The twentieth century saw the spectacular growth of Christianity in much of the global south, the transformation of mission fields into self-governing Churches, schemes of church union (some successful, others abortive), evolving attitudes to other faiths and significant Christian engagement with issues of racial justice and world poverty. This book examines the contribution of the Methodist Missionary Society (and its predecessors before 1932) to these world-changing movements, from the remarkable mass conversions in south-west China and west Africa early in the century to the controversy over grants to liberation movements in the 1970s and 1980s. Pritchard traces the MMS contribution to education, health care, rural development and social welfare and describes the administration of the Societies and the selection and preparation of candidates for missionary service. This is a ground-breaking study of Methodist Overseas Mission in the twentieth century, how it adjusted to changing circumstances - including the forced withdrawals from China and Burma - and developed new initiatives and partnerships, including its World Church in Britain programme which brought missionaries from the younger Churches to serve in Britain and Ireland.
John Pritchard was the General Secretary, Methodist Church Overseas Division (MMS) from 1991 to 1996, having previously served as its Africa Secretary. He had been a missionary with the Methodist Church in Cote d’Ivoire - then a District of the British Methodist Conference - from 1966 to 1975, and was Secretary of the committee which drafted its constitution as an autonomous Church. In the 1970s he edited Urban Africa, a quarterly magazine published by the All Africa Conference of Churches. He chaired the interdenominational Friends of the Church in China for six years from 2000 and convened the Methodist Missionary History Project from its inception in 1994.
’I think this is an excellent volume ... The title alone makes this an essential text for anyone interested in the Methodist missionary movement. It is meant to be the definitive word on the subject, and I think it achieves this...’ MET Connexion '... this book offers a comprehensive overview of a world-changing movement - a story packed with heroism, mistakes, achievements, frustrations, and arguments. ... I would recommend this title for graduate level students who are specializing in church history.' Mission Studies 'This is an informative and at times moving book. It tells many stories and yet has one overarching story: a changing church for a changing world; the transition from mission to mission partners; the call to serve and be served, to be loved and to love.' Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society