Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/G/CC
TitleCentenary Committee (also referred to as 'General Centenary Committee' or G. C. C. )
Extent16 volumes, 33 files, 57 items
DescriptionSigned minutes, reports and papers of the Centenary Committee and Centenary Sub-Committees A-D appointed to consider and put into action plans for the three years leading up to the CMS Centenary (the 'Three Years' Enterprise'). Largely dated 1896-1899 but including earlier papers compiled by the Sub-Committees in considering the subjects with which they were tasked, and brief records of action 1899-1901 arising from the Centenary Committee B final report to the General Committee.

A sample of original file covers, in which replies to sub-committee questions are grouped by mission and cross referenced to precis book entries, are boxed with the Section IV papers.

The records, particularly of Centenary Committee B which focused on reviewing the Society's work at Home and overseas, are a useful source for research into the history of CMS missions, different [branches] of work including industrial, educational and medical mission, literary work, women's work, work with different faiths; CMS procedures and approaches including much concerning recruitment, training and staffing issues, 'Native' Churches and decentralisation. The reports also explain the context for CMS developments in the early years of the 20th century that arose out of the Three Years' Enterprise, including appointment of an Auxiliary Committee for work amongst the young 1898, Special Sub-Committees on the Constitution of Native Churches 1899, Educational and Industrial work 1900 and the Foreign Literature Committee 1901; the introduction of new CMS publications, extension of work with children and other advances.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryA Special Centenary Committee was appointed by the General Committee 11 February 1896 to draw up recommendations further to the Committee's resolution that the time leading up to the CMS Centenary (12 April 1899) 'should be employed in strenuous special efforts on their part towards fulfilling more vigorously the Society's share in the Evangelization of the World'. What was to become known as the 'Three Years' Enterprise' (TYE) was to include 'a comprehensive review of the Society's position and methods, both at home and abroad' and efforts to direct the public interest, energy and prayer, expected to arise from the Centenary's approach, into evangelistic 'advance', specifically the strengthening and consolidating of existing CMS missions, extension of operations and encouraging of 'more active and fervent Evangelistic effort' from the 'Native' Churches.

The Centenary Committee's report outlining its proposals, dated 3 March 1896, was approved by the General Committee 10 March 1896. A public statement was issued as a printed manifesto entitled, 'Approaching Completion of the First Hundred Years of the Church Missionary Society' and four sub-committees were appointed 18 March 1896 to work with the Centenary Committee in putting the proposals into action:
A to carry out the Centenary Committee's proposals which would naturally fall within the remit of the Funds and Home Organisation Committee;
B to consider the methodology for the Review of the Society's work at home and overseas;
C was concerned with the preparation and distribution of papers and pamphlets for the Three Years' Enterprise, 2nd Jubilee and Centenary;
D to consider 'what steps might be taken to foster and extend Missionary zeal and interest among children'.
The Sub-Committees reported to the Centenary Committee apart from Sub-Committee B which, after May 1896, reported directly to the General Committee.

Source: Centenary Committee minutes, reports and committee papers, see CMS/G/CC 2.
Publication NoteEugene Stocks' Centenary Volume of the CMS provides an overview of the Three Years Enterprise and events relating to commemoration of the Society's Centenary.


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