The Church Mission Society ,or CMS is one of the first Missionary Groups. It was started in 1799 by evangelical Christians including William Wilberforce, to reach a newly discovered world now accessible. Countries with a multitudes of different faiths, but where people had never seen a Bible or heard about a loving God and the wonder of salvation.
The first missionaries embarked on long and dangerous journeys all over the known world – South America, Africa, India and further still. Many died early of malaria, dengue fever and other tropical diseases. Those who survived preached the gospel starting meeting points, then Churches wherever they went. Over the years they’ve built hospitals, facilitated education opening primary schools in remote villages to major city high schools in over 35 countries They also started colleges and universities which continue to this day with a Christian ethos.
During its 220 year history CMS has had over 9.000 mission partners, started about 2,000 schools, run hundreds of hospitals, trained national preachers, starting churches which are the Anglican Church which continues around the world today.
So – What’s Happening now?
It’s a different world. The 4-month boat journey to Singapore via the Suez Canal now takes 12 hours on Singapore Airlines! Many Anglican Churches are well established, such as those in Nigeria with hundreds in the congregation and 4-hour services. Others though have smaller congregations amidst deep poverty or struggle as a persecuted group amidst a strong majority religion. Are overseas partners still needed?
Presently CMS has about 151 Mission Partners in over 30 countries. What do they do?
1. Many couples in Central America work alongside smaller struggling churches such as in Nicaragua with street children at risk turned out into the streets by drug addicted parents. They work alongside the local church to provide a safe space for the children with regular meals and a basic education, looking for a long term home where they can be raised.
2. Others are in African countries where the church is keen, but pastors often lack any formal Bible training, Mission Partners go as teachers in theological colleges, training emerging young pastors in the scriptures. Others run training courses around the villages so the pastors can learn without leaving their home and ministry.
Medical care is always needed too. In many countries, like Tanzania, people still travel a hundred miles to the nearest hospital.
3. Other partners are in more Challenging Countries such as Pakistan, with a strong majority religion. Here they support the church, providing practical assistant to those hit by recent floods. Whole families still live on the roadside with their homes under water. The Church is light and salt in a struggling community.
The aim of CMS is to work alongside the local church, seeking to plant Christ cantered communities around the world. They are supported by churches in UK, including us at St Mary's and Sale West, and by the national church itself as it becomes more self-sufficient.
Can we encourage you to take an interest and pray for the Church Missions Society and the people they represent. More details on the CMS website
Regular updates also on the Mission Display Board.