Joint Committee on Religious Liberty Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of the Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (JCRL), 1929-1961, majority of records range from 1945-1949, papers after 1949 regard the British Council of Churches (BCC) International Department and Inter-Church Aid (ICA). Material is sorted, numbered and catalogued with details on each file.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (JCRL) was an ad hoc body of church officials who campaigned for human rights and religious liberty for Christians all over the world. The aim of the committee was to bring together the work already being done in the missionary and religious freedom sector by separate groups in order to focus the work into one voice that could be used to spread religious liberty and tolerance around the world. The chairman and the secretary of the committee were very hands-on in their approach and this led to several actions being taken to halt discrimination against Christians in the Middle East in the 1940s with the involvement of William Paton and S. Morrison, the Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher and the Egyptian High Commissioner.

The Committee worked in collaboration with various organisations for the publication of works such as Cecil Northcott's book 'Religious Liberty' published by the Students Christian Movement (SCM), 'The Sword and the Spirit' and various leaflets including the 'Joint Committee on Co-operation with Roman Catholics' to help maintain a working relationship between Roman Catholic countries and Christian Missionaries. The Committee's work on human rights led to the inclusion of the chairman, Ernest Fisher, and secretary, Ronald Rees, at the United Nations (UN) general assembly to contribute to the Declaration of Human rights in 1948. The Committee corresponded with the United Kingdom Prime Ministers Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Anthony Eden regarding the resolution of fundamental human rights and religious liberty in 1945. In 1949 the JCRL amalgamated with the British Council of Churches (BCC) International Department.

Arrangement

The collection is sorted into files of similar subjects. In some cases it is divided into geographical region, papers of an individual and into groups that regard the relations between various external organisations and the Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (JCRL).

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Deposited on permanent loan by the Church of England Records Centre (CERC) on 27th April 2008 with the agreement of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).

Alternative Form Available

As far as it is known this is the only copy of the collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).

Custodial History

The material was originally deposited at the Church of England Records Centre (CERC) in 1990.

Related Material

British Council of Churches (BCC) International Department (1949-1961) held at the Church of England Records Centre (CERC) and Inter-Church Aid (ICA) (1942-1962) held by the SOAS Library.