Minutes of Relationships Committee, Congregational Union of England & Wales (CUEW) & London Missionary Society

Scope and Content

Papers include signed minutes of the Relationships Committee (CUEW & LMS), Dec 1950-Feb 1958, and the Joint Committee (CUEW & LMS), Jan 1954-May 1964. Additional papers appear to be those of Rev Maxwell O. Janes, and include his correspondence, 1949-1958, and supporting papers, 1947-1964, including reports made by the Joint Committee; reports submitted to the Joint Committee by sub-committees or other bodies; memoranda, notes and reports reflecting the developing discussion around topics such as the historical development of LMS and its relationship to the Congregational Church, changing patterns in the relationship between the LMS and the home churches, the 'churchmanship of the younger churches', statements issued by the World Council of Churches on the calling of the Church to mission and unity, and examinations of the Church and Mission.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Relationships Committee was established in 1949 to examine the relations that existed between the Congregational Union of England and Wales (CUEW) and the London Missionary Society. This was in the context of the post-war, post-colonial years, and in light of the formation of the World Council of Churches and the beginnings of a new era in world mission whereby the churches were to share responsibility with the missionary societies for the 'total ecumenical task'. A small committee of six was appointed to advise the General Secretaries of the CUEW and the LMS as to whether a more formal enquiry should be undertaken, and if so what steps would be appropriate. Options considered included complete independence, complete amalgamation, or a form of association between the two bodies.

In 1954, a Joint Committee of the Society and the Union was established, with each body appointing annually five members in addition to the Officers of the Union and three Officers of the Society. The Joint Committee received from the Union and the Society a full picture of their respective plans and budgets and sought to arrive at an agreed and co-ordinated policy and programme. The Committee reported to the General Purposes Committee (CUEW) and the Consultative & Finance Committee (LMS), and through them to the Council and Assembly and the LMS Board. The remit of the Joint Committee was "to give early consideration to practical ways of co-operation between the two bodies, bearing in mind the recommendations of the Relationships Committee regarding the possibilities of co-operative work among women and young people, and of a common encouragement and nourishing of the prayer life of the churches, as well as of close consultation in such matters as the training of missionaries, the status of ordained missionaries, the relations between churches at home and those overseas, lay service overseas, etc.". The decision was taken to dissolve the Joint Committee in May 1964, as the gap between the Union and the Society was perceived to have narrowed so much that meeetings were considered to be unnecessary.

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