Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society, Papers of the

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Comprises the records of the Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society (BCMS), later renamed Crosslinks. Papers include records of the Society from its establishment in 1922 throughout the 20th century, comprising minute books covering 1935-1999 along with small sequences of reports and correspondence; a large series of personnel records and papers relating to deceased missionaries, 1924-2000; and a significant volume of periodicals and other publications produced by the society, 1922-2000.

The papers also comprise a small number of records of the BCMS Northern Council and the BCMS Bristol Auxiliary as well as the papers of the BCM College, Bristol, renamed Tyndale Hall in 1952. The records of the college comprise minutes, reports and correspondence. There is also a small volume of unofficial papers collected, or produced, by individual missionaries and deposited with the society. Taken as a whole, the papers are a rich source of information for both the study of missionary work undertaken by BCMS and for illustrating the life and works of various missionaries

Administrative / Biographical History

The Bible Churchmen's Missionary Society (BCMS) was established on 27 October 1922 as the result of divisions within the Church Missionary Society (CMS) due to the latter's alleged developing theological liberalism. BCMS was formed of Scriptural Evangelicals and intended to continue working under what they viewed as the original theological and missionary principles of the CMS.

BCMS was quickly established under the leadership of Rev Daniel H. C. Bartlett who deemed that all BCMS missionaries should transfer to areas of the world where CMS had not previously operated. The first officers of the society included S. H. Gladstone as Honorary Treasurer and Bartlett as Honorary Secretary. A provisional committee was formed and offices were later taken at 14 Victoria Street, Westminster. Provincial councils were soon launched. The Northern Council was established on 2 November 1922 with Rev Percy Stott as President, Rev George Denyer as Secretary and Rev Harries Jones as Chairman. A Southern Council was also formed with Rev T. Lancaster as President. Canon Marmaduke Washington, Rev T. H. Bland and Rev I. Siviter, with strong local backing, soon launched Eastern, Western and Midland Councils.

A men's missionary and theological college was founded at Clifton, Bristol on 3 November 1925 as a training ground for ordinands both for the Home Ministry and Overseas. The college was renamed Tyndale Hall in 1952. A women's college, the gift of Mrs Dalton, was opened on October 15 1930. Located in Cotham Park, Bristol, it was known as Dalton House. In 1972 Dalton House merged with Tyndale Hall and Clifton Theological College to become Trinity College.

Archdeacon Mackay of Saskatchewan, Canada became the first BCMS missionary, working with the Inuit people of Canada. In 1923 work began in India followed by China and Burma. In 1929 the BCMS sent their first missionaries to Africa, arriving in Morocco. The same year saw requests for the society to begin work in Kenya and Uganda. Early society magazines also feature BCMS work in Canada, the Arctic, Persia and Ethiopia. In the years around the Second World War the society withdrew from Ethiopia (1937 war), Burma (1942 invasion) and China (1949-51 expulsion). By the late 1940s Daniel Bartlett relinquished leadership to A. T. Houghton and the following decades saw an increased focus on East Africa, particularly the Karamoja area of Uganda. By the 1980s BCMS missionaries could be found in Spain, Portugal, Peru, Bolivia as well as at various stations in East Africa including Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania plus Morocco in North Africa.

At present the society is governed by its General Council which consists of up to 24 members elected at the Annual Meeting of Members, a representative of Trinity College, Bristol, the honorary Treasurer and the General Secretary. For some part of each meeting, the General Council divides into three committees which take action or make reports for recommendation to the General Council: Education Committee, Finance Committee and Mission Committee. The work of the General Council is guided by the General Advisory Group and the Personnel Advisory Group. The General Advisory Group, which consists of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council, the Chairman of each of the Committees and the General Secretary also acts as the Standing Committee. The Personnel Advisory Group interviews missionary candidates and makes recommendations to the General Council.

In the early 1990s BCMS changed its name to 'Crosslinks', emphasising the Society's principle that Mission is from everywhere to everywhere.

Sources: records of BCMS; Crosslinks website available at http://www.crosslinks.org viewed 20 March 2012

Arrangement

These papers have been arranged into five sub-fonds. One sub-fonds for the records of BCMS; one sub-fonds each for the records of the BCMS Northern Council, the Bristol Auxiliary and BCM College; the final sub-fonds comprises unofficial papers. Each sub-fonds has been arranged into series largely corresponding with key functions and activities

Conditions Governing Access

Access to all registered researchers

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Crosslinks, March 2001

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

There are some photocopies, rather than originals, in the collection. This is indicated at the appropriate file level

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Mark Eccleston, July 2012, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email: special-collections@bham.ac.uk). Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections hold the records of a number of other missionary societies. These include, amongst others, records of the Church Missionary Society (finding number: CMS); the Church of England Zenana Mission Society (finding number: CEZ); the Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India and the Far East (finding number: FES); and BibleLands (finding number: MS203)