Church Missionary Society

Church Missionary Society
   The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was the prominent force behind the worldwide spread of Anglicanism in the 19th century.
   As knowledge of the world's peoples grew toward the end of the 18th century, John Venn, a Church of England minister at Chapham, challenged his colleagues to find ways to "more effectively . . . promote the knowledge of the gospel among the heathen." Several ministers responded in 1799 by founding the Society for Missions in Africa and the East, which evolved in 1812 into the Church Missionary Society.
   The society can be seen as a product of the Evangelical Awakening that produced Methodism. The movement influenced many who remained in the Church of England, stimulating interest in Christian evangelization of the world. The older Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was identified with high-church Anglicanism, while support for the CMS was decidedly low church and evangelical. in most fields, the two agencies worked side by side. The CMS became an important link between Protestant/Free Churches and the larger Anglican community as well as with secular officials in the British colonies.
   The CMS began its work in Canada,China, and the South Pacific, but decade by decade increased its presence globally, especially within the growing British Empire. They pioneered in developing indigenous leadership, commissioning Samuel Adjai Crowther for work in Niger. Crowther was later consecrated as the first Anglican bishop of African background.
   in countries pioneered by the CMS, conflict would often erupt later on, when the Church of England created the necessary episcopal structures. Society leaders felt undermined by bishops who tried to incorporate CMS missions into their dioceses. Later still, as autonomous jurisdictions became the almost universal form of Anglican church life around the world, CMS missions were incorporated into the new independent Anglican provinces.
   over time, new social service projects built in cooperation with the local provinces took the place of the old mission centers. Since the early 20th century, the CMS had worked closely with the Zenana Missionary Society, another Church of England sending agency, on education and medical care for women. Zenana and CMS merged in 1957. The CMS also took a leading role in ecumenical concerns. it championed cooperation between Protestant missionaries and helped build several new churches that united Anglicans in a single ecclesiastical community with Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and others, most notably the Church of South india, the Church of North india, and the Church of Sri Lanka.
   The CMS, now known as the Church Mission Society, continues an active global program from its headquarters in London.
   See also India.
   Further reading:
   ■ Kevin Ward and Brian Stanley, The Church Missionary Society and World Christianity,

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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