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Section VIII: Home Papers

Part 1: Papers of the CMS Education Secretaries, 1902-1949

The Home Department

The work of the Home Department began in 1871 with the appointment of a Central or Home Secretary. The department’s earliest responsibility was for the deputation work, through which interest in and support for the mission might be stimulated. For this it was largely dependent on the local Associations for which it supplied magazines and other publications as well as missionary collecting boxes. The Home Secretary was also in charge of the field staff (agents from headquarters who were stationed at convenient centres throughout the British Isles and who provided support services for the local CMS supporters).

The work of the department expanded quickly and it became responsible for all the publications of the Society, with an Editorial Secretary (formerly the editor) at the head of a large section. By 1915 when Eugene Stock was Editorial Secretary there were sections dealing with such matters as women’s work, missionary study, education, exhibitions, and the Gleaners’ Union. It was also responsible for organising meetings such as Summer Schools, congresses, the Day of Intercession and the anniversary meetings.

The division’s responsibilities were at their greatest in the 1940s and 1950s, when there were four departments in charge of 36 sections. The four comprised the Deputy Home Secretary (responsible for deputation work and the field staff), the Editorial Secretary (in charge of all the Society’s publications) the Publicity Director and the Education Secretary (who was also responsible for work amongst children and youth).

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. 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. 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.

Part 1 of Home Papers covers the papers of the CMS Education Secretaries, 1910 to 1959 including details on: visits to private schools, universities and reports on clergy training schools; copies of prize essays; circulars; conferences; minutes of the Home Missionary Education Council, the Adolescent Work Committee, the Literature Board and the Syllabus Group; missionary exhibitions and other organizations such as the Swanwick Conferences on evangelism and the Student Volunteer Missionary Union.

The papers are divided into:


  • Reports on visits to boys’ and girls’ schools, 1910-1948
  • Reports to the Executive Committee giving information on exhibitions,
    visits to universities and schools, Girl Guides, Young People’s Union, missionary study, Clergy Union,1920-1948
  • Essays on missionary subjects submitted to the Education Secretary for the George Welchman Essay Prize, 1933-1934,1936
  • Correspondence regarding arrangements for lecturers and publication of the James Long lectures,1949-1959
  • Miscellaneous memoranda and correspondence including letters regarding the training of Area Secretaries,1956-1959

Committee Work

  • Minutes of the Home Missionary Education Council, 1924-1925
  • Minutes of the sub-committees on educational material, 1925-1927; Home Missionary Education Schools, 1924-1926 and Training Schools, 1924
  • Minutes of the Home Education Staff meetings and of the Youth committee, 1926-1929, 1940-1951
  • Minutes of the Committee on Adolescent Work, 1923-1929
  • Minutes and papers of the Literature Board, 1952-1959
  • Papers of the Syllabus Group, 1954-1959

Conferences and Training Schools

  • Reports on Coleshill training school, 1922
  • Reports on UK clergy training schools, 1922-1925
  • List of attendees at the teachers’ conference, April 1954
  • Papers concerning Oxford University overseas week, 1958

Outside Organisations

  • Correspondence and papers related to the Swanwick conferences on evangelism, 1954-1959
  • Correspondence regarding Cambridge University CMS Fellowship, 1951,1959
  • Papers of the Student Volunteer Missionary Union, the Student Christian Movement, the Missionary Leaves Association
  • Minutes and papers of the editorial board of “East and West Review”


  • Circular books including Clergy Union Papers, “Quarterly Bulletin for Clergy”, Home Missionary Education papers, “Bulletin for Speakers and Orgnaisers”, printed pamphlets and papers regarding congresses, conferences, exhibitions and training schools, 1920-1940, 1943-1950

Digital Guide
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