Finding Aid

International Missionary Council Archives: 1910-1961

Published by IDC Publishers, 2000



Descriptive Summary

Creator: International Missionary Council
Title: International Missionary Council Archives - Part 1a (H-10,000: Early History and Committees)
Abstract: Files which document the formation and development of the International Missionary Council as well as the ecumenical and missionary history of countries throughout the world.
Location of originals: Yale University Library, Divinity Library Special Collections (microfiche from originals at World Council of Churches Library)
Quantity: 7,036 microfiches.
Order number: YDSL Record Group No. Fiche Ms85



Historical Note

The International Missionary Council (IMC) emerged from the world missionary conference held at Edinburgh in 1910 and was officially established in London in 1921. A New York office was established in 1924. The IMC linked some 14 interdenominational associations of sending societies - such as the Division of Foreign Missions of the National Council of Church of Christ, USA - with some 16 interdenominational field bodies, such as the National Christian Council of India. It linked 14 interdenominational associations of missionary societies with some 16 field bodies and devoted itself to the study and resolution of such issues as missionary freedom, general and theological education, opium addiction, labour, slavery, racial discrimination, the church in rural and industrial society, home and family life, and - from very early on - the emerging ecumenical movement. The IMC became associated with the World Council of Churches in 1939, and, in 1961, it became integrated with the WCC as its Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

The Council served its member bodies through study, consultation and programmes of mutual assistance. Questions were considered as they arose. Missionary freedom, general and theological education, opium addiction, labour, slavery, racial discrimination, the church in rural and industrial society, home and family life, and literature were the main emphases. IMC officers, staff, and committees consulted, stimulated, and advised an increasing number of local and regional church bodies. Several major international conferences were held, of which the complete records are available in the IMC archives for study and research. The meeting in Jerusalem, 1928, made the message its first consideration, especially in relation to modern secularism. At Madras, 1938, the study of the Christian message in a non-Christian world was emphasized. At the international gathering in Whitby, Ontario, 1947, the IMC set itself to discover the relevance of the gospel to the world recovering from war. At the IMC meeting at Willingen, Germany, 1952, delegates of younger churches stated their belief in church unity as an essential condition of effective witness and advance. Finally, at the meeting in Ghana, 1958, a theological education fund was established, providing for substantial aid for buildings, facilities, and libraries of institutions in which churches were united in training for the ministry.




Scope and Contents

The files in this collection provide information not only about the formation and development of the International Missionary Council but also about the ecumenical and missionary history of countries throughout the world.

Though wide-based in the participation of thousands of Christian workers of many nationalities, the Council was most deeply indebted to the formative leadership and services of J. H. Oldham, John R. Mott, William Paton, and A. L. Warnshuis. The WCC library contains many papers and letters relating to the work of these pioneers of the IMC.




Arrangement

This collection has been organised into the following series and subseries:




Preferred Citation

International Missionary Council Archives - Part 1a (H-10,000: Early History and Committees), Record Group No. Fiche Ms85, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library.