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Church Missionary Society Periodicals

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Discover two hundred years of worldwide missionary history.

This online portal makes available periodicals from the Church Missionary Society Archive, a vital collection for students, researchers and teachers of missiology, world Christianity and global history.


How can this collection be used for teaching and research on World History? Phillip A. Cantrell II, Associate Professor of World, Asian and African History at Longwood University, Virginia, explains how in this sample essay from the resource, CMS Periodicals as a teaching and research resource for World History

"A world history teacher would be challenged to find more useful primary source material than this"
Professor Phillip A. Cantrell

Against the backdrop of colonialism and its decline, this fully text-searchable, global history resource allows a myriad of themes to be explored, from gender and families to medicine, education, the development of native churches, political conflict, social reform, linguistics and exploration. Founded in 1799 as an Anglican evangelical movement, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) has been active across the globe, proving one of the key agents of evangelism in the non-Western world. The publications featured in Church Missionary Society Periodicals span more than 200 years of this rich history, making published content like journals, letters and reports easier to research than ever before.

The periodicals were key in promoting the work of the society, fundraising and reporting from a great number of countries as well as communicating within mission communities. As such they offer the modern researcher an interesting perspective on world events through the eyes of an organisation which enjoyed (or sometimes endured) a unique relationship with the countries and people with which it worked. Detailed woodcut illustrations and thousands of photographs offer a further angle on the societies’ work as well as thought-provoking presentations of indigenous cultures.

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Sourced from the Crowther Mission Studies Library in Oxford, this section of Church Missionary Society Periodicals digitises key publications from the CMS, primarily put together in London and encompassing work in mission fields around the world from the 19th to the 21st century, as well as periodicals produced by the South American Missionary Society.

Trace the lives and postings of all men and women employed as missionaries from 1804-1928 in the unique annotated Registers of Missionaries, discover what it takes to establish new missions in areas previously closed to European travellers and track the changing relationship between the mission and the community over time. A variety of themes can be explored through the extensive collection of news, journals, correspondence and fiscal reports presented in the publications, enabling new research opportunities in the fields of missiology, world Christianity, and global history.

Module 2: Medical Journals, Asian missions and the historical record, 1816-1986

The second module is primarily sourced from the Society’s collections at the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, with some additional material from the Crowther Mission Studies Library, Oxford. Supplementing the documents in Module 1, the focus of this section is on the publications of CMS medical mission auxiliaries, the work of the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society among women in Asia and the Middle East, newsletters from native churches and student missions in China and Japan, and ‘home’ material including periodicals aimed specifically at women and children subscribers.

Learn about the Society’s role in vaccination programmes in Africa, campaigns against foot-binding in China and against child-marriage in India, and the effects of natural disasters, revolution, war and changing political regimes on Christian communities and Europeans far from home. Many region-specific periodicals were edited and printed in the field, and the selection in this module provides scope for research into the periodicals’ different target audiences and physical production, as well as the written contents.