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Section III: Central Records

Part 11 covers the periodical CMS Historical Record (1944-1986) which began life as General Review of Missions in 1919 and changed its name to Annual Reports in 1922. The periodical is filmed from the Church Mission Society Library in London.

The periodical consists of summaries of annual reports and letters of missionaries and contains quotations taken from the reports. They are a fascinating source of information for all areas of research into the missions of CMS and the work of the missionaries. As they cover such a long period, from 1919-1986, the developments of the countries and the progress of the mission areas can be studied in detail. Each volume has a contents page showing the missions covered. For each mission there is a note on the general situation and then details on education, medicine and church work.

The General Review of Missions for 1919 gives a review of the years work for:

Sierra Leone Mission - summaries of the years work at the Fourah Bay College, the Grammar School, the Annie Walsh Memorial School, the Mohammedan School; the British East Africa Mission - details of the Coast and Taita, the Highlands, the Native Reserve ("amongst comparatively sophisticated natives");
German East Africa Mission (Tanganyika Mission)
Uganda Mission
Egypt Mission
- the womens evangelistic work, the training of native workers, the Old Cairo Boys School, the Old Cairo Medical Mission
Palestine Mission - the aftermath of the war, the government and economic state of the country, the status of the Jew; the Central Provinces Mission (the Gond Mission) - the increase in the number of baptisms, the decrease in the total number of Christians, the increase in moral lapses
South India mission (Telugu Mission) number of baptisms, total number of Christians (an increase of 4725 from 1918), contributions from Indian Christians; Travancore and Cochin Mission - the rise in prices, the outbreak of diseases including influenza, bandits, the good opportunities for preaching
Chekien Mission state of the country improving of trade, the state of the government
Western China Mission less brigandage and robbery, more protection for farming and commerce due to the increased power of General Lu, the progress of Christianity; Central Japan high prices and difficulty of the missionaries to survive on a daily basis, with a general conclusion on the state of Japan
" The people of Japan, in a new way seem to have found themselves as a nation. With their riches, their place among the five great nations, they seem more self-confident and less apt to look up to other nations. The working classes are awakening to a consciousness of their power, for owing to the inequalities in the distribution of the new wealth there is great discontent and evil seems to be more unabashed than formerly. But, with all this, there are not wanting evidences that thoughtful Japanese are seeking something to check the tendency of the time towards materialism, unrest, and immorality."

There are no issues for 1920-1921 and in 1922 the periodical changed its name to Annual Reports. The format of this is exactly the same as General Review of Missions, containing a review of the years work in the missions gleaned from the annual reports of the missionaries. Each issue is divided into missions under the headings Africa, The Near East, India and Ceylon, China and Japan and Colonial Associations.

The issue for 1922-1923 contains a mixture of information:

The Yoruba Mission reports on the progress of the Girls Seminary stating " Life in Lagos it is said is very difficult for boys and girls, young men and young women who wish to walk uprightly. Temptations to and rewards to immorality surround them. Gaiety, in the shape of dances and cinemas is increasing more and more"; Niger Mission there is talk about the educational outlook: "The Africans must have education, but the opinion is often expressed, both by Europeans and natives, that a great number of young people are spoiled by it. I wrote a year ago of the large number of young men who are wandering about the country in search of work. During the last twelve months the situation has not improved, but grown more serious and my own opinion is that before long we shall have a big unemployed problem out here. There is plenty of work for everyone, but most of it is hard manual work. In Onitsha and other towns it was formerly the custom for all boys to go with their fathers to the farms, as soon as they were strong enough to do so and each generation grew up with a knowledge of agriculture, which- though of a rude kind- supplied every family with sufficient food. At the present time many boys refuse altogether to "go to farm", leaving the work in the hands of the old men and most of the heavy work is done by labourers hired from the interior villages and towns. As education spreads all over the country this supply of labour must grow less, so the demand for food increases, so, unless something is done to change the views of the young educated men, it will not be long before we shall see a people who have to live on food brought from other countries, while their own country is capable of producing everything that is necessary."

Punjab and Sindh Mission Canon E Guilford, writing on the eve of his retirement after forty-one years work at Tarn Taran, contrasts the position when he arrived with that of the present day: "When we first came here there were but two Christians in the whole district. Both these persons had but a name to live and they both returned to heathenism for worldly gain soon after we began work here. Since that time 3239 souls have been added to the Church by baptism. There are now, reckoning great and small, forty-four congregations scattered throughout the district, each with their own organisation and each self-supporting as regards all things required in carrying on the spiritual work in their midst- the pay of their spiritual teachers excepted. There are fourteen village schools which earn grants almost sufficient to make them self-supporting. There are four Churches and another one projected. There is a large leper asylum and two homes for the untainted children of lepers, counting about fifty children. These homes have been in existence since the year 1889, and they have been the means of saving from the fell disease of leprosy about 300 children, of whom only three have developed the disease."

The Kwangsi and Hunan Mission details on the unrest in 1922 in the province of Kwangsi. Archdeacon J Holden writes about Kweilin, where Sun Yat Sen, the Southern President, with his Cantonese army and his allies from Yunman, Kwiechow and Kiangsi was in possession when the year opened: "As the Cantonese army was gradually being withdrawn, the irregulars and brigands grew nearer and nearer and at last, when the city was clear, these entered and took possession. Their first act was to open every prison and turn loose nearly two thousand criminals of every type. Then began a long period of strain and uncertainty. There were over twenty independent bands of armed men, bound by the loosest ties of allegiance to a common commander; the leaders were for the most part ignorant and illiterate adventurers and the men private soldiers in the literal sense, for each one owned his own rifle and ammunition, which he never allowed to leave his body: of discipline there was not the slightest pretence, the men walked the streets fully armed and behaved as they pleased, practising a one-sided communism. Immediately at the city gates were bands that were not allowed to enter; at a greater distance were other predatory bodies looking with longing eyes at the rich prize, and breathing out threatenings and slaughter should they be refused a share. And so for many weeks it became a part of my duties to help the city fathers in their endeavours to keep the peace among such a mass of conflicting elements."

Fukien Mission- much on the fighting between the northern and southern troops and the capture of Foochow by the latter. "The situation caused some dislocation of missionary work, chiefly by rendering the people afraid of travelling and in some instances of receiving visitors and some of the CMS buildings in Foochow were struck by bullets, but no stations had to be abandoned and the various institutions were kept open." Of the condition of the villages and market towns after fighting broke out, the Rev S J Nightingale wrote in January 1923: " Highway robbery and village raids are an everyday occurrence. Men are seized too, almost every day by press-gangs to carry the impediments and artillery of the troops from one district to another. Some are kept for weeks from their homes, their work, or their business, by these lawless troops. They are merely fed with a couple of meals a day, are given no pay or bedding beyond a little straw on the cold ground. A good many die, a few have been shot while attempting to escape and it is a wonder they do not rise in mass to resist. We are besieged with requests to try to get individuals released and on one pretext or another I have managed to get half-a-dozen or so set free during the last week or two."

Kyushu Mission "The outstanding event of the year was the visit of the Prince of Wales to Kagoshima in May. Almost all the CMS missionaries in the island assembled for the occasion and were assigned special places at the landing stage and presented to the Prince, while the Rev T Soejima, the Japanese pastor and one of the Sunday-school children presented letters of welcome from the Church and Sunday school to His Royal Highness. The Princes gracious manner to the missionaries and his friendly talk with Bishop Lea made a great impression on the Japanese officials";

The Colonial Associations - a report of the CMS Society of Australia and Tasmania showing receipts of £30,000 for the years 1921-1922.

Annual Reports for 1933 give the researcher the opportunity to explore the state of the missions pre World War II: the general introduction on The World talks of the threat of Communism to the world and the celebration of the Centenary of Great Britains decision to abolish slavery and the rapid growth and plans for extension of the work of the Roman Catholic Missions plus there is a desire for co-operation between the various branches of the Protestant Christian Church and the movement towards unity.

Yoruba and Niger Missions reports on the Girls School outside Lagos, courses for teachers and course workers, the financial depression in Niger and the rapid changes in native life. Miss Summerhayes writes: "the girls and women need us to change and move with them. One very obvious need now is our understanding of the changed attitude to marriage. Our tribe is just entering on a revolution in its home life arising from the girls new outlook on life, a revolution many tribes must have struggled through before. We should learn from their experience. The girls are beginning to make a stand for their liberty to develop themselves along other lines before marrying and then only to marry when constrained by love. Thus surely is the force which will naturally overcome polygamy where regulations and conventions are failing all the time" There are reports on the state of the hospital at Iyi Enu where there is a new weekly Babies Welfare Clinic; the Kenya Mission shows signs of progress. The Rev H J E Butcher writes: "In most parts of Kenya growth is taking place at such a rate that it is practically impossible for our reduced European staff to cope with it; but a well-taught African ministry could deal with the situation and one feels that there is already a spiritual fire kindled which can never be extinguished." Political agitation amongst the Kikuyu continues and circumcision difficulties abound. There is also an increase in the practice of witchcraft.

Ruanda Mission - the Leper Colony continues to grow and there are four hundred lepers on the island; the Egypt Mission- a serious anti-missionary campaign and the prospect of Government legislation to restrict missionary activity;

India Mission a steady decrease in the number of European missionaries meaning that the training of an Indian ministry is very important. There is also a change coming over the life of women in India and this is bringing about a difficult situation in regard to girls education. Miss Watts of the Meerut Girls School writes: "Purdah is breaking down and girls are rapidly coming out from the enclosed life of the Zenanas. They want to live fully and they are eager for knowledge which they may use; but India is not ready for them. We educate our girls in our Mission schools and in Government schools; we train them; some as teacherssome as nurses.and all the time there are whole areas of the country where the inhabitants are absolutely illiterate- needing teachers- whole areas needing nurses and welfare workers amongst our women. Yet we dare not send out trained, unmarried teachers and nurses alone to these areas. Indian thought and the Indian public are not ready for them and these change slowly."

Punjab, North-West Frontier and Sind Mission financial depression, owing to the failure of the monsoon rains and much unemployment among the Christians;

The United Provinces Mission Miss Reynolds of Jeyi writes of the intention of the Government to increase grants for the help of the depressed classes and for Upper Primary Education in India;

China Missions friction between China and Japan and the clashes in Manchuria. In Western China there is an increase in banditry and in Fukien the Communists have strengthened their position. "It is evident that China is changing fast and that more and more control in the Church is passing from European to Chinese hands."

Japan Mission unrest among the people and they are more ready to listen to Communist teaching coming from Russia; thousands of young people and professors arrested and imprisoned and a strong fascist movement is growing.

There is a change of name in 1944 and the Annual Reports become the CMS Historical Record. The issues for 1945-1946 concentrate on the aftermath of World War II but other interesting topics are also covered:

The Palestine Mission an urgent need for missionary reinforcements, missionaries helping the British troops by visiting them in hospital;

The Nasik Mission the medical work going well but more staff needed;

United Provinces Mission a need for more co-education: " Friendship between young men and women is regarded as indecent by many and so tends to be driven into secrecy."

Bengal Mission a bad drought and after watching the Hindus and the Moslems trying to induce God to send water the Christians decide to try the same method: "In due course, after ordinary prayers for rain, the Christians decided that something should be done. So they organised "Rain Processions" entailing complete abstinence from field work, fasting and then the procession of all available men and children beating drums, dancing and singing and calling incessantly on God for rain. Bands of people also go to the church with buckets of water and pour it over the pulpit, reading desk and floor. The water then becomes very holy and efficacious for healing the sick"

South China Mission a very telling note is at the beginning of the information for this mission : "Nearly all the South China news this year was written in the Victoria-Stanley Internment Camp." Miss Baxter used to be the Assistant Supervisor at the St Stephens Emergency Hospital. She writes from the camp saying that there were three sides of internment life which were bad: "Insufficient food often stolen by our own people and the Japanese. Red Cross parcels only got through twice. Shortage of medical necessaries. Lack of mails. To many who did not know whether their dear ones were dead or alive, this was torture." She comments however that the Japanese did not interfere with them much and were nice to the children. Miss S L Hollis was among the helpers sent to the Central British School Hospital when the raids began and many casualties came constantly in. After many trying experiences and moves they were in Stanley Camp on January 23rd 1942. The Japanese had cremated the bodies of the St Stephens Hospital staff and patients who had died on Christmas Day. The Japanese decapitated three Chinese policemen who had brought tobacco and cigarettes for the internees.

Western China Mission lowering of morale and the rising cost of living are the predominant themes; the cost of living being about 500 times as much as in pre-war days.

The issues of the CMS Historical Record, 1959-1960 for the Africa Missions talk of Independence and the responsibilities of the Church. "There is an increased African consciousness in Africa. This sense of oneness may be induced by a consciousness of being black as distinct from white, but it is very real. Unity may come from external pressure as so often in history. The All-Africa Church Conference showed the way, being held before the All-Africa Peoples Congress. The follow-up does not seem to have caught the imagination of the people yet, however." However in Yoruba magic still persists children wearing amulets and doorways festooned with "medicine" to ward off evil spirits; child stealing is on the increase; there is a growing increase in football pools and many signs along the roads advertise them; there is an increased desire for education. Educational television is started and two hours a day are available for the Ibadan and Lagos areas. There are new midwifery training courses at the hospital;

The Northern Nigeria Mission review talks of a strong policy of Northernisation saying the newspapers are full of the NPC and NCNC alliance the north and the east.

The Niger Mission there is great expectancy as Independence gets closer but also a fear that Nigeria will develop into a totalitarian dictatorship like Ghana as there are many sources of conflict, tribal, regional, political, social and religious. There are new job opportunities for women with the Shell Oil Company providing jobs as comptometer operators; there is an increase in the number of TB cases.

Northern Sudan Mission nepotism and bribery rife in the army after the military coup detat of the previous year, the press "muzzled" and political discussions are unwise, the economic situation is improved due to the cuts in imports but European style groceries are scarcer

Southern Sudan Mission " In the new Africa the Rev J B Lowe senses a conscious attempt to escape from the old Africa. Education has widened horizons. Boys discover that they have missed something and are eager to capture it for themselves whilst faintly resenting those who already have it. In the mind of the schoolboy a questioning element is now developing, hitherto absent in village and Theological College life.";

The Jordan Mission " Underlying all, there is the constant sense of political unrest which may turn a comparatively peaceful landscape into a dangerous volcano. Many people fear they may not be able to cope with their financial commitments, medical emergencies or the education of children. The acute shortage of servants, especially Arab households, is difficult to reconcile with the traditions of hospitality.".

Persia Mission "The situation in the oilfields at Abadan causes grave concern to the Church. The oil communities are scattered over a very extensive area of country and much of the Chaplains time is spent in travelling. The West is steadily imposing itself upon the East and upon Persia. New, modern buildings are going up rapidly, yet quite near, one can see a typical Muslim home, rooms built around a courtyard and enclosed by a high wall. Modern American cars compete with donkeys, or an occasional camel. Old shops where craftsmen beat the brass or silverware are next door to the Pepsi Cola stall. Paris fashions walk side by side with a woman hidden behind her chaddor, or clothed in the village and tribal dress. There are beggars everywhere."

West Pakistan Mission "The authoritarian Government of West Pakistan is proving both efficient and permanent, it seems. Yet the essential problems of social and economic growth remain to be solved and may prove very difficult." There are reports on the health situation of the people terrible eye conditions, many suffering from anaemia.

Japan Mission "The present government is by no means popular and is much criticised by the Japanese press and the country in general. Tension between Japan and Korea is high. Financially people are better off; young people, whether married or single, spend a lot. Washing machines have now reached the country districts and refrigerators are seen in any small shop selling dairy produce in the towns. In fact Japan is striving to be recognised as the leading power in East Asia, in teaching and politics."

The issues of the CMS Historical Record for the 1970s and 1980s give more brief details on the missions than previous years. The 1975 issue contains information for all the missions on subjects including:

1. Church Work conferences, rallies, refugees in Rwanda, help for the Sudanese during the war, relief work in Bangladesh following the 1974 floods
2. Education news on schools, colleges, training, adult literacy classes, nutrition units, prison visiting
3. Health- hospitals, baby welfare sessions, immunisation clinics.

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