained, many to return to Frere Town as "Nasik" boys.

INDIA 1858-1899

The Indian Mutiny had raised the whole question of the relationship between religion and government and led to the abolition of the East India Company and the re-establishment of direct British rule under the Crown, with its promise of strict religious neutrality. At the same time the development of a country-wide educational system, and the introduction of postal services and railway communications, broke down regional differences and even moderated caste prejudice; and this was reflected in the church and mission work.

In education the Church was not always able to take advantage of government support and theological education suffered particularly badly from division of effort and lack of continuity. Higher education for girls, however, advanced rapidly, helped by the zenana missionary societies which were staffed by women whose educational and medical skills reflected the change in their social position and education in England. CMS shared work and missionary training with the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society, and it was CEZMS who ran the Sarah Tucker Institution at Palamcottah which in 1896 became the first college for women in south India.

It was at the Sarah Tucker Institution also in the 1890s that the first educational mission work began amongst the blind and deaf. This was another facet of the Christian caring shown by the quality of nursing in the medical missions. There were many mission hospitals augmenting the government medical service. CMS opened four on the North West Frontier of which one, Quetta (where work began in 1885), was to become world-famous for eye-surgery.

The growing ease of communication aided the development of the Church. In the north there were new openings in the Punjab and Sind, the North West Frontier and even Kashmir (where Dr Elmslie began medical work in Srinagar in 1865). In the 1860s CMS also took over work amongst the Santals and the mission in Chota Nagpur, begun by Pastor Gossner, a Lutheran, in 1845. At the same period in the south there were mass movements in Travancore and Telegu with thousands of people converted. Throughout India the Church formed new dioceses, while many Indian clergy were ordained and church councils were developed. By the end of the century the Indian church was preparing for the independence it was at length to gain in 1930.

INDIA 1900-1949

Earlier hopes that the CMS home constituency would be able and willing to support the tremendous increase of staff and opportunities that had opened up in the 1890s were already fading by 1910. The 1920s were a decade of retrenchment. CMS was faced with a growing financial crisis which, together with a transformed political climate following the First World War, led to a re-consideration of its basic methods of work. Henry Venn's idea of the self-governing, self-supporting and self-extending church which, once set up, could free the missionary to go to "the regions beyond" had in practice become static. A paternalistic mission with its own governing authority was in many places stronger than the church, while in evangelism, education and medical work there was emphasis on work in cities and the massive rural population was comparatively neglected.

In 1921-22 CMS sent a delegation of headquarters' Secretaries to India. They reported the urgent need to transfer control from the mission to the Church. At the same time they recognised the needs of the villages, noting particularly the Mass Movements throughout India which were an entirely rural development. These twin needs of diocesanisation and rural outreach were the theme throughout the 1920s and 1930s though the change in role for CMS as in other countries was not completed until the 1950s after the independence of India and Pakistan.

The Mass Movements which started during the First World War were not a new phenomenon in India. There had been such a mass conversion amongst the Shanars in Tinnevelly in the 1850s, but these were remarkable enough to produce special appeals for funds among the CMS supporters in Britain. In 1918 a Mass Movement campaign was launched in London, with Canon D S Johnson of Manchester a leading figure in raising support particularly from northwest England. The 1920 CMS Annual Sermon by Bishop Azariah of Dornakal reinforced the appeal. The Telegu movement in the south was the largest (helped by special funds raised by Canon Johnson) and in 1928 there were 45,000 people in the area under instruction for baptism. In the north the villages were more scattered and the Christians were fewer. Bishop Whitehead of Madras had urged in 1917 the tremendous need for more trained village workers and Indian clergy, for the CMS districts were too large and unwieldy for effective supervision. Among the women, help from women missionaries was indispensable and CMS was helped by staff from CEZMS and the Zenana Bible and Medical Mission.

The CMS Medical Committee at headquarters encouraged rural development and in the 1930s the larger hospitals such as those at Bannu and Multan became the base from which teams of trained medical assistants were sent round the villages, teaching basic health rules and holding clinics. Vidyanagar had a mobile unit which visited the more remote villages with staff who had been instructed in hygiene and preventive medicine. In 1939 the Travancore and Cochin mission had a floating dispensary (a 'wallam') at Kottayam. [A model of a 'wallam' was used as a collecting box by MMA supporters in England].

The spread of education to the villages had begun in 1919 when the National Missionary Council set up a commission on village education (with Alec Fraser, CMS principal of Trinity College Kandy as chairman). The commission's report in 1920 proposed the setting up of vocational middle schools for each district, that would provide village boys with industrial and technical skills. CMS missionaries worked on such schemes at Vidyanagar and Sikandra. Ten years later a conference at Poona on rural missionary work proposed rural reconstruction units for which the village pastor and teacher would be key figures. Groups of villages were to have some kind of community council to deal with such matters as education, health and economic and social progress. None of these schemes was successful in the long term because the communities did not need the types of agriculture and industry that the boys were taught.

The encouragement of rural outreach and the redeployment of staff led to the reduction of work in the city schools, an aspect of urban evangelism which CMS felt should be undertaken by the Church. These day schools for non-Christian girls provided them with basic educational skills and were to prove valuable as more importance was given to the need for educated wives and mothers.

Other urban education was not so badly affected. The CMS boarding schools for girls, of which the Alexandra School at Amritsar was a notable example, educated girls who later qualified as doctors, teachers and nurses. There was also one women's college, the Sarah Tucker College, Palamcottah, which was raised to a degree college in 1939.

The high schools for boys were harder hit. They all prepared boys for college and retrenchment meant nearly all of them were given up. There were a few exceptions, such as the famous Tyndale-Biscoe School at Srinagar, renowned for its English public-school regime and the Jai Narayan School at Benares which had special endowments. Colleges were comparatively little affected because most of their income came from fees and government grants. The Society paid the allowances of the missionaries on the staff, but in practice found more difficulty in finding suitably qualified staff than in paying their allowances. It was this kind of difficulty that led to the incorporation of Noble College Masulipatam with the American Lutheran college at Guntur in 1938 when it changed its name to Andhra Christian College. CMS also shared in Madras Women's Christian College and Kinnaird College for women in Lahore. This last was founded by ZBMM. It also continued to contribute to Bishop's College, the theological college in Calcutta.

It was in the training of the clergy that the paternalistic attitude of the missionaries most showed itself. In addition to Bishop's College which was equally supported by CMS and SPG there were two other divinity schools in north India, St John's Divinity School Lahore and Shikarpur vernacular Divinity Training School which had opened in 1930 under P J Heaton. But there was a continuing shortage of well-educated candidates because Indians did not want to be mere missionaries' assistants. They wanted parity of stipend and opportunity for advancement. Joint theological training was suggested in 1929 at Saharanpore where CMS joined with Baptists and Presbyterians, but this closed in 1934 because there were not enough European staff. The following year the CMS Secretaries visited India and proposed a North India Clergy Training School at Khatauli. SPG sent students but did not support it financially. It worked well until 1947 when with partition it lost almost half the area from which its students came and in 1950 it was forced to close.

Outreach work had been developed, but diocesanisation was slow to achieve. The 1921-22 Delegation had recognised that in India the bishop and the CMS mission secretary had developed into two parallel authorities. The simple expedient of the CMS committees solving the problem by replacing Europeans with Indians would only perpetuate the fault. Bearing in mind the new political climate after the First World War and the aspirations for self determination of the Indian Christians the CMS General Committee in 1923 approved the transfer of CMS work to the diocese as a matter of urgency. In south India the administrative change was rapid with the Madras, Telegu and Tinnevelly missions completing handover by 1924 and Travancore and Cochin in 1927. The missions in north and west India were all basically reluctant, mainly preferring to adopt a form of local councils based on the original CMS committees, which were related to the diocese. Indeed in the Punjab complete diocesanisation was only achieved in 1947 when the English chaplains had to leave the country.

Even in dioceses where the administrative transfer was achieved and working well there still remained the transfer of financial control without which the Indian Church could not truly be self-governing. For this to be achieved CMS had to transfer the properties it owned in India. In 1926 a special meeting of the General Committee authorised CMS to deal with and dispose of all its properties either by transfer to the diocese or by sale where more appropriate, and a sub-committee was set up to deal with this. Its report in 1931 was sent to the mission secretaries and included lists of properties which might be sold. This was not accepted by either the missionaries or the local church as they did not agree to the money from the sale being returned to England and did not appreciate that any loss of properties, even by transfer, meant loss of capital to CMS on which the Society could raise the bank overdrafts it needed to continue its work in India and elsewhere. Matters were made worse because since the First World War CMS had carried the cost of the adverse rate of exchange between the pound and rupee, which had forced it into these large overdrafts. So the Society felt that it was only just that it should have back the money that it needed.

In 1934 the General Secretary (Wilson Cash), India Secretary (Sir Cusack Walton) and the CMS accountant L H Hardman (who had compiled the property registers and reported on them in detail) went to India and met the Christian leaders, including Mr Rallia Ram. There was determination and goodwill on both sides, but discussions were still going on when the Second World War began and while CMS continued to urge the Church to accept control of the properties, some people in India considered that foreign owned properties were then more secure than those owned by a small Christian community.

India was one of the oldest and largest of the CMS mission fields. The Anglican Church, which hundreds of CMS missionaries had served, had achieved its independence as an autonomous province in the Anglican Communion in 1930. The movement towards church union had begun as far back as 1872, when at the Allahabad inter-mission conference, John Barton, CMS mission secretary, read a paper on "The Indian Church of the Future". In it he discussed and expounded the underlying unity which crossed denominational boundaries. From the 1890s there had been inter-church and inter-mission activity; three Presbyterian churches in south India had joined to form the South India United Church. The Edinburgh Conference of 1910 gave great impetus to this movement. In that year Anglicans held a meeting with the SIUC. V S Azariah was present and he arranged another conference at Tranquebar in 1919, the first of many. Gradually more churches joined in the discussions, difficulties were overcome and the Church of South India was inaugurated in September 1947. CMS strongly supported the scheme throughout.

In north India the movement began later, the Presbyterian and Congregational churches uniting in 1924. Relationships between the Methodists and Anglicans were complicated and the wider range of ecclesiastical traditions slowed progress, so that it was not until 1970 that the two United Churches of North India and Pakistan came into being.



The Church can be said to have been planted in Australia in 1786, when a chaplain accompanied the first shipload of convicts sent to settle there. The chaplains' work, however, was largely confined to the settlers. Missionary work amongst the aborigines began in 1830, when at the request of the Colonial Government, CMS sent two men, Rev J C S Handt and Rev W Watson, to start a mission in Wellington Valley. The work was not easy, and when difficulties arose with the authorities in Sydney and continued government support for the mission was uncertain, the Society withdrew.

Interest was not revived until the very end of the century, when in 1892 CMS Associations were set up in New South Wales and Victoria. At first these provided a flow of missionary recruits for the London CMS, while encouraging missionary concern in the Australian church. In the next century they were to take charge of the CMS mission in Tanganyika.


The mission in New Zealand sprang from New South Wales. Samuel Marsden, senior chaplain to the colony, asked CMS in 1808 for men to start work amongst the Maoris. In spite of the difficulties of communication involved in so remote an enterprise, two men, John King and William Hall, were sent out by CMS in 1809. On their arrival in New South Wales they heard that a British ship's crew had been killed by the Maoris, and they had to wait five years for a passage to New Zealand. At last in 1814, with a group of other men who had joined them in Australia, they landed in the Bay of Islands.

This first group went out as settlers rather than missionaries for they believed that Christianity would follow on the heels of civilisation. They began by introducing new crafts and methods of agriculture, making roads and setting up a boarding school for the Maori children. Marsden continued to make the 1000 mile journey from Australia to encourage and supervise them.

Lack of specific missionary training and the sporadic and distant control over their activities proved disastrous and many men returned to Australia. It was not until the mid 1820s with the arrival of CMS missionaries Henry and William Williams that any progress was made.
The first Maori convert was baptised in 1825 and within a year or two of Marsden's last visit in 1837 there were about 30,000 Maoris attending Christian worship. New missionaries continued to arrive and the work spread with increasing success to practically all sections of the Maori nation.

This early achievement was not sustained. As white settlers poured into the country there was need for some authority to control them.

In 1840 New Zealand was declared a British colony. The missionaries, who throughout upheld the rights of the Maoris and supported them against injustice, urged them to accept the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) which offered them self-government.

In 1852, however, a new constitution was passed which, by enforcing a property qualification on the Maoris virtually disenfranchised them as their lands were held in common. From this injustice sprang the Land Wars with their movements for a separate Maori state and a specific rejection of the white man's religion. Now, the first bishop of New Zealand had been cautious about ordaining Maori clergy, and the first Maori was not priested until 1856 (the year the diocese was divided). This was only a short time before the wars broke out.

The lack of Maori leaders of the church at a time when the missionaries were forced to leave the tribal areas, and the vitality of the "Hau Hau" religion which was based on Christianity, resulted in a rapid decrease in numbers of Christians. By the time the wars were over the Church had practically withered away.

In 1882 the administration of the Maori work was committed to a local board and CMS financial support was gradually withdrawn over the next twenty years.

By the end of the century the first dream of a Christian Maori state had gone; but there was a small Anglican Maori Church with 66 clergy.


The Society consists of its members: the missionaries, the supporters and the staff at headquarters.

We have seen how during the first century of its life, CMS sent out missionaries who were used to plant churches in every continent. The task of the Society's supporters and headquarters staff was then, and is today, to find and train these missionaries and to support and sustain them in their work.


The Society had to wait some years for its first missionaries, until 1804 in fact, and then the first two men were not English, but German Lutheran clergy trained in the Berlin Seminary.

Except for three artisans who went to New Zealand in 1809 and 1813, no Englishmen went out under CMS until 1815. That year a schoolmaster was posted to Sierra Leone and the first three CMS clergymen sailed, William Greenwood to north India, Thomas Norton to south India and William Jowett (later to be Secretary at headquarters) to Malta.

Greenwood and Norton had both been trained under the first Secretary, Rev Thomas Scott. All the earliest missionaries were trained by various friends of the Society who had the recruits to live in their own homes. The first such friend was William Dawes (former governor of Sierra Leone) who had the students taught Arabic, and Susu (if going to Africa) or Persian and Hindustani (for those going to India), as well as tropical medicine, astronomy, mathematics, "mechanical arts", surveying and "building good, plain, comfortable houses".

As numbers of candidates increased it became more difficult to find sufficient suitable teachers and in 1825 the Society opened its own training college, the Church Missionary Institution, at Islington. Candidates were normally expected to be in their twenties, with a good basic education and of attested piety. The principal was helped at first by part-time tutors and by the 1840s two full-time assistants: the resident tutor taught English and also had the general instruction of "all the inferior classes" (sincere but poorly educated candidates); the classics tutor taught Latin, Greek, Hebrew and scientific subjects; the principal's task was the teaching of divinity and the training of character (including the correction of manners as many students had "never had the advantage of polite society").

Students came largely from the aspiring professional classes and the few of working class origin were skilled artisans who, sent out as catechists and lay agents to 'rougher' parts of the world, hoped to be ordained on some future occasion when they had proved their worth. The emphasis on ordination training did not leave much time for missionary skills which in practice were of the greatest importance. In the late 1860s the college curriculum was changed and broadened to include the theology needed for dialogue with Muslims and Hindus, methods of education, medicine, botany, comparative philology, agriculture and gardening. Elementary Latin and Greek became a prior requisite for entry, so a Preparatory Institution was opened at Reading in 1869, at first to equip students for Islington, but later used in its own right as a source for schoolmasters and other unordained missionaries.

Islington was, of course, for men. For women there was no training until the 1890s. From the first the wives of missionaries were expected to teach the girls and women, but although a few women (usually schoolteachers) were sent out in the 1820s and 1830s for specific posts, the only unmarried women to serve under CMS went to join relatives already working overseas. By the 1880s however, the combination of requests for women missionaries from the mission field, coupled by offers from women and general pressure of public opinion towards the emancipation of women, led CMS to change its policy. Three ladies were sent to East Africa and following an appeal for 'Christian ladies with private means', ten were sent to Palestine. Between 1891 and 1900 388 women were accepted and arrangements for their training were made, either at "The Willows", Stoke Newington, or for those of lower social position and education, the Highbury Training Home.

In the first half of the twentieth century the role of the missionary gradually changed from that of leader and overseer to partner. The paternalistic mission authority was to be replaced by encouraging the development and independence of the Church for which they were to work. At first there was a suggestion that missionaries might continue to lead from within the Church: nearly all the higher ranks of clergy were Europeans and indeed the bishops remained so until the 1950s and 1960s. But by the 1930s this had largely changed and in the Society's instructions to missionaries they were asked to "undergird these young churches, to give them our fellowship and to share with them the rich heritage of our Christian experience...we believe this can be best accomplished by missionaries becoming partners and co- operators in the Church".

This development of diocesanisation was reaffirmed in the CMS Commission of 1932-34. Its report proposed that the Society should transfer its ultimate control of grants to the diocese but it also suggested that it should have its representative in each diocese to look after CMS affairs. Individual missionaries should continue to be linked by correspondence with the CMS supporters and the Secretaries at home. Any inconsistency apparent between this proposal and the Society's desire for their missionaries to be controlled by the Church is explained by the need CMS felt to reassure its supporters that the missionaries were still CMS agents. By the 1940s this was understood and the men and women sent out after the Second World War were very much the forerunners of the mission partners of today.

The actual training of missionary candidates though vulnerable to cuts in times of financial stringency continued at Islington College and Kennaway Hall. Islington closed in 1915 as a result of the war and regular training for men was not restored until 1927. Women's training was not interrupted but in 1938 it was decided to move away from London and 'Foxbury', a house at Chislehurst, was purchased. With the outbreak of war the following year some women were moved to Selly Oak, Birmingham, where a united college for men's training during the war had been proposed. CMS headquarters moved to 'Foxbury' but the house was bombed in 1940 and then commandeered by the army. It was not reopened for women's training until 1946, the same year that 'Liskeard Lodge' at Blackheath was bought for the men. They in turn moved to Chislehurst in 1952 and remained there until the autumn of 1969 when men and women's training was amalgamated and moved to Crowther Hall, Selly Oak.


From the very beginning of the Society there was a continual two- way flow between headquarters in London and friends in the British Isles. The Committee asked for prayer support and financial help from the friends, who found fresh supporters and asked in turn for information or proffered ideas of their own. It was, and is, a two-way partnership in mission.

At first news of CMS spread by word of mouth, with London sending out its first publication "An Account..." of the Society, and later its annual reports. Soon the CMS Secretary was being asked to come and speak to groups of supporters.

It was in 1813 that the first series of journeys or preaching tours was made by the Honorary Secretary and other friends of the Society (notably Rev Basil Woodd), visiting many parts of England, preaching and holding public meetings. In numerous places local CMS Associations were founded and groups of penny-a-week collectors were organised. The original idea of these was to provide a way in which everyone could support the Society, and they proved immensely popular, quickly spreading to places not visited by the deputation speakers.

The interest aroused by the meetings was not merely financial. The churches themselves were invigorated and requests for information about the missions overseas and gifts of money for their support were coupled with offers from prospective candidates.

The Society produced a series of Quarterly Papers for the penny- a-week subscribers explaining what CMS was doing, giving extracts from the missionaries' letters and asking subscribers for their support. First appearing in 1816 they proved most popular and were the fore-runner of a great series of magazines and publications aimed at all classes and types of subscribers and supporters.

It was now too that the series of anniversary meetings in London began with the Annual Sermon (the first given on Whit Tuesday 1801), followed by the annual general meeting. By the end of the century the May meetings, as they were popularly called, also included the General Secretary's Breakfast (when he spoke to an inner circle of officers and friends of the Society) and the dismissal meetings for the missionaries, when friends of the Society had an opportunity to meet the workers overseas.

The development of the Society was not always as vigorous as in the first thirty years. Indeed from the 1840s onwards CMS was faced with one financial crisis after another and for many years its income did not balance its expenditure. Yet throughout the century when it adopted a policy of faith and followed John Venn's principle of putting prayer and study before the raising of money, the missionaries and their support were provided.

In 1890 there came from a group of CMS supporters meeting at Keswick suggestions which were to take the society vigorously into the twentieth century. Of these the chief was the idea of "appropriated contributions", (money in addition to, not instead of, ordinary contributions to the general funds of the Society). These contributions soon added many thousands of pounds to the Society's annual income, and were frequently given by individuals, groups or parishes towards the support of "our own missionary". An additional and more direct link was thus forged between the supporters and the mission work and was to lead to mutual encouragement and support.

The growth of secularisation was already discernible even at the time of the Society's most rapid expansion in the 1890s and the financial encouragement given to CMS at the time of the Keswick letter was not sustained. Indeed for the next fifty years the only time that the budget was balanced was during the two World Wars when there was enforced reduction in the training and movement of missionaries. But the Society's supporters held firm. In 1915 at the Swanwick conference they called for advance and within the year raised £100,000 which wiped out the accumulated deficits. This continued support at a time when some churches were showing a steady decline in membership came partly from the strong personal contacts between the parishes and the missionaries and partly because of the continual flow of information and encouragement from headquarters provided both through literature and through a variety of meetings and organisations.

The 'Own Missionary' scheme was extremely popular and the prayer letters sent by the missionaries to their family and friends developed into the Link scheme with letters from individual missionaries and also from institutions such as schools and hospitals. These were distributed to parishes by the Partnership/Links section of the Home Division at headquarters. The Society's numerous publications were available to all supporters either in popular form such as the CM Gleaner (the forerunner of the present day Yes) or, for the more intellectual reader, The Intelligencer later called the CM Review. Under the leadership of Eugene Stock as Editorial Secretary CMS provided a vast supply of literature for all needs and for readers of every age and class.

Most publications naturally centred on the overseas work, but The Home Gazette was concerned with everything that was happening at headquarters and within the British Isles. It reported on the activities of both Associations and individual members, as well as carrying information on the resources needed for local meetings and events, such as films, slides and books. There were also many magazines for young people, most notably The Round World (which had begun as The Juvenile Instructor in 1842 when it was popularly known as "the little green book") as well as games, jigsaw puzzles and lots of books. Last, but by no means least, there were the publications for the various groups within the Society's supporters themselves: 'Wayfaring' the magazine for the Companions of the Way, study material for the Missionary Service League and the Study Circles, and dozens of pamphlets of all kinds to help, encourage and draw in more members. There was even a circulating library at headquarters from which books could be borrowed.

To complement the literature there was also an increasing variety of meetings. The anniversary meetings in London declined a little in popularity as the major Associations developed. Even with railway travel it was unrealistic to expect every one to be able to come to London. So in 1904 the first of a series of residential Summer Schools was held at Keswick. This proved extremely popular and they continued until the 1960s. From 1923 to 1940 they were held for a week each August at Malvern College and the average attendance was 700, and sometimes above 1,000. There were other local conferences too for members and supporters with each year a weekend conference for laymen at Swanwick. The Northern Council had been set up in 1919 to "correlate and develop the work in the Northern Province" and the first congress was held at Sheffield that year to be followed by two each year, one in the north and one in the south of England.

There were also missionary exhibitions, designed to inform and rouse interest among the general public, but staffed and organised by local members and supporters under the leadership of the CMS Exhibitions organiser (originally the Missionary Leaves Association).

Undoubtedly the greatest of the exhibitions was "Africa and the East" held at the Agricultural Hall in London in 1909. It was visited by over 250,000 people and enrolled over 8,000 supporters as stewards. It even had its own Summer School. Over the next two years it was held in similar ways in Liverpool, Birmingham and other places throughout the country.

From 1813 onwards groups of the Society's members had formed themselves into local Associations and Secretaries from headquarters and missionaries on leave visited these groups to enable them to hear first-hand accounts of the Society's work. For individuals who were unable to join the Associations there was the Gleaners' Union which was founded in 1886.

The disparity in size between the Associations (some were a parish, others a diocese or county) led Herbert Lankester (Home Secretary 1903-1910) to produce a more organised system. There would be 'major' Associations, based on a diocese or archdeaconry, and these large groups would be given more responsibility for local fund raising and recruiting.

In this they were helped by the Organising Secretaries, apppointed by headquarters and on the headquarters staff, who would serve the local area. These forerunners of the present day Area Secretaries were men, but from 1940 there were women assistants in five of the areas.

After the First World War links between the major Associations and the General Committee were strengthened and from 1922 onwards any major Association was entitled to send representatives to the General Committee. The number of representatives was calculated on a financial base, one person for every £2,000 raised annually for the society. This enabled every supporter to have a voice in the policy of the Society. It was from this that the present development of General Council and Members' Councils sprang.

It was in the same year, 1922, that there came the culmination of an unhappy controversy, which had its roots in the growth of modern interpretation and criticisms of the Bible. Some CMS supporters were deeply concerned lest the Society allowed the growing co-operation between different schools of thought which had been sparked by the 1910 Edinburgh Conference to obscure doctrinal differences and betray the basic principles for which CMS had always stood. Members and supporters were divided in the years from 1910 onward and in 1922 a group left CMS and founded the Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society.


The hub of the work at home was the Society's headquarters in London. Here the committees that administered the Society met, and the Secretaries that served those committees with their staff corresponded with all parts of the world; welcomed missionaries on leave and interviewed prospective candidates; supported work of members of the Society in the British Isles with information on all aspects of the Society's work; and administered the Society's finances.

Until 1812 there were no specially designated offices. The first two Secretaries served all the committees and worked in their own homes in time spared from their ecclesiastical duties. In 1812 a room at a bookshop in Fleet Street was hired for committee meetings and the next year the Society began its long association with Salisbury Square. Number 14 was rented as office and meeting place for the committees, while until 1820 it also served as the Assistant Secretary's house and the missionary training college. As the Society grew, the house became too small and CMS first purchased and moved into the house next door (in 1862) and subsequently in 1885 rebuilt on the site of both houses. By the end of the century this large headquarters contained a complex administration with numerous staff working under eleven Secretaries.

Although the overall policy of the Society had always been democratically decided by the General Committee, the carrying-out of the policy and the day-to-day running has been in the hands of the Secretaries. The influence of the individual Secretaries has always been very great, and CMS has been fortunate to have been served by a succession of outstanding men.

The first Secretary, the Rev Thomas Scott, resigned in 1803, handing over to a younger man, the Rev Josiah Pratt, who was to lead the Society for twenty-one years. Pratt was responsible (at first entirely unaided) for guiding the growth of the Society's first missions in Africa, India and Ceylon; for the development at home of the Church Missionary Associations; for CMS co-operation with numerous other missionary societies both in the British Isles and in Europe and America.

From 1816 Pratt was helped by an Assistant, the Rev Edward Bickersteth. He was freshly returned from a visit to Sierra Leone made on behalf of CMS, and at first his primary concern was with the training of missionary candidates. When Pratt retired in 1824, however, Bickersteth took over, having as Assistant Secretary a layman, Dandeson Coates. Bickersteth developed the deputation work, which the first Secretaries and friends of the Society had shared, and for which his particular gifts and his experience overseas especially fitted him. Although both Secretaries were naturally concerned with the overseas work, Bickersteth was in many ways very much like the present-day Home Secretary while Coates was especially concerned with finance and administration.

Bickersteth resigned the Secretaryship in 1830 and Dandeson Coates was appointed in his place. He was a brilliant, but slightly legalistic personality and until his sudden death in April 1846 he directed the Society with tremendous vigour and firmness. He brought order to the organisation of the Society's finances both at home and abroad and had sole management of all business affairs. He especially concerned himself with the Society's dealings with government and took a particular interest in the West Africa mission. He was assisted by, in turn, Thomas Woodrooffe, William Jowett and Thomas Vores. These three clergymen were to keep in personal friendly touch with the missionaries overseas. Gentle William Jowett, who brought to his task wide overseas experience, notably in Syria and the Mediterranean, in eight years brought to his correspondents a rare sense of caring and Christian love.

Coates' fourth assistant was the Rev Henry Venn, son of John Venn, one of the founders of the Society. He was appointed as Clerical Secretary in 1841 and rapidly took over responsibility for the work overseas, though business affairs were still in Coates' hands. Early in 1846 Venn resigned from his parish, but that very week Coates was taken ill and so Venn found himself in charge.

Henry Venn was to prove the outstanding missionary statesman of the century. Amidst many controversies overseas and at home he guided CMS through a moderate course with wisdom, firmness and tactful diplomacy. Although he never visited the mission field his enormous correspondence with all the missionaries, together with a prophet's mind and politician's skill, made him unofficial adviser on church matters to both clergy and government. He guided the development of the young churches abroad, encouraging them to be self-governing, self-supporting and self-extending. At home he steered a middle course in the midst of Tractarianism and High Church policies and strife. He dealt with controversies in India and New Zealand, resolved a series of financial crises with faith and determination, and took a particular care over the recruiting and training of missionaries; and all this was achieved with remarkable vigour, and, for much of the time, almost single-handed. In the group of Secretaries (there were now usually four or five) he regarded himself as equal with his colleagues, but in practice he made his post a leading one. From his time onwards the post of Honorary (Venn was the first unsalaried Secretary) Clerical Secretary developed into the General Secretaryship that we know today.

Venn resigned as Secretary in 1872 when he was 75 years old and Rev Henry Wright was appointed Honorary Clerical Secretary.

Wright took over the responsibility which Coates had initiated and Venn had consolidated, for acting as the representative of the Society to governmental and ecclesiastical authorities. He also corresponded with China, but the care of all the other missions was divided amongst his colleagues. Of these the elder statesman was Christopher Fenn, with missionary experience in Ceylon prior to his arrival at headquarters in 1863. He was especially knowledgeable about the development of church organisation and Venn and his successors leaned heavily on his advice.

Wright's appointment coincided with an increase in available money and men, and he particularly concerned himself with recruits. Tragically, after only eight years, he was drowned in the summer of 1880.

Good came out of evil. The Society had lost momentum in the last decade of Venn's leadership, when he was old and ill, but kept too much responsibility in his own hands. Some reorganisation had been begun, but Wright's death emphasised the break with the past.

The new Honorary Clerical Secretary, Rev Frederick Wigram, no longer had the burden of the overseas missions. Responsibility for these was divided amongst the three Group Secretaries. A central Home Secretary and an Editorial Secretary cared for work and publicity amongst the CMS members and supporters in the British Isles. There was a new spirit of faith and the Society's fortunes flourished with many more recruits and a great increase in funds. The work and responsibilities likewise increased and by the time Wigram resigned in 1895 the number of missionary recruits had increased five fold while the Society's income had risen to £272,000. As H E Fox took over from Wigram as Honorary Secretary the Society confidently prepared to enter a new century.

There were two strands of development running through the Society's life in the twentieth century. The first was the gradual change in the relationship between the CMS missions and the churches that they had planted overseas; the second was the growth of co-operation among missionary societies and mission-related organisations leading to an increase in joint action. In effect CMS was gradually to become a member of a team, rather than an organiser.

Co-operative action by missionary societies was often the only way in which great tasks could be undertaken. The many union colleges would have been impossible for one society to sustain financially and, more importantly, sharing skills, as in the Union hospital at Chengtu in China meant that all benefitted. The World Missionary Conference at Edinburgh in 1910 had inspired a vision of the way forward and through its Continuation Committees had provided the groundwork of possible methods. In 1912 the Conference of Missionary Societies of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. It was based on principles described by J H Oldham in 1917 as the necessity for all co-operative work to be done through the committees of the various missionary societies who should recognise it as a normal part of their own work. CMS played a large part in the development of CBMS, not only by serving on its Standing Committee, but on its many other boards and committees where it dealt with such varied subjects as education, medical missions, literature, work among Muslims and missionary surveys.

In 1920 Edinburgh House at Eaton Gate was purchased for CBMS and in 1921 it became the headquarters of the newly founded International Missionary Council. The Council's members were associations of missionary boards or societies and national christian councils. It held a series of conferences, the most notable being at Tambaram in 1938 which revealed valuable insights on church order.

In 1921 also began the Missionary Council of the National Assembly of the Church of England. C C Bardsley who had been CMS General Secretary was the first secretary. Relationships between CMS and the Council were occasionally cautious. Bishop Donaldson, the Council's chairman wanted the Council to become the "foreign office" of the Church of England, and sought a common policy so that "individualistic efforts we have been making may be made vastly more efficient". CMS members and officers were convinced that, as an autonomous society they could provide a fully efficient but more flexible response to needs than would be possible for a country-based organisation.

The increasingly important role played by women in the twentieth century was reflected at headquarters. The first to work in C M House were three volunteers helping with the Gleaners' Union. Miss G A Gollock was appointed to the Editorial Department in 1890 and the following year Miss Brophy became secretary to the Ladies' Candidates Committee. But in 1917, a year before women gained the vote, the Society's laws were changed to enable 24 women to be elected to the General Committee (with the right to vote). The number of female headquarters staff increased but it was not until 1942, when Miss Ena Price was appointed as Woman Secretary that a woman became part of the group of Secretaries that were in effect the Society's equivalent of a board of directors. But perhaps the most notable woman on the staff throughout this period was Miss Edith Baring-Gould, whose father Baring Baring-Gould was Far East Secretary from 1895 to 1913. She travelled with her father on delegations overseas, was a CMS delegate to the 1910 Edinburgh Conference, one of the first women members of General Committee and in 1941 the first woman to take the chair at one of its meetings. In all she served the Society for 54 years.

The increased numbers and workload of the Secretaries at headquarters at the turn of the twentieth century was reflected in the increase in the numbers of staff and departments. By the time of the Third Jubilee there were to be 36 separate sections in the Home side of the work alone. Nothing altered the overall influence on the work both at home and overseas of the Secretaries as a group, however, and most especially the General Secretary as the ultimate representative of that group.

CMS has always encompassed several varieties of Evangelical views within its membership and H E Fox who took over from Wigram as Honorary Secretary in 1895 was particularly able at representing this broad view to the general public without compromise or prejudice. This desire to keep many views within one organisation without prejudicing matters of principle was to prove of increasing importance to the Society as a whole and of great concern to the succeeding General Secretaries as the years passed. Fox was succeeded in 1910 by Cyril B Bardsley, who endeared himself immediately to headquarters staff by touring C M House and meeting everyone, the first time this had ever been done. He was a warm supporter of co-operation in mission, and believed that the future of CMS lay in broadening relationships and ecumenical contacts. He left in 1923 to become the first secretary of the Missionary Council of the Church Assembly.

The next General Secretary was a layman, Dr Herbert Lankester. He had served at headquarters for thirty years, first as secretary to the Medical Mission Auxiliary and Medical Committee, then as Home Secretary from 1903 to 1910 and finally as Lay (Finance) Secretary. He retired in 1926 and was succeeded by Rev W Wilson Cash, who had been CMS mission secretary in Egypt before serving as Home Secretary from 1923. He had the courage and patience needed to hold both conservative and liberal evangelicals within CMS and to expound a policy that "would interpret the essential principles for which the CMS stands and...keep the Society in the main stream of the Church's life".

He continued the co-operation with other missionary agencies such as the Missionary Council that Bardsley had begun. He was consecrated bishop of Worcester in 1941 and in March 1942 the General Committee appointed Rev Max Warren.

Dr Warren's appointment came in the uncertainty of a war whose outcome was then unknown and which was to be followed by a time of unprecedented change politically and within the Church. Warren proved to be a missionary statesman and man of vision for the twentieth century as Venn had been for the nineteenth. He set about immediately to formulate and prepare the Society for its role in a post-war, post-Empire Britain and gathered together a strong team of gifted men and women at headquarters. Like his predecessor Cash, he had served as a missionary. He was to spend much of his twenty one years as General Secretary travelling all over the world, visiting all the CMS missions, attending international conferences in North America and elsewhere, interpreting the role CMS was called to play but more importantly interpreting the relationship of mission to the Church overseas and at home, between cultures and between Church and government "building on his wide contacts inside and outside the Churches and with an unsurpassed gift for friendship, he was God's man to lead the Society".

As the Society prepared for its Third Jubilee in 1948/9 it could look forward to the future with confidence and faith.


In 1838 a small paper called the Missionary Gleaner was started by Charles Hodgson, who was a CMS Association Secretary in Yorkshire. In 1841 CMS adopted it as a twopenny magazine, twelve pages octavo, with a woodcut on the first page. At that time there were only three other CMS publications, the Annual Report which provided a succinct account of the Society's proceedings at home and abroad, the Church Missionary Record, which aimed to be an "authentic and permanent record" of the Society's proceedings particularly of the work in its missions, and lastly the Quarterly Paper which aimed at the "poorer classes and contributors of small sums". The Gleaner filled a gap between the Record and the Quarterly Paper, providing "a selection of the most interesting facts from the Record and information from other sources, to illustrate the proceedings of the Society". Ten years later it was enlarged in size while the price was reduced to a penny.

In the 1860s there was a gradual drop in sales partly because of the general decline in missionary interest, but also because of the old-fashioned appearance of the periodical. In 1870 it ceased publication. Three years later, however, when Henry Wright was appointed Hon Secretary, he was eager that CMS should have a new magazine of a more popular and attractive kind than anything the Society had previously produced. He asked Eugene Stock to join the staff in June 1873 as Editorial Secretary and with the production of the new magazine as his first priority. It duly appeared on 1 January 1874 with the revived title Church Missionary Gleaner. Stock had sole responsibility for the Gleaner for the next seventeen years until in 1890 the editorship was passed to Miss Georgina Gollock, one of the first women to work at headquarters.

The 1874 Gleaner consisted of a sixteen page quarto sheet with the outer four pages serving as a wrapper. The first frontispiece was designed by Henry Wright himself, but after a few years was changed to the figure of a woman gleaning in the fields, while the outer pages of the original wrapper were incorporated into the magazine itself and were replaced by a plain wrapper. This provided space to incorporate information appropriate for the many localised editions which were later produced, such as the Madras Gleaner or the Berkshire Gleaner. The numerous illustrations which made the magazine particularly attractive were originally all woodcuts, many of them copied from original sketches and from photographs. But the Gleaner was one of the earliest English magazines to use the new American method of process blocks, the first occasion being the reproduction of a photograph in 1887.

The contents of the Gleaner remained basically unchanged over the years with the emphasis on missionary news. Sometimes books were serialised, such as the original autobiography of Dr Krapf, the linguist, missionary and explorer in 1881. Journals of tours by individuals, such as Bishop Bickersteth in India 1882, or by headquarters staff such as the 1921-1922 Delegation to India were often printed in full. In the earlier years there was a serial story and regularly there were short expositions on the Bible and devotional articles. There was also much about work within the British Isles mainly about CMS matters but also about important relevant events for the Church of England both at home and abroad.

The circulation of the Gleaner reached its peak in the 1890s when 82,000 were in monthly circulation, with half of the editions being localised. In 1922 it changed its name to the Church Missionary Outlook.

The volumes of the magazine contain a mass of information much of which is not recorded elsewhere in the Society's archives. Each volume contains its own individual index of contents divided into sections eg index of articles, editorial notes, mission news, headquarters notes etc. Within each individual index relating to mission news the material is arranged by country. The index to illustrations is likewise arranged by country, but with the home material listed under miscellaneous. Note that the archive card indexes include indexes of the illustrations by names, places and subjects.


The custom of missionaries writing Annual Letters to the Secretaries in London began in the 1850s and only ended in 1974. It gave individual missionaries their only opportunity to write directly to headquarters without the local CMS mission secretary seeing what they wrote. Communications on all matters of business had to be carried on through the local Corresponding Committee and the mission secretary. Now once a year the London committee wished to hear directly from their missionaries and in turn to write to them "to assure you of their sympathy, and as far as may be to assist in bearing your burdens and cheering and encouraging you on your way" [C I2/I 2p191 Chapman]. At the same time these letters were used in the compilation of the Society's annual report. In 1855 Chapman wrote asking missionaries "at the close of each year, to put us in possession of your experience of the Lord's dealing with you during the year" [C I 1/I 1p85]. A printed circular to the missionaries from John Mee in 1868 asked for "a well considered concise account of the principal facts and features of the years work...to lay the foundation of the Report". By then the Annual Letter had developed a format of its own with "a very short tabular statement appended at the foot of the last page" [these were the statistics included in the annual report for the year and published in the Proceedings].

From the late 1870s the Annual Letters were being printed. "The Annual Letters as soon as they come in are put in print (unless they are very long) not for publication but for circulation among the members of the Committee. Even the Secretaries, therefore, do not see them for several days. No matters of business should be entrusted to the Annual Letter". [C C 1/I 2p 265]. By 1900 they were being regularly bound. G. Furness Smith writes "Annual Letters [are]...printed and sent round to members of the Committee and portions will appear bound up in a volume called "Extracts from Annual Letters"...the best preparation for an annual letter is a daily journal relating events as they occur and putting down impressions and hopes or fears. This read over at the year's end would furnish materials for an accurate review, while further observation and experience would help to revise and correct the reflections and anticipations suggested at the time". [G1 CH 2/L 1p 84]. It is difficult to judge how heavily the printed letters were edited but by the appearance of the very few surviving originals very little was cut out and usually they were only topped and tailed.

A master set of the bound volumes of the printed letters was kept in the Editorial Department, which also kept the original documents. From 1871 to 1879 copies of the letters are entered in the appropriate mission books of the missions archive series. For the period 1886 to 1912 only the bound printed set survives. From 1916 the manuscript series begins again, though very few survive for the war years 1917-1919 and it is possible that the originals for the missing years 1913-15 were likewise very sparse in number. From the 1920s missionaries were sometimes encouraged to write on particular aspects or topics of mission interest in order to aid the compilation of the report. The actual writing of the Annual Letter was not optional, but a strict Secretarial request. Nevertheless the researcher should be aware that some missionaries simply refused to write them and that the absence of a letter does not necessarily mean that it has been lost.

The CMS Archive includes the archives of a number of other missionary societies which were eventually amalgamated into it. The following descriptions are of two such societies.

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